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Let’s Flip the Textbook

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How do we revolutionize the textbook?

Flip the medium. Stop retrofitting printed works.  Let’s start digital and reimagine the possibilities.

Flip the pedagogy.   Stop equating learning with rote memorization and recall.  Let’s start collaborating, problem solving, playing, and inventing.

Flip students’ roles.  Stop viewing students as passive receivers of information.  Let’s start seeing students as naturally curious, imaginative, and eager to grow.

How do we revolutionize the textbook?

Flip the medium. Stop retrofitting printed works.  Let’s start digital and reimagine the possibilities.

Flip the pedagogy.   Stop equating learning with rote memorization and recall.  Let’s start collaborating, problem solving, playing, and inventing.

Flip students’ roles.  Stop viewing students as passive receivers of information.  Let’s start seeing students as naturally curious, imaginative, and eager to grow.

The Flip Platform

Students first engage foundational digital content on their own in the Main Interface, then …

Compelling Textbook Content

Because we believe that textbook content should be compelling, concise, and reflect the latest research, we insist on working with authors who are the best researchers and teachers in their disciplines. Textbooks don’t have to contain bland, undifferentiated content.  Come on, people.

Captivating Cinematic Media

Original cinematic-style videos provide dramatic and engaging vignettes to enhance engagement and depth.

Notifications Center

Timely notifications allow students to receive updates to promote task completion, reinforce progress, and increase engagement.

Polls & Surveys

Polls and surveys aggregate and display student responses to sample comprehension questions to build engagement and improve performance. 

Flyout Video Content

Short embedded flyout videos add context and depth to help students comprehend important facts, places, names, events, and ideas.

Flyout Glossary Content

Embedded flyout glossary terms allow our central narratives to be tighter and more engaging, while still privileging definitions as a supporting layer of content.

… join other learners in the Flip Interface to master the skills and habits of a discipline through exciting multiplayer simulations, games, and applied learning tasks.

Intuitive Student Navigation

Students use a task-based journey map to toggle to the “Flip Interface” where they develop and practice thinking and literacy skills in a “community of practice” with their peers.

Engaging Multiplayer Simulations

Multiplayer role-playing simulations empower students to master “higher-order” thinking skills by applying, testing, and critiquing content from the Main Interface as avatars or characters in a learning community with other students.

Everyone Plays A Role

Providing students with the opportunity to play central roles within their textbook narratives as avatars adds an experiential, collaborative, and problem-based dimension to the learning process that is not emphasized in other e-textbook or MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) platforms. 

Seamless Instructor Interfaces

The Flip Interface is a dynamic and emergent resource, as teachers can author or upload their own tasks and activities, assign and create new characters for the simulations, play a character themselves, embed media, and create hyperlinks. 

Assessment Features

Assessment features enable teachers to create, assign, and record quizzes and exams and transfer grades to their course and learning management systems.

Visualized Data Analytics

Teachers, students, authors, and content developers can use visualized data analytics to create feedback loops for monitoring quality control of content and to improve student engagement, persistence, and performance

Textbook Library

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The American War: An Interactive History of the Civil War & Reconstruction

Co-authored by Gary Gallagher (Univ. of Virginia) and Joan Waugh (UCLA), two of the nation's distinguished historians of the Civil War period, The American War: An Interactive History of the Civil War & Reconstruction, presents a comprehensive narrative of the events that shaped America's greatest conflict, its aftermath, and enduring memory.

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Public Speaking in the 21st Century.

Public Speaking in the 21st Century is the first “born digital” public speaking textbook in which text functions as but one important platform for students to engage . Equal parts book, film, animation, and role-playing, this interactive “textbook experience” will have your students talking, your lectures popping, and the world of public speaking recalibrated and re-engineered for our digital age.


