Innovation
“Flipping” the classroom

warren-DEPAOLI

Maddie DePaoli

M. DePaoli

Teachers are always thinking of new ways to help students learn. And now, launched by Kings High School AP chemistry and physics teacher Ashley Warren, comes the idea of the “flipped classroom.”

Flipped classrooms are just as they sound: take the idea of coming to class to learn new material, then going home to practice that material (often alone, with little guidance), and “flip” it.

In Warren’s flipped classes, she posts a YouTube video of herself teaching new material. Her students watch the lesson at home. The next day, the class is free to discuss the topic from the video and get help if needed. Only now, their “practice” with the new material occurs under the guidance of their teacher.

In other words, the teacher is available to the students during class in a way they can’t always be in a traditional classroom setup. They have an instructor ready to help them when they don’t understand something, rather than being confused at home.

Another benefit of the flipped classroom is that the “lecture” is permanent, available online anytime, any place the student wishes to access it. By having a video always available, students can “go back and think about things,” said Warren. They can re-watch something if they don’t understand it the first time and work on it the next day.

The frees up class time for hands-on work, said AP chemistry student Annie Orr.

“Instead of being lectured the entire class, we get to run through problems and actually see some application of the material more than we would normally,” Orr said.

The flipped classroom, however, may not be for every student or every teacher. Some obvious obstacles would be if a student doesn’t have the technology to access the videos.

Another problem could occur if one student has a schedule full of flipped classes. Such a student could potentially have several hours of videos to watch every night at home — something that may cause many busy students — and parents — to hesitate.

“If there were going to be a lot of classes like that, there should be a specific schedule,” said Orr.

Warren acknowledged that the flipped classroom may not be for everyone.

“It’s a lot of work, some teachers are just better at normal teaching,” she said.

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