Have You Heard?
Posted by Steve Payne at 2/16/2012
On January 2, 2012, Allen High School hosted a learning symposium sponsored by the Public Education Visioning Institute with the support of AISD Learner Services Department, Allen High School administrators and math and science teachers from Allen High School. The purpose of the symposium was to highlight the support for and implementation of a teaching strategy that has been highlighted by some recent educational research and best practices giants such as Alan November. In fact, Mr. November personally addressed the symposium via a pre-recorded video message to kick off the day for the more than 100 teachers and administrators from around Collin county area school districts. In all, six school districts attended including AISD teachers and administrators who served as key presenters for the symposium. The teaching strategy highlighted and that has been growing in popularity is based on switching the traditional homework assignment and classroom lectures/work. Around the nation it is referred to as "Flipping" the classroom.
Several years ago, two high school chemistry teachers from Colorado shifted their teaching practice dramatically. Where previously they had lectured to students during class time, then assigned their students homework tasks meant to reinforce the lecture, they flipped that model around. They created videos of their lectures and asked their students to watch them as homework, then used in-class time to complete the tasks that used to be done at home. In-class time could now focus on experiments, discussions, and more active forms of learning. Over time, they began calling this the “flipped classroom” model of instruction, and it has spread in popularity (in various forms) to a large number of classrooms.
What the "flipped-classroom" looks like:
1. A Shift in Student Responsibility
In the traditional non-flipped secondary classroom, instruction has been delivered via lecture and some activities that the teacher supervises. Remember when you took notes in class and the teacher was giving all the information you needed from an overhead or just straight verbal lecture? Remember going back over those notes to study for the test hoping that you got it all written down the first time? With the flipped strategy, a teacher takes the lecture digitizes it and then posts it to a website for the class to be able to access. The lecture is still given by the teacher or by a source chosen by the teacher, the students are still taking notes but it is dramatically different. Now the note taking is at home. The lecture can be paused or the student can go back and listen if he/she missed something or make sure they didn't. In the non-flipped classroom, the teacher is in control of the information and the student is at the mercy of the information that is being delivered during class. In the flipped classroom the student is in control of the information and instead of everyone listening and some hearing what the teacher said, all students listen to the same information and have a better chance of hearing the same information through video!!
2. A Shift in Teacher Responsibility
Flipping the classroom can also lead to a fundamental shift in terms of who “owns” the class. Whereas the non-flipped classroom has been very teacher-centered, the flipped class is very student centered and focused. A teacher can now focus on more individual students or groups of students specific to questions and struggles. Instead of a student struggling at home on a homework problem or getting stuck and frustrated with how to do something, now the teacher is in the class with the time to deliver just-in-time instruction and correct or help the student come to an understanding of the intended learning. The plan for any given day can adjust immediately based on student errors or misconceptions.
The flipped classroom is an excellent first step in making students’ in-class experiences more active, more student-centered, and more meaningful. School could become a place where students can learn in a lab setting, learn at their own individual paces, can become active content creators instead of solely passive content recipients, and can learn in an environment that they “own” which adjusts rapidly to meet their learning needs and interests.
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