First off, the flipped classroom is not so very new, but then again, not much is. Consider the learning cycle. This “flips” traditional instruction by starting with student exploration, then going into concept development. The problem is in implementation. When using the learning cycle, many teachers simply have kids “play” with stuff, then go into a lecture and call it “concept development”. The real downfall here of the current flip system is that “concept exploration” is defined by activities such as watch a video & listen to audio. This is not so much concept development as it is an attempt at concept collection. This is a subtle but important point.
Concept development is when students are the ones, with teacher guidance, developing mental models and ideas around a concept. Concept collection, in my definition, is more like expecting kids to “collect” the concepts from the teacher in tact instead of construct the concepts from prior experiences and teacher guidance. In most of the current dialogue around flipping, the exploration and concept development remain isolated events. In the very best classrooms, I envision exploration leading organically into concept development. What I envision is idiosyncratic, is VERY hard to plan for, and very hard to accomplish.
Additionally, the whole “students can engage with material at own pace” rhetoric is old news. Kids could do that with textbooks too, but did they? IMO, the key difference in changing education is how connection is made between content & experience. Having a prerecorded lecture cannot authentically react to kids genuine experience. It will be contrived, just like a text book is. Yet, video & textbooks are great as additional resources. As long as video or text (no matter how well designed) is the major mode of content delivery, little has changed. While kids might be doing more application in the classroom, application is very different than creation & synthesis. Application as a step forward, but it is not the goal – I want students to create as they learn, not just after they learn.
*Hat tip to Frank Noschese