Flipped Learning: Homework In Class, Lessons At Home

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Educators are always finding new and innovative ways to teach students.

One of the latest trends to hit classrooms is called flipped learning.

Some say it’s like turning traditional education on its head by showing that learning doesn't always occur in the classroom.

The idea behind flipped learning started several years ago by educators in Colorado and lately it’s been catching on here in the state.

Michael Ellis, geometry teacher at Waterford High School flipped his classroom last year.

“I’m moving around the room constantly,” said Ellis.

He walks from desk to desk every morning checking and grading the notes of students from a lesson they learned the night before by watching a video taught by an instructor in Texas.

“Then when they come to class we give them a sheet with some of the problems they should know how to do.”

Lesson plans are brought home, homework is brought to the classroom.

Add it all up and it equals a flipped classroom, also known as flipped learning.

“In the flipped classroom I’m in the second year that I’ve been doing it,” said Ellis who acknowledges the inverted style of teaching is different but he says it works.

“I think that anything that gets us to where the students are doing more work in higher level problems that's a positive thing.”

Ellis said students are able to get to those higher level problems quicker because they can discuss them in class.

He said when students work through the tough math problems at home and they get stuck they often put a question mark.

That doesn’t happen anymore because he’s there, in class, revisiting concepts students may not understand, reinforcing the topic again and again.

“I think it’s a great class when about 10 to 15 minutes to go some of the students start telling me, 'I am tired, I`m beat I`ve got nothing more,' and I think that's perfect.'"

“I feel like the information sinks better when its reinforced twice instead of once,” said sophomore Caitlin Drouin who likes Mr. Ellis' teaching style.

Nathaniel Austin-Mathley is also in the class and prefers a traditional classroom setting.

“It a new thing but personally I prefer a teacher teaching in class."

“I’m a little wary,” said Jonathan Costa with Education Connection.

He said the strategy is not for every teacher, not for every classroom.

“I think it’s a good thing I just think it has to be applied in the right context and for the right goals,” he said.

Still he feels the more students and educators take advantage of technology, the better.

“Anything that we can do to put digital tools in the hands of learners I think is a good think,” said Costa.

Some call flipped learning innovative and creative but Mr. Ellis has different word choices to describe his favorite teaching method.

“Intense, exhausting and beneficial.”

Now students spend about 20 minutes watching videos each night.

Since Ellis started flipped learning at Waterford High School one other teacher caught on this year and another is planning on starting in the coming year.

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