Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

An Action Research Study from Implementing the Flipped Classroom Model in Primary School History Teaching and Learning

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

An Action Research Study from Implementing the Flipped Classroom Model in Primary School History Teaching and Learning

Article excerpt


Traditional teaching of social studies at school level is challenged by both the use of technology and the adoption of inquiry-based teaching strategies in other subjects, such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) (Bishop & Verleger, 2013; Hwang et al., 2015; Keengwe & Onchwari, 2015). Typically, in traditional history/social studies school curricula, emphasis is given in memorizing large amounts of historical content namely, names, dates and facts, making these courses less attractive to students (Fielding, 2005). Furthermore, still, many history/social studies school teachers adopt traditional teaching strategies, using most of the classroom time for lecturing and assessing students' ability to memorize content. As a result, students do not actively engage in learning and assessment activities that promote their historical/critical thinking development (Gaughan, 2014). It is also argued that students have common misconceptions about historical knowledge, primary sources, human motivation and historical change which are not easily overcome with traditional teaching strategies (Epstein, 2012). As a result, there are systematic efforts to enhance teaching, learning and assessment of history and social studies at K-12, by exploiting innovative pedagogical designs supported by digital technologies (Lyons, 2008).

On the other hand, the FC model has gained prominence over the past years, as a technology-supported pedagogical innovation which uses classroom time for students to actively engage in interactive learning activities, including personalized feedback and scaffolding from the teacher, while teachers' traditional lecturing is delivered out of the classroom time with asynchronous video lectures (Chen et al., 2014). Despite the wide take-up of the FC model in Higher Education and STEM subjects (Bishop & Verleger, 2013; Keengwe & Onchwari, 2015; Sergis et al., 2017), there are limited efforts in studying its application in primary school and in history/social studies courses, in particular.

In this paper, it is argued that adopting the FC model in a primary school history course has the potential to use classroom time in a more efficient way, leading to enhanced students' learning experiences and outcomes. Therefore, the paper reports on the design and results of an action research implemented to investigate this hypothesis and provide evidence on the added value of the FC model.

The remainder of the paper is structured as follows: the Background section presents an overview of the FC model and its implementation in teaching history/social studies school courses. The Action Research Method section presents the methodology and research questions of the action research. The Educational Design section describes the design of the educational intervention used in the action research. The Results section presents the findings obtained in relation to the two research questions and, finally, the Discussion and Future Work section discusses the lessons learnt and outlines potential future research.


The FC model is an emerging blended learning model widely used both in school and university formal educational settings. Based on sound pedagogical theoretical principles, FC targets to exploit classroom time and space for appropriately designed interactive learning activities differentiated according to individual and group students' needs (DeLozier & Rhodes, 2016). This section presents an overview of the use of digital technologies in school history teaching and learning, and the implementation of the FC model in K-12 history/social studies.

Technology supported history teaching and learning in K-12

As in all disciplines, the integration of educational technologies in social studies is constantly increasing (Lee & Friedman, 2009). Over the past decade, many history teachers are reported to be hesitant to adopt digital technologies into their classrooms and still rely on the textbook and their own lectures for teaching history (Scheuerell, 2015). …

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