A first-hand look inside a flipped classroom

Information from this questionnaire, including students’ scores and the specific questions they got right or wrong, was saved in Moodle, and teachers were able to look at the results before class the next day.

This process allowed teachers to target their instruction to specific students, or the class as a whole, at the beginning of class.

In total, six classes in four different Stillwater Area elementary schools participated in the pilot. Teachers received special training during the summer, and 52 lessons (the first five units of math) were taught using the flipped learning approach. All lessons were aligned with state standards.

Though Stillwater is currently analyzing the data collected during the pilot phase (the formal results will be available later this year), elementary curriculum coordinator Amy Jones said her flipped learning students already are one to two units ahead of students who weren’t part of the pilot.

“Perhaps most compelling is that the teachers say even though the pilot is over, they won’t go back,” said Mike Dronen, the district’s technology coordinator.

And neither will students. Math students participating in the pilot said they love the idea of flipped learning, because it’s not a one-time lesson. Students can take notes while watching the video at home, and if they get any questions wrong, they can go back and re-watch the lesson.

Parents also were asked to take an “attitude survey,” and the majority said they saw their child improve and were happy with the results, district officials said.

“Parents said they enjoy experiencing what their child is learning first-hand at home,” explained Jones. “When [students] learn at home, they’re more comfortable and can learn at their own pace.”

Dronen said students “get faster access to content, more thorough understanding of content, and at least 30 to 45 minutes per day of one-on-one time with the teacher. There’s more personalization and customization, which is really what 21st-century learning is.”

Altogether, about 20 people attended Lake Elmo’s open house, with 12 of those attendees from nearby school districts interested in learning more about the flipped classroom approach.

Meris Stansbury

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