Flip Learning Team

  • Chris Spielvogel
    Chris Spielvogel is Founder of Flip Learning, a leading expert on digital gaming and learning, and Associate Professor of Communication at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Chris’s research has appeared in international journals in the fields of digital media, gaming, and learning, communication studies, and American history, while his recent book, Interpreting Sacred Ground:  The Rhetoric of National Civil War Parks and Battlefields (University of Alabama Press, January 2013), examines the public memory of the Civil War. Chris’s innovations have been funded by a variety of foundations and agencies, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Institute of Education Sciences.   He is also the author of Valley Sim, a massively multiplayer simulation on the Civil War that has been featured on C-SPAN2, Education Week, Campus Technology Magazine, and a variety of other national news outlets.
  • Laura Ginsberg Spielvogel
    Laura Ginsberg Spielvogel is Co-Founder of Flip Learning and an expert in the fields of public anthropology, digital humanities, and gender and women's studies. She has created a web-based, role-playing simulation on Japanese culture, where students play characters in a fictional wedding between a Japanese women and an American man, and has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships including awards from the Kauffman Foundation and NEH. Laura was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching from the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan University (2010-2011) and was named Faculty Fellow by the Lee Honors College at WMU (2012). She has published a book, entitled Working Out in Japan: Shaping the Female Body in Tokyo Fitness Clubs (Duke University Press, 2003), as well as articles in The Electronic Journal of Communication, Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences, The International Journal of Learning and Media and a series of works of creative non-fiction.
  • Ben Routson
    Ben Routson is Lead Developer for the Flip Learning platform and has over 6 years of experience building custom applications using OOP PHP for startups and enterprise environments and leveraging the latest MVC Frameworks (Symony2, Zend, SIim) while using many cutting-edge tools to speed the development processes (Doctrine2, notORM, composer, GIT, SVN, github, bitbucket). Ben has integrated custom applications with both self-built RESTful APIs as well as popular APIs (Facebook Graph API, Twitter API, Twilio API, Yahoo API), utilizes Agile/Scrum and extreme programming methodologies, and uses a variety of project management tools like Jira, Greenhopper, Bamboo, Basecamp, Pivotal Tracker, and Version One.
  • Joe Davenport
    Joe Davenport is Director of Digital Media for Flip Learning and has over 10 years of experience developing documentaries, advocacy films, and educational videos. A talented illustrator, animator, writer, and filmmaker, “Joe D” has produced and edited documentaries for public television, short films about conservation, and numerous videos for Florida nonprofits, along with Flip Learning’s numerous digital assets.
  • Kate Hunter
    Kate Hunter is a Marketing and Faculty Outreach Associate for Flip Learning, and recently graduated from Kalamazoo College with degrees in English and Psychology. Her senior thesis, comprised of original and ‘found’ poetry, was centered around the life and death of a transgender man who was murdered in Nebraska in 1993, and more widely on the implications of identifying as transgender in the rural Midwest. Kate’s previous experience includes an internship at a nonprofit immigration law firm, as well as previous positions working with multiple digital platforms, such as QuickBooks, SPSS Statistics, and AbacusLaw.

Flip Learning Authors

  • Gary W. Gallagher
    Gary W. Gallagher is the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia. He is the author or editor of more than thirty books, including The Confederate War (Harvard University Press, 1997), Lee and His Generals in War and Memory (Louisiana State University Press, 1998), and The Union War (Harvard University Press, March 2011). He serves as editor of two book series at the University of North Carolina Press and has appeared regularly on the Arts and Entertainment Network's series “Civil War Journal” as well as participating in more than three dozen other television projects in the field. He is also the recipient of the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship for 2011-2012, the highest teaching award conveyed by the University of Virginia.
  • Davis Houck
    Davis Houck is professor in the School of Communication at Florida State University.  He has authored several books on the American civil rights movement, including Emmett Till and the Mississippi Press and Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965 (with David E. Dixon).  His earlier scholarship focused on American presidential rhetoric, and includes Rhetoric as Currency: Hoover, Roosevelt and the Great Depression, which won the 2002 Marie Hochmuth Nichols Prize for the best book in American public address.  In addition, his widely acclaimed history of Roosevelt's first inaugural address, Fear Itself, was submitted for the Pulitzer Prize in history.  Away from school, Houck enjoys playing golf, gardening and contemplating the mystery of the area’s magnificent Live Oaks.
  • Joan Waugh
    Joan Waugh of the UCLA History Department researches and writes about nineteenth-century America, specializing in the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Gilded Age eras. Waugh’s newest book is entitled U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth (University of North Carolina Press, 2009), which was awarded the Jefferson Davis Book Prize from the Museum of the Confederacy and the William Henry Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography. Waugh’s other books include Unsentimental Reformer: The Life of Josephine Shaw Lowell (Harvard University, 1998), The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2004), and Wars Within A War: Controversy and Conflict Over the American Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2009). Waugh has been honored with three teaching prizes, including UCLA’s prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award.
  • Interested in becoming a Flip Learning author?  Click Here


Recent News


  • “The act of playing a character was really fun–it sort of made all the repetitiveness of everyday life and everyday classroom experiences go away, while still allowing me to learn in-depth about a culture that's pretty different from my own. I would tell students to definitely try a Flip Learning textbook and simulation, especially if they find that traditional lecture/exam teaching methods don't really inspire them to learn more.”

    Undergraduate Student Western Michigan University
  • “One of the most intriguing features of the The American War: Featuring Valley Sim prototype are the avatars that allow students to think seriously about individuals in history. Instructors can use these avatars to humanize historical figures and enliven primary documents.”

    Anonymous Reviewer
  • “Ten students dug into their avatar character’s relevant primary sources in a way and to a degree that would have been highly unlikely had they just been given stacks of copies of primary sources.”

    Pilot Reviewer UNC at Chapel Hill
  • “Exciting and more fast paced than the normal classroom”

    Dawn Garvey, Secondary Instructor Virginia Beach Public Schools
  • “I was surprised at how involved everyone got into playing his or her character, and overall I will remember the information from the course better because it reinforced it and applied it to life.”

    Undergraduate Student Penn State University
  • “I loved the hands on approach.”

    Michael Brown, Secondary Instructor Virginia Beach Public Schools
  • “I think I comprehended the material a lot more by being able to change it.”

    Undergraduate Student Penn State University
  • “Wow! I think this is an awesome learning experience for my students.”

    Anne Brinson Instructor, Penn State University
  • “This was much more involved than simply reading the book.”

    John Rebhan Student, Hope College
  • “This experience brings printed words to life, and by doing so, actively engages the student.”

    Kimberly Robillard, Secondary Instructor Student, Hope College
  • “I loved the hands-on approach.”

    Michael Brown, Secondary Instructor Virginia Beach Public Schools


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