Flipping the Classroom: a revolutionary way to learn

As teachers desperately try to reach this generation of millennials (kids born between the year 1980 and 2000), many are turning to the technology we cling to so tightly. The new craze of “flipping the classroom” is growing popularity among teachers nationwide and uses technology to literally flip the typical structure of education.

Flip the Classroom is a national movement to use video blogs (or “vlogs”) to present students with lectures and notes at home, and instead, they tackle book work and other review problems together in class. The most practical subjects that this has been used for so far are mathematics, science, and even foreign languages.

Simply, a student watches a video of the teacher instructing, usually assisted with guided notes. The next day, students come in prepared with their notes and questions, then get the assignment and work through it with their teacher. This system is more efficient, because the vlogs themselves can be shorter than a regular class hour of instruction would be.

The videos allow the teacher to walk the students through the lesson in a one-on-one setting, then answer any questions the students may have when they are in class together.

In a real classroom setting, the students’ questions and general inability to focus slows the class down, as the teacher frequently has to stop and regain control of the class. Because the videos are only between the teacher and the student, the regular 50 minute lesson can be cut down to about five to ten minutes.

Since flipping the classroom has progressed, it makes the system we’ve used for centuries seem nonsensical. Now, when teachers present the information in class, students are left to figure it out on their own at home, with limited class time to go over question the next day. By flipping the classroom, all 50 minutes of class time are allotted for reviewing and further explanation.

Because the vlogs are stored in a virtual library, students can pause, rewind, and re-watch lectures weeks after they were assigned. By reviewing the vlogs after several weeks, students are offered a more concrete source for test review, other than scrambling to pull key concepts out of their own notes.

This year, all Unit 5 sixth graders were given a laptop. If we grant every sixth grade class with a laptop each year, eventually our entire district would have the technology necessary to flip the classroom unit wide.

Living in an age of technology and tech-savvy kids, it’s time we catch up to reach students in a way that is familiar and more enjoyable to them.