Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Empowering Students in the Process of Social Inquiry Learning through Flipping the Classroom

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Empowering Students in the Process of Social Inquiry Learning through Flipping the Classroom

Article excerpt


The Marzano Learning Sciences Research Lab (Marzano & Toth, 2014) has recently published a research report (namely "Teaching for Rigor: A Call for a Critical Instructional Shift"), revealing that nearly 60% of the classroom time in schools in the United States is still dedicated to direct instruction. The concluding part of the report reminds us again of the importance of learner-centredness in the twenty-first century education.

With the advancement in computing and information technologies, people nowadays tend to automate the things that can be computerised and automatized, and spend more time and effort on those that cannot (Xu, Feng, Zou & Huang, 2012). Regarding conveying information and factual knowledge, there has been evidence that video lectures can be as effective as in-person live lectures (e.g., Cohen, Ebeling & Kulik, 1991; Howland, Jonassen & Marra, 2012; Mayer, 2009; Zhang, Zhou, Briggs & Nunamaker, 2006). Therefore, it has become questionable about the traditional use of face-to-face time inside classrooms for merely "transmitting" and "receiving" subject contents (Bishop & Verleger, 2013). Employing today's handy video-recording tools and low-cost Internet access, teachers can create online video lectures by themselves and then assign the videos to students as out-of- class "homework." Hence, the in-class time can be used for conducting higher-order learning and teaching activities that cannot be "automated." This is the central idea of the flipped classroom--a pedagogic strategy that has recently attracted a lot of educational researchers' attention.

According to the recent K-12 edition of the New Media Consortium Horizon Report 2015 (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada & Freeman, 2015), the flipped classroom is foreseen as one of the most prominent educational strategies in this triennium to transform students from "spoon-fed," passive learners into self-directed, active learners. In Hong Kong, "exploring the feasibility of introducing the flipped classroom into learning and teaching" is one of the key objectives of the government's current three-year master plan on information technology in school education (September 2015-August 2018) (Education Bureau, 2015).

Liberal Studies is a "young" compulsory subject of social and humanities education in the new senior secondary education system under the recent education reform in Hong Kong (Curriculum Development Council, 2014; Education Bureau, 2014). A core objective of Liberal Studies is to develop students' knowledge of perennial and contemporary issues upon various social and humanities contexts. Guided social inquiry learning (GSIL), which is a scaffolded constructivist learning approach, is conventionally adopted in learning and teaching of the formal curriculum of this subject. The present research aimed to integrate the pedagogic idea of the flipped classroom into the process of GSIL to promote students' learning achievement and self-efficacy in studying Liberal Studies. A quasi-experimental study was conducted to evaluate the pedagogic effectiveness of this "flipped" social inquiry learning (hereinafter referred as FSIL) approach in comparison with the conventional GSIL approach. It involved a total of 215 Grade-11 students from three schools respectively at the top, middle, and bottom academic banding in Hong Kong.

We organise the rest of this paper as follows. The next section is a literature review of the related work. Then, the pedagogic design of FSIL will be elaborated. After that, we will delineate the method, findings, implications, and limitations of the experimental study. At the end of the paper, we will give the concluding observations on this research.

Related work

Guided social inquiry learning (GSIL)

The twenty-first century education encourages students to acquire knowledge constructively on their own rather than receiving it didactically from teachers (Gee, 2013; Prensky, 2012). …

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