Blended, Hybrid, or Flipped Learning: What’s Ideal for Your Classroom? Part 1

Welcome to a two-part blog post which was written by Jason Suter & Flipped Master Teacher Dr. Chris Mangan. These two posts will explore the concepts of blended, hybrid, and flipped learning, the thought behind them, appropriate goals for implementing one of these formats, and the tools available to help with the transition to these environments. Note: This article was first posted on Eduspire

conversationRecently, flipped, hybrid, and blended learning have been hot topics of conversation in the 
educational community. Many educators use these terms interchangeably or find their definitions 
to be ambiguous. In this article, it is our intention to discuss some of the strategies common to 
these types of instruction. Both authors are of the opinion that all three names are really referring 
to the same pedagogical practice. Undoubtedly there will be some who disagree with this 
assessment, especially those with a vested interest in a program marketed with one of these 
titles, but we hope that this article will clear up some common misconceptions and confusion 
surrounding these instructional practices.  
Where Do We Start? 
As with any instructional strategy, technology integration tool, app, or device, educators need to 
start with a goal in mind. In fact, we strongly believe the goal should never be to flip your 
classroom or implement a blended or hybrid learning environment. Rather these things, 
regardless of whatever definition you finally apply to them, are really just tools which provide the 
means to achieve the real goal, which we’ll discuss in just a moment. 
Technology integration has many benefits in the classroom. Not because it is a shiny new 
vehicle through which current tools help capture the minds of our students and engage them on 
a daily basis, although that certainly can be a beneficial result. What interests us most is what 
technology integration allows us to do in the classroom that we simply were not able to do 
before. Technology’s ability to enhance learning in a way that improves collaboration, creativity, 
and communication makes it invaluable. Industry and commerce have tapped into the potential 
that technology offers them to improve the customer experience. We would argue that education can capitalize on technology integration in much the same way to improve the student 
experience in the classroom.  
The Real Goal 
So what is the real goal? For this we rely strongly on the vision described by Charles Schwahn 
and Beatrice McGarvey in their book Inevitable: Mass Customized Learning. Simply stated, an 
educator’s real goal is to meet the individual needs of every learner, every hour of every day. 
Proper technology integration gives educators the ability to finally differentiate for every student, 
providing opportunities for self-paced (think teacher-paced or faster) and mastery based 
learning, and opening access to course materials and learning activities that extend outside of 
the classroom walls and regular school hours. These shifts essentially move us from a school 
day where time and location are the constant and learning is the variable, to one where learning 
is the constant and time and location are the variable.  ProperTechIntegration
Now, before the “one more thing” mentality kicks in that typically accompanies the latest 
educational initiative, try to understand that what we are really talking about is capitalizing on the 
best practices that most educators already use in their classroom. To achieve the goal of 
consistently meeting the individual needs of every learner, we are not suggesting that teachers 
spend more time preparing lessons, but rather that they utilize their time differently. Instead of 
spending time preparing lessons based solely on the curriculum that needs to be covered, 
mass-customized learning enables teachers to prepare informed lessons by looking at data 
daily. This activity helps teachers tailor their instruction to meet the needs of every student each 
day. Using data to inform instruction results in teachers meeting with students because the data 
indicates that an intervention is needed.  
We realize many educators question the validity, timeliness, and accessibility of standardized 
testing data and its usefulness when making daily decisions. When we refer to data we are 
focused on the information educators receive about their students from the formative and 
summative activities that take place in the classroom. This would also include the information 
learned about students from daily interaction and working with students in a one-on-one or small 
group setting. In order for data to be relevant to daily lesson planning and just-in-time instruction 
it has to be current and accessible to the educator.  

About  Jason Suter & Flipped Master Teacher Dr. Chris Mangan

Jason Suter and Dr. Chris Mangan are co-authors of this post. Both educators share a passion for educational technology and modern methods of teaching. Jason Suter is a science teacher at Hanover High School in Hanover Public School District. He belongs to the Classrooms for the Future program and has played an integral role in working with his district to establish a BYOD policy and move toward a 1:1 Chromebooks environment. Jason’s philosophy is that educational technology should be used to accomplish things that were not formerly possible in the classroom, in order to promote differentiation, personalize student learning, and provide students with continual access to courses and materials. Jason teaches several courses for Eduspire, including Chromebooks: Making the Move to 21st Century Teaching, Introduction to the Flipped Classroom, Google Tools for Educators, Bridging the Digital Divide, and Learning Management Systems. Dr. Chris Mangan is an Eduspire instructor as well as a fifth grade teacher at Cetronia Elementary School in Parkland School District. He is also an adjunct professor for Wilkes University, Franklin University, and Aspen University. Chris loves integrating high-level technology into his classroom and enjoys seeing the impact it has on his students. Chris also has a passion for blended learning and is teaching for a 4th year a blended, self-paced math class which he developed. Chris has also implemented a traditional flipped writing class, and is in his first year of implementing a blended, self-paced English class. He has created over 300 instructional screencasts. Follow the authors on Twitter! Jason Suter: @jksuter Dr. Chris Mangan: @manganc24

1 Response

  1. Pingback : Blended, Hybrid, or Flipped Learning: Part II – Flipped Learning Global Initiative

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