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Flipping over changes in the classroom

4 min read

Voice of the Educator

SmartBlog on Education will shine a light on back-to-school teaching and learning trends during July. In this blog post, educator and national trainer Ed Bates shares how he implements a flipped-instructional model.

One of the biggest and most evolving trends in education is often referred to as “flipped learning.”  As I’ve learned in my career in education, trends can pass through as just another fad (or often times an old wine with a new label), but this idea allows the opportunity for unlimited access to information at a distance through the use of the Internet.

Flipped learning, or the flipped classroom, is the idea of having the students see the content of what will be taught outside of school, having online discussions with other students and then reviewing and discussing it the next day in class, where the concept engagement would take place, hence the idea of flipping the traditional method of the teacher presenting the material in class and assigning homework. Usually the flipped classroom uses videos or PowerPoint presentations created by the teacher, but many times the student will explore alternative areas while learning about a particular topic.

As a teacher, the concept of flipping dramatically changes our teaching practice. We would no longer have to stand in front of our students and “drill and kill.” One of the greatest benefits is the overall increase in student involvement. My role as teacher can now be more of a problem solver, rather than a lecturer. I can answer questions, assist kids as we work in small groups and guide how each child learns individually.

One doesn’t want to overdo it or inundate students with a multitude of videos. A good gauge would be three 5 to 7 minute videos a week. Students are to view the videos at home (or in school if they don’t have Internet access), and then class time is spent doing interactive activities or examples which relate to the topic. Often times in an area like math, a mathematical concept can be introduced via video and real-world activities can be applied in class. For example, eighth-grade students learn about the Pythagorean Theorem outside the classroom and then apply the concept as it is used in the design and development of baseball diamonds.

I explored another application within this same concept. On some occasions, the lesson can be taught and a review of that day’s lesson can be made available later that day. It allows for students to reinforce what was presented to them earlier in the day. A document was then attached which could be assigned for extra practice or that day’s homework. Students would then complete the assignment and send it back to a drop box attached to the class web page. This creates a paperless classroom with the ultimate goal of all work from every class being conducted on an electronic device. The cost of supplying an iPad or tablet is offset by the savings encountered on paper and textbooks. Classroom time is much more effective as students do not to worry about numerous items being needed for class, other than the electronic device. Students are able to make connections faster (both literally and figuratively) and mastering content can often prove easier.

Ed Bates has over 25 years experience in the classroom teaching young adults. As a certified National Trainer, he presents concepts to various school districts and universities throughout the country. He has extensive experience in implementation of NYS Common Core Mathematics Curriculum Modules, Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR), and Integration of Technology into the Classroom.

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