Flipping the classroom is one of the top trends in school reform, with more and more teachers trying the approach in an attempt to boost student engagement and achievement.
The concept is simple: Teachers create or find online short videos that explain a lesson or concept, and students watch the videos at home. Students then come to class the next day prepared to complete “homework” during class time.
Supporters say the flipped classroom model works because students aren’t struggling to finish assignments at home without the help of a teacher should problems or confusion arise. Teachers are able to spend less time lecturing and more time helping students.
“Start off slow—one or two things at a time,” advised Gwynn Loftin, an educator with Highland Park Independent School District in Texas, during a Texas Computer Education Association 2013 conference session. “You are going to have bumps and bruises along the way, but it is so very much worth it.”
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Even the most pro-flipping educators may experience some discomfort with the process. “The teacher’s role changes; you’re not the center of attention anymore, and for some of us that’s hard to get used to. You become a player on the side,” Loftin said.
Loftin’s district has flipped lessons about the planets, poetry, and social studies, using a website or tool such as Moodle or Edmodo to house videos, blogs, and assignments; and video creation tools or video sites such as YouTube, Brain Pop, Khan Academy, or LearnZillion.
On the other hand, flipping the classroom presents challenges for students who might not have access to internet-enabled devices, or the internet itself, at home, and who therefore encounter obstacles when they try to watch their teacher’s video.
(Next page: How one district overcomes access obstacles)