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Literature Justification for Blended/Reverse Instruction

Essay Topic:

The concept of a reversed classroom is a logical next step from discovering the benefits of more time on task, direct instruction, reduced lecture time, and modifying homework tasks. If teachers are to find time to increase time on task and direct instruction; and greater comprehension is shown from shorter lectures over longer ones; and if homework is more beneficial when it is reduced into manageable portions; then the best division of labor is to assign the short lecture as homework to give teachers that time in class actively engaged in the application of the lesson(s. Rigorous literature on the reversed classroom is still in its infancy, but literature on its various beneficial parts is offered here along with it.

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Key terms: Blended instruction – teaching pedagogy that uses both virtual and face-to- face instruction. Reverse instruction – a classroom method that appoints the time for lecture material to an at home assignment, while completing practice material during classroom time. Time on task – the amount of time actively engaged in assigned learning.

Homework – coursework that is assigned to be completed outside classroom attendance, usually at home. Direct instruction – a teacher centered model of instruction that includes high levels of teacher support/scaffolding, ongoing evaluative monitoring with feedback, and strong student-teacher engagement of the material. (Stein 1998) Podcast/vodcast – audio or video/audio files that can be downloaded from the internet for personal use. Literature Justification for Blended/Reverse Instruction Introduction Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams began a movement.

They didn’t intend to; they simply responded to the needs of their own classrooms and collaborated on an idea that was initially intended for their absent students. Then it grew into a method that freed them up to be more actively involved with students during their class periods. It involved video recording their lectures for at home use, and practicing the material and assignments with direct instruction and guidance during class time, thus “flipping”, or reversing, their use of instruction time (Bergmann 2009. The results were so positive that many others are replicating the method across the nation and tech companies are filling the need with products, (see appendix), that go far beyond PowerPoint® for formatting the lectures they deliver to their students. This concept has been called by a few names: reverse classroom, reverse instruction, flipped classroom, and/or blended instruction, however, the opportunity created by the “flip” to increase teacher-student interaction during class time is what characterizes its success (Bergmann 2009).

As the use of this concept increases parents, teachers, and administrators are asking for research testing its efficacy. Those who are trying flipped classrooms state that increased learning does not occur just by reversing homework and lecture time alone, but by seizing the opportunity to guide and interact with students more. The technology of vodcasting by itself is not a silver bullet for our educational woes; educators must teach with sound methodology and quality regardless of what medium, or time, they choose to lecture in (Roblyer 2009. ) With that in mind I propose the following research questions about a reverse classroom study: 1. Will more direct instruction increase measurable comprehension of subject matter as reflected in test scores?

Studies so far have had promising results, (Stein, Carnine, & Dixon 1998), and include mastery of material through formative evaluation before moving on in coursework, (Overmyer 2010), extra use of worked examples, (Carroll 1992), and more use of discussion, (Matthews 2008. ) 2. Will students have greater compliance in homework because is consists of lectures instead of practice? Benefits from homework are directly proportional to how much compliance demonstrated in completing it, (Keith 1982. Homework compliance at Clintondale High in Macomb County, MI increased because a short lecture is easier; applied practice has been less frustrating with support later in class, (Buffenbarger 2011). This model of education changes the character of homework from usually studying alone trying to remember and apply lecture material, to doing the work alongside other students with guidance. At home the student can be prepared to learn through the lecture without the pressure of application until understanding of the material is confirmed and supported.

This echoes Ecclesiastes 4:9 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; if one falls down his friend can pick him up. But pity the man who has no one to help him up! ” (New International Version) 3. Will more time on task, due to less lecture time, reduce behavior management issues in reversed classrooms? Clintondale High, again, has shown dramatic reduction in referrals to the office for discipline, (Higgins 2011), in the first year of reversed classrooms and school-wide emphasis on this use of time; “Students are less frustrated and disruptive in class because there is someone on hand to help one-on-one. (Buffenbarger 2011) Discussion of key terms Blended instruction is really a broad category under which the focus of my proposed study falls. It is not just any use of technology by the school for record keeping or parent communication, although those things support education. This “blend” is referring to how content is being delivered to the student for instruction. When a teacher has students read and respond to material online, they have blended their face to face instruction with computer instruction.

When they have delivered an asynchronous lecture or lesson outside of class time, or assigned pre-recorded information by someone else for them to find and view or listen to it is also blended instruction. In extensive meta-analysis it has been found that a combination of both virtual and face to face instruction is likely to be more effective than either one alone, (US Dept. 2008. ) Reverse instruction is a category of blended instruction named according to when virtual content delivery occurs as opposed to when application and practice of the material happens.

Rather than using classroom time for content delivery, the instructor uses that time for guiding application and practice, while assigning the lecture/lesson as homework, (Bergmann, 2009). Time on task, not to be confused with mere seatwork, (Siefert 1984), is a term used in this study to refer to active engagement with the content. This can be during collaborative work with fellow students, involvement in discussion, (Matthews 2008), with the instructor as a class, or individually.

