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Flipping classrooms.

Teachers across the country are experimenting with "flipping" their classrooms, a concept in which they invert traditional instruction so students use what used to be homework time listening to lectures and moving what used to be homework into classrooms.

In flipped classrooms, students listen to teacher lectures at home at their own pace, typically through instructional videos that are posted online or podcasts that they can download easily. They may engage in online discussions with teachers and other students.

Students use their class time to apply what they've learned from the lectures, working in the presence of teachers, often in collaboration with other students. When students apply what they've learned, teachers can more easily determine if they have "gotten it" or if students need additional instruction.

"When they get to class, they are there to do work. They pick up labs. They do interactive activities. They can complete problem sets. Under a traditional lecture model, kids would write down everything that you wrote on the board, and they would go home and try to interpret that and translate that into the assignment that you gave them to do at home, and there's a disconnect there. They were having trouble connecting what they had been taught in class with what they were supposed to apply at home. What we realized is that's when students need us present, when they're trying to bridge that gap. They need us there to help them understand the content, not to deliver the content," said Aaron Sams, a science teacher at Woodland Park High School in Woodland Park, Colo. Sams and colleague Jonathan Bergmann have been flipping their classrooms for four years. An interview with them was recently published in GoTeach magazine, one of Kappan's sister publications.

Teachers who have flipped classrooms claim that students become more independent learners. "Learning for students is no longer jumping through a bunch of hoops for the teacher. It's utilizing the tools that the teacher gives them to learn the objectives that are part of the course in a way that's meaningful for them," Sams said.

A notebook of short but worthy items

Source: Young, E. (2011, August/ September). Flip it: An interview with Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann. GoTeach, 1 (1), 12-14.

RELATED ARTICLE: Steep budget cuts

Elementary and high schools are receiving less state funding than last year in at least 37 states, and, in at least 30 states, school funding stands below 2008 levels--often far below.

Of 46 states that publish education budget data in a way that allows historic comparisons:

* 17 states have cut perpupil funding by more than 10% from prerecession levels.

* Four states--South carolina, Arizona, California, and Hawaii--each have reduced perpupil student funding to K-12 schools by more than 20%.

Source: Oliff, P. & Leachman, M. (2011, October). New school year brings steep cuts in state funding for schools. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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Title Annotation:Highlighted & Underlined; alternative instruction
Publication:Phi Delta Kappan
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2011
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