Monday, October 24, 2011

Flipped Classes Give Instructors Class Time to Help Students

Do you utilize TestOut’s LabSim in a way that allows you to “flip” your classroom? Do you assign the LabSim videos as homework and then let the students complete hands-on labs in class, where you are available to give one-on-one help to students who have questions? There are many ways to utilize LabSim and many ways to incorporate it into a class schedule. One possible way is to flip your classroom.

Many teachers, not just in IT, are flipping their classrooms so that class time is when students complete the “homework,” and the assignments at home are to watch the lectures—the course element that has traditionally been delivered in the classroom.

USA Today recently featured a calculus teacher in Maryland, Stacey Roshan, who has succeeded in flipping her classroom and has seen students benefit from it. In the past, Roshan lectured during class and sent students home with assignments of calculus problems, but there never seemed to be enough time to get through the material in class. Roshan now digitally records her lessons, uses a tablet computer as a virtual blackboard, and requires students to watch the lectures at home. By having a recording of the lecture, students are able to re-watch explanations of difficult concepts as many times as they need until they understand. Then, in class, students work on the calculus problems that would have been their homework in years’ past, and Roshan makes her way around the classroom to answer questions and give one-on-one assistance. If she sees that several students are struggling with the same concept, she calls the whole class’s attention to the whiteboard and re-teaches it so that they all understand.

Roshan reports that since she has flipped her class, her students are less stressed. She also says she has seen improvement in the amount of content she can cover in a semester and in the number of students who score a perfect “5” on the advanced placement calculus test.

What is your opinion about flipped classrooms? Are they a smart way to implement technology in education?

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