FARMINGTON, Minn. - To outsiders, something seems upside down in some classrooms at Farmington Senior High School. It is called "Flipped Classrooms" and it is catching fire in education.
"Flipped Classroom" refers to a concept of education in which teachers' lectures do not take place in the classroom. They happen virtually anywhere on the students' iPad tablets, often at home. The classroom time is spent with the students doing what used to be called "homework" and in one-on-one conversations with the teachers.
"When is it that students need the most help and the most guidance, the most mentoring?" asked Ben Kusch, Farmington High School Principal. "It is not during the lecture. It is during the actual work of the problem and in working through and finding solutions. It is in that process where they need the most help. What the Flip Classroom does is provide the maximum amount of time for the most important kind of that work."
Teachers have been instructed to keep their lectures brief, just eight to ten minutes, as opposed to a lecture droning on for 45 minutes or an hour. The lectures are taped and uploaded to a YouTube channel or the teacher's website. Sometimes the teacher appears in the lecture. Sometimes it is a view of a white board with the teacher's voice.
At Farmington, Not all 1900 students are involved in the teaching style. Only Math and Chemistry classes are taught with the "flipping" concept.
"It is something that will get bigger and bigger," predicted Dan Pickens, Head of Instructional Technology at Farmington. "It leans toward the high school math and science, for sure, but it just makes sense for the way to do it (teach)."
"If you like forget something earlier in the week," said Jake Laube, 15, a sophomore, "you can go back and like review it."
Seniors John McDermid, 17, and Dominique Sparks, 17, like the flexibility of the Flipped Classroom and easier time management.
"I prefer working at my own pace and that is what this whole flip classroom really allows the students to do," said McDermid. "Doing it on the I pad, by watching videos and doing work sheets is a lot more helpful because you learn at your own pace."
Sparks agreed. "Since I am in after school activities (cheerleading), I would get more than one week's work done at a time. So, I have more time to focus on what I was doing after school."
Bloomington is another Minnesota school district that is using the "Flip classroom" concept. Thomas Jefferson High School is teaching some classes with that method this year.
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