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Flipped Classrooms: Students own their learning

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[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]With $24 million worth of iPads now in the hands of students across the district, it seems only fitting that teachers would find a use for them. Flipped and semi-flipped classrooms are not only giving students a use for their technology, but challenging the traditional relationship between teachers and students.

In a flipped classroom, what was homework becomes classwork, and new information is first presented to students at home, often through the use of video or sites like Schoology, Edmodo, and Google Drive, to name a few. Similarly, the semi-flipped classroom incorporates at-home presentation, but maintains a more guided instruction in class, with practice problems done together as a class.

By familiarizing students with new material outside of class, Pre-AP Algebra 2 teacher Jared Stites is able to give those students who need the most help the attention they need in class. According to Stites, a classroom structured this way provides a solution to many obstacles teachers face when teaching complex subjects to a group of 20 or 30 students.

“It’s really hard to address everybody’s various needs when you’re presenting information for the first time,” Stites said. “I’d have some students who understood the concepts early on and were bored during the lectures, and I had some students who were just really far behind or who needed additional help with basics. Everybody is different, so it allows people to kind of learn at a pace that’s more comfortable for them.”

An emphasis on students owning their learning is a common theme in higher-level courses. In an age where technology spoon-feeds information to students, teachers are now expecting them to contribute the same amount of effort into their learning as before, if not more.

As the first teacher to implement a fully flipped classroom here, Stites knows firsthand that technology can be a necessary tool in a flipped classroom.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]“I’m reliant on things like video,” Stites said. “And to track the progress of students, we have to utilize a number of Google services like Google Docs or Google Drive. The flipped classroom is made possible because we have access to that technology.”

A backward classroom style invites mixed feelings for students who’ve become comfortable with the way things have always been. But the teachers who have implemented a flipped or semi-flipped classroom are confident that this kind of learning environment benefits all students.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][image_with_animation image_url=”8707″ animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]“Students that I believe benefit from [a flipped classroom] are college-bound students,” Geometry teacher Judy Kennemer said. “It’s helping them learn how to study and find information on their own without somebody sitting there feeding it to them in the classroom. Students that are not college-bound [are] going to have to be problem-solvers out in the workforce sooner than the college students … and this helps them.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

It seems students’ opinions about flipped classroom are either all for or all against. Below two students give opposite opinions on how flipped classrooms benefit or inhibit their learning.

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Junior Sigrid Torres

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Lack of interaction

The flipped classroom utilizes the teachers’ guidance in peer discussions over the material rather than students being given an actual in-class lesson from the teacher. This leads to the lack of student-teacher connection, relationship, or in some cases, comfort or trust in the classroom.

 

Misinterpretation of content

Instead of in-class instruction, students are made to watch online lessons and interpret for themselves the material to use the next day for in-class homework. This could lead to students misunderstanding the information they’re trying to learn, as they have to grasp new and complex information themselves.

 

Less opportunity for questions

With the online lessons, students are not able to ask questions to fully comprehend the subject and the teachers are not connecting with their students so students are often intimidated to ask question or most just simply forget any questions they might have had the night before.

 

Technology is inaccessible

Although technology has greatly advanced in the past decade, internet or even a computer, laptop, or iPad may not be accessible to some students. If a student’s most important source for understanding the lesson isn’t available to them at home, how can they be expected to succeed in the class?

 

More room to fall behind

A flipped classroom is meant to be more time efficient but some students find it to be quite the opposite. Students, especially in high school, are extremely involved in extracurriculars, and having to learn lessons and materials over night all by themselves can add pressure and stress onto the student’s workload.

 

Difficult adjustment

The flipped classroom technique is relatively new and not used by many teachers. The few who do use it intend to improve efficiency and flexibility in order to prepare us for college classes and new study habits, but most college professors prefer a traditional lecture for their students. By the time students are in high school, they already have certain study techniques set in stone, making the flipped classroom approach unreasonable.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_text_separator title=”For” title_align=”separator_align_center”][vc_column_text]

Sophomore Megan Oosthuizen

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Students have the control

Flipped classroom gives students the opportunity to control their learning. Teacher talking faster than you can write? No longer a problem with flipped classroom. Daily videos allows students to pause, replay or even fast forward through parts of the video, instead of sitting through a lecture. Flipped classroom also gives students the opportunity to look at additional resources like videos, worksheets and general practice without the worry of being late on other homework.

 

More efficient

The best thing about flipped classroom is the blood, sweat and tears it saves. Instead of daydreaming through a droning hour and a half lecture, nightly videos are able to cut down a lecture into 15-20 minutes of your time. This opens up the opportunity to ask question in class, instead of wasting time trying to figure it out yourself. By watching a short video and taking notes at home, it gives students more time, freeing up your nights instead of laboring over homework from a confusing lesson.

 

More accessible

Say goodbye to the days of stressing over sick days, because flipped classroom easily solves that. Even if you’re under the weather, all you have to do is watch a short online video in order to be caught up or even ahead of the game if you’re proactive. This system allows for no excuses for being behind, for both the teacher and student.

 

More comprehensible

Flipped classroom works well with all types of learners: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. By doing lectures in class, the teacher is only appealing to one type of learner, but the combined audio, video and practice oriented set up of flipped classroom opens opportunity for all students.

 

Builds responsibility

Not only efficient and comprehensible, flipped classroom is also a realistic representation of the “real world.”  By giving students more of a choice in how they learn, it builds responsibility and takes away the negative outlook on learning some high school students have. For example, in the future, life isn’t going to be handed to you on a silver platter, so you have to be proactive to get the results you want, and that’s exactly what flipped classroom demonstrates.

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