Before joining Blackboard, I was a teacher, and it will always be in my blood. That is why I am fascinated with the “flipped classroom.” This model has been around for quite some time, but has people talking. The flipped classroom model has students watch pre-recorded lectures at home in preparation for the next day’s assignments, and then students complete “homework” assignments in-class.  Teachers are incorporating technology into their classrooms by compiling pre-recorded lectures online or on DVD’s that students watch on laptops or other devices with internet/DVD access.

Woodland Park High School in Colorado made an important observation that shifted their thinking when they recognized “the time when students really need educators to be physically present is when they get stuck on homework questions and need individual help.[1]” This realization initiated their switch to the flipped classroom model. Not only did it initiate change, but they also have seen a continual increase in test scores since they switched to the model. The flipped classroom is a plus for students that have to travel for extracurricular activities and sports. In a traditional classroom, students will miss lessons and might fall behind, while in the flipped classroom they can watch lessons on the road. Additionally, the use of technology is very appealing and excites students who live in a highly tech-driven world.  Making lectures accessible online allows students to self-pace and provides an easy way for teachers to introduce devices in the classroom or even initiate BYOT, Bring your own technology[2].

The online lessons are also beneficial because they free up time for teachers to focus on the needs and struggles of each student in-class. This individualized and focused attention helps students make big improvements. Brooke Gutschick, a Junior at Bullis School (a private school in Potomac), took an AP Calculus class in which the “flipped” model was being used. Gutschick comments that she “[doesn’t] get stressed out about what [she’s] doing” and doesn’t “sit at home and struggle with [her] homework.[3]

Although many benefits of the flipped classroom have been noted by teachers and students alike, the ever-present obstacles of tight budgets and lack of computer access at home might leave some educators feeling skeptical about this model. Westside High School in Macon, GA shared this concern where “more than 78% [of students] qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.[4]” Westside High was able to receive a federal grant that provided netbooks for all students. After receiving these netbooks teachers felt empowered to move forward with the flipped classroom model and saw improvements in both grades and engagement.

Being a teacher in the past, this model is exciting to me because of its proven success stories. Summer is a great time for teachers to reflect and I encourage you to think about this one question: What can I do to further engage my students and how can I help them succeed?

[1] Person, First. “Why Flipped Classrooms Are Here to Stay.” Education Week. 4 June 2012. Web. 25 June 2012. [2] Lewis, Annie. “Devices in the Classroom-Embracing the BYOT World.” Blackboard Blogs. 11 June 2012. Web. 25 June 2012. [3] Strauss, Valerie. “The Flip: Turning a classroom upside down.” The Washington Post. 3 June 2012. Web. 25 June 2012. [4] “Promise of ‘flipped classroom’ might elude poorer school districts.” eSchool News. 19 June 2012. Web. 25 June 2012.

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