Innovation plan

21 Century Classroom -Literature Review

The goal of public education is to help students succeed in the 21st century. The definition of success can vary from one person to another, but generally speaking, success is evidence of student growth. Teachers can witness the growth of a child in ways other than assessments. Spending one on one time with students allows teachers to learn their strengths, weaknesses, and builds positive relationships. There is a strong emphasis on “small groups” in public education because evidence shows that the more one on one time a child has, the higher the probability for growth. The practice is known as guided learning. Guided learning is when the teacher pulls a small group of 3-4 students aside and guides individualized learning. This provides a perfect opportunity to track student growth and focus on areas of weakness. According to Guided Reading, A Romance and a Reality, “Skilled teachers of guided reading have the pleasure of seeing shifts in their students’ reading ability every week—sometimes every day” (Fountas and Pinnell, 2012, p.274). Lots of planning and preparation must be given to students during guided time because the time spent together must be purposeful. But what if there is a way to gain more guided time in the classroom without adding more hours to a school day? What should guided learning look like in the 21st century? The focus of this paper is to show how the implementation of flipped learning can contribute to student success because it increases the amount of guided instruction.  Before understanding the connection to increased guided instruction, flipped learning must be defined.  

Flipped Classrooms are a new trend in education and therefore does not have a large amount of support from teachers despite its effectiveness.  This may be true because “lack of consensus on what exactly the flipped classroom is” (Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A, 2013). Flipped learning is having students watch required lecture videos outside the classroom and using valuable classroom time to actively work towards goals by using student centered learning activities. Definition of flipped learning is particularly narrow and this has made research data hard to come by. Lage et alc defines it as “Inverting the classroom means that events that have traditionally taken place inside the classroom now take place outside the classroom and vice versa” (Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A, 2013, p.5). How does this change affect the teacher?

“In ideal situations, the teacher’s role is becoming that of a mentor, visiting with groups and individual learners during class to help guide them, while allowing them to have more of a say in their own learning” (Johnson, Larry, 2014, p.9).  This report discusses how public education must rethink the role of a teacher, in the 21st century. According to the recent technology trends, hybrid models, or flipped learning models, when implemented effectively, helps students use their school time for collaboration or one on one time with the teacher. This flipped style of learning also allows students to use network resources to access readings, video lectures and other tech tools to personalize their learning experience. This in essence gives students the best of both environments. So far, flipped learning sounds like the benefit is being able to watch your teacher online as opposed to listening to the lecture in person. This hardly sounds like a benefit at all, and actually videos are not what makes flipped learning significant. 

The most common misconception of a flipped classroom model is that the main ingredient is the online video posted by the teacher. “Flipped learning is not about how to use videos in your lessons. It’s about how to best use your in-class time with students” (Sams, A., & Bergmann, J., 2013, p.1). This article suggest that the best use of face to face time for the teachers is after the students receive information and are needing to apply. Guiding students through their difficulties of understanding is how classroom time should be spent. “Freed from delivering whole-class instruction during that hour or so, the teacher can deliver targeted instruction to students one-on-one or in small groups, help those who struggle, and challenge those who have mastered the content.” (Sams, A., & Bergmann, J., 2013, p.1)

The Byron School District of Rochester, Minnesota adopted flipped learning as a means to recover from the extreme budget cuts following the 2009 recession. This required an enormous amount of collaboration from the teachers and ended up stimulating their professional relationships. “Early data suggest significant increases in student learning and achievement when flipping compared to baseline data on the same courses taught in the traditional classroom lecture mode, using the same assessments” (Fulton, 2012).   The majority of student and parent responses were also positive even before the data revealed overall student growth. Their transition was not easy in the beginning, however the teachers were able to turn a challenge into an innovation. 

The “progressive education” movement has been around for years, yet educators still struggle with thinking outside the box.  Teachers struggle with identifying as a 21st century educator. Yes, resources are available and new tools are provided for our classrooms but what is the role of a 21st century teacher? What framework should teachers use to identify 21st century skills? A large sample of leaders in education were surveyed and unanimously agreed on four specific skills. They identified 21st century learning as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. According to this report, young people should be able to obtain these skills in every subject area to be prepared for our global society. These skills help students become successful in any organization.  Flipped learning provides an avenue for skills to be practiced everyday.  

According to the ECAR Study of Students and Information Technology report, since students already have technology embedded into their everyday life, they tend to have an inclination to work with technology because they are so familiar. This finding is pretty significant because in order for a flipped classroom to be successful, students will need to participate online from home. Technology has a positive influence on whether or not a student participates in the class. The majority of the students surveyed, at the collegiate level, said they actually learn best in a blended environment.  

My key findings support the increase of one on one time with students through the implementation of flipped learning. The most significant discovery from this research is that flipped learning is not about the emphasis of online videos, but the planning and preparation of how to make guided learning meaning and purposeful.  Studies show that students have already experienced growth from a successful flipped learning environment and more teachers are wanting to be apart of this movement.


Preparing 21st Century Students for a Global Society: An Educator’s Guide to the “Four Cs”. (2012). Ohio Media Spectrum

Fountas, I.C. & Pinnell, G.S. (2012). Guided Reading: The Romance and the Reality. The Reading Teacher, 66(4), 268–284

Fulton, K. (2012, June/July). Upside Down and Inside Out: Flip Your Classroom to Improve Student Learning. Learning and Leading with Technology, 12-17.

Sams, A., & Bergmann, J. (2013). Flip Your Students’ Learning. Educational leadership, 70(6), 16-20.

Herreid, C., & Schiller, N. (2013). Case Studies and the Flipped Classroom. Journal of College Science Teaching, 42(5), 62-66. Retrieved from

Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A. (2013, June). The flipped classroom: A survey of the research. In ASEE National Conference Proceedings, Atlanta, GA (Vol. 30, No. 9).

Johnson, Larry. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition.

Roach, T. (2014). Student perceptions toward flipped learning: New methods to increase interaction and active learning in economics. International Review of Economics Education, 17, 74-84.

Horn, M. B., Staker, H., & Christensen, C. M. (2015). Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools.

Johnson, L. (2015). NMC horizon report: 2015 K-12 edition. Austin: The New Media Consortium.
Eden Dahlstrom, with D. Christopher Brooks, Susan Grajek, and Jamie Reeves. ECAR Study of Students and Information Technology, 2015. Research report. Louisville, CO: ECAR, December 2015.


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