It can include time used for assessment, lab work, practice, or use of interactive software or textbooks, (Higgins 1992); but it is always referring to the students’ efficacious work with the class content. Homework is any assigned coursework meant to be completed outside of the classroom, usually at home. It is often a topic of study in education because of its impact on grades and tests. (Keith 1982) In recognition of the value of family life, time for friends and the pursuit of personal interests, studies are often focused on how much is needful vs. reating a balance of these things. To keep it minimal and balanced with personal life, other studies attempt to measure which types of homework are the most effective for the amount of time invested in them. (Murphy 1989) Direct instruction is a teacher centered model of instruction “that integrates effective teaching practices with sophisticated curriculum design, classroom organization and management. ” (Stein 1998) This includes high levels of teacher support/scaffolding, ongoing evaluative monitoring with feedback, and strong student-teacher engagement of the material.

It is the intention of this study to increase this type of instruction as replacement of the reversed lecture time, and in support of more time on task, (above. ) Podcast and vodcast are audio, and video with audio, files that can be downloaded from the internet. They are the most common form of lesson, or lecture time, assigned as homework in the reverse classroom model. (Schaffhauser 2009) These are available in many subjects through YouTube®, supportive websites like Khan Academy, (see appendix), or can be custom made by each instructor for his or her class. Overmyer 2010) They are made readily available for students via CD, DVD, flash drives, or internet. (Bergmann 2008) Other forms of reverse classroom homework are interactive sites or software made available through the students’ school. Reduced lecture time and increased time on task The educational standard of a lecture-based classroom has received much criticism as our use of technology increases.

Prior to the late 1800’s the lecture consisted of reading verbatim text with students taking notes to reproduce the same. As it evolved into personal interpretation of text and uthorship of original ideas, student requirements of recitation in classical education shifted to explaining a synthesis of ideas presented in lectures and textbooks (Freisen 2011). Modern students now grapple with an explosion of sources of information, and so the lecture from their teacher fades into the perspective of one person when there are so many ways to gain the required information of each class. In the information age, lecturing has been proven more effective in brevity (McFeeley & Milner 2009) Matthews & Farmer 2008). So, what then should the lecture become?

Norm Friesen described it eloquently as a much needed bridge to merge information and “oral communication with writing and newer media technologies. ” (2011. ) McFeeley & Milner call for it to become kernels of information, “5 minutes or less,” with time in between to allow students to understand and apply the necessary tools of their subjects (2009. ) The times of understanding and application are what I have already described as time on task, which has been attributed with higher levels of learning and test scores, (Matthews & Farmer 2008) (Stein et. al. 1998. )

Homework studies. The short lecture is an ideal assignment for homework. Easily accessed and portable, its length makes it an attainable goal to accomplish as homework. Practice and written assignments, however, vary in time commitment according to each student’s understanding of the material and their ability to complete it. Short lectures are certainly able to increase learning while still respecting the personal time of students and their families, both stated goals in assigning homework. Whether it is given in class or at home, decreasing time for lecture frees up more time for direct instruction from the teacher.

Blended learning and the reverse classroom Whether or not to use technology no is longer the question. Technology is such a pervasive part of modern life that it has integrated itself into education. So, in that sense, all classrooms are more or less utilizing blended learning; it is only named “blended” when it has become intentional as a method for delivering or manipulating the constructs of the lessons. For instructors to fail to include and capitalize on this vast store of information and resources could result in failure to reach this generation of learners.

The purpose of the type of reverse classroom that I am proposing is to gain more time for teachers to assist and coordinate learning from a variety of sources; to be more actively involved in each student’s comprehension and feedback. Just replacing ourselves as lecturers by podcast(s) gravely misses the point. Conclusion/Summary The reversed classroom is already happening in schools at increasing rates in both K – 12 and higher education classes. It is proving itself as a viable option for increasing direct instruction time and learning.

Only when the at home lectures are too long, or when they are an attempted replacement for teaching without the beneficial increased engagement during class, is student dissatisfaction expressed, or test scores and learning level off or drop. Research would be well invested if it began to decipher which technologies are the most effective for students, and user friendly for instructors in material delivery. While surveys show that many teachers hesitate to utilize technology in their classes, starting out with it outside the classroom is a gentle step towards its use without fearing fumbling around with it in front of a student audience.

In fact, teachers of distance education classes have stated that tech-based teaching has improved their overall ability and methods as instructors: “Findings from a study of teacher perceptions indicate that three quarters of teachers who teach in both virtual and traditional environments felt that virtual experiences improved their practice in face-to-face classrooms. ” (Roblyer, et. al. 2009) New studies could help refine which kinds of teacher training will be the most valuable, determine best infrastructure and IT support for schools, and improve parent-teacher communication about tech-based homework.

Education has always grown and shifted as culture and technology change. While lectures used to be about preserving the knowledge gains of mankind as “the task of educational institutions to preserve this vulnerable heritage from one generation to the next,” (Friesen 2011), it grew into a synthesis of information and instruction, and in twenty first century learning it is changing towards teaching skills for students to navigate and utilize the enormous body of information available in our age. The effective use of a reverse classroom model is a natural fit.