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VIDEO: Flipped Classrooms

By: Barclay Pollak Email
By: Barclay Pollak Email

Posted Monday February 25, 2013 --- 10:00 p.m.

During the day Chris Biederman is an anesthesiologist. But once she's at home she has another, more important job. She's mom to a very bright 16-year-old high school junior named Savanna. On occasion Savanna needs help with her home work. Help her mother, who's college educated, can't always provide.

Chris says, " I've gone through basic chemistry, biochemistry organic chemistry but it was 30-years ago. "

But this year Chris doesn't have to worry about helping Savanna with her advanced placement chemistry homework. That's because Savanna is doing her homework at school and listening to lectures at home online.

This is known as a flipped classroom. Educators record 5-to-15 minute lectures during their down time or before and after class. The video is then uploaded to specially designed websites like Edmodo or Moodle. Students can then post comments or questions about the lectures. Their peers or teacher can respond and the next day instead of spending most of the class going over the material the students get hands on help from the expert.

Ann Moffat, Savanna's AP chemistry teacher was skeptical about the flipped classroom at first. But after teaching in a flipped classroom for a little more than a semester Ann and others are starting to see the benefits.

" It turned out I didn't have the right idea about what flipped is all about, " says Moffat. " The more I learned about it and the tools that I learned to use, I was sold."

Right now at Verona Area High School there are only a handful of teachers that have completely flipped their classroom or are in the process of flipping. Part of the reason is flipping isn't' easy.

" It's a lot of work on the front end. "

Sarah Domres teaches AP psychology. She says all the videos that are posted online are recorded and edited by the teachers.

" It can add like two, three hours on for each video."

Domres says the videos are worth the effort. Once they're recorded they can be used for years to come.

Domres adds, " It's a lot more helpful. Instead of just having a teacher lecture at you. It's nice to be able to ask questions as they go and explain problems."

Again only a handful of courses are using the flipped model and it may be that way for a while. Faculty and staff don't believe the flipped model will work with all subject matters.


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