I’ve been seeing more than a few articles about the new teaching phenom: flipped classrooms. Simply put, “flipping” reverses the traditional teach-in-school, practice-at-home teaching model. Students instead watch instructional screencasts or videos of the lecture before class as “homework”, and receive guided and targeted discussion and practice with the instructor in the classroom.

There is some evidence that flipping is effective in engaging students, in improving grades, and even drop-out rates. My own anecdotal evidence from my first semester as an instructor is that when my lecture notes went up in advance of the class, discussions in class were more productive, and students remembered the lesson well in subsequent class sessions.

Applying this to the library setting, there are all kinds of possibilities. If I required – okay – encouraged – groups to visit the library’s web site in advance of a presentation or program, and gave them certain things to look for, would that increase the effectiveness of the actual presentation? Would that increase traffic on the web site or in-person visits?

For school classes, if I give the instructor a video to show the class before their visit – say, a tour of the library building and introduction to key staff, or a preview of materials they will use for research – would that make the blur of a 5-floor building tour more memorable? Help to focus rambunctious students during a short visit? Gotta try it out!


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