Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Journal 3: "Upside down and inside out"

Fulton, K. (2012, June/July). Upside down and inside out. Retrieved from

This article corresponds to NETS-T #1, "facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity".

Article Link

In this article, a new strategy for teaching, the "flipped classroom" is described. Instead of lecturing content in the classroom and assigning independent work for homework, teachers assign the lecture for homework and then have the students work on their projects and assignments in class. Lectures are on-line or available as a DVD to students. This technique may have been generated in response to recent findings that lecturing is the least effective way to learn (see links below). The idea is that learning in class is more effective since students are more engaged in group discussions, projects, and activities. Teachers mediate these discussions and project and assist individuals with help on material.

Question 1:
How can I use the "flipped classroom" in my classroom?
High school biology is ideal for utilizing the flipped classroom model. For instance, I might send students home with an assignment to watch my lecture on DNA replication. To ensure they watch the video and understood the content, they would also fill out a worksheet based on the lecture. During class, we might start with a discussion of the lecture, where I ask them questions to check for understanding. Then, I would break the class into groups to work on a project where they have to build a model of a DNA strand undergoing replication. Each group would get a rubric to outline the directions and requirements for the project. At the end of the class, each group gets to present their model.

Question 2:
What are the cons to a flipped classroom?
Not all students have access to a computer at home. I have to ensure that each student is equipped with the necessary tools to watch the lectures and complete the assignments at home. Students without a computer or internet access can be provided with a DVD. Perhaps, low income students can be set up in a computer lab at the school library.
A second draw-back to the flipped classroom is that it may be more difficult to keep all students on the same page. Without a face-to-face presentation, the instructor must develop other techniques to make sure all students actually understand the material presented in the virtual lecture. Another way to address this would be to leave an area for e-mails and comments in the url where the lecture is available.

Links to Articles assessing how well students learn from lectures:

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