Theory And Practice: Flipping The Classroom

What happens when you bring classrooms into living rooms – and homework into classrooms?

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In a “flipped” classroom, teachers reverse the traditional teaching process, sending students home with video classroom lectures online, on thumb drives, on DVD – wherever students can get them.  The students watch these lectures at home, then come to class prepared to practice what they learned with their teacher.

Lodge McCammon. Photo courtesy The Friday Institute.

Lodge McCammon, a former civics and AP economics teacher, is now a curriculum and media specialist with the Friday Institute at North Carolina State University. He’s developed his own system, called “FIZZ,” to help teachers make the flip. And McCammon says there’s more than one way to turn a classroom upside down.

“There’s sort of two camps of flipping the classroom, and we’re trying to champion one of them,” he says.

McCammon says the camps are divided. In popular Kahn Academy videos, for example, teachers use those ready-made lessons in their own classrooms. McCammon says the difference is that in FIZZ, teachers make their own videos for instruction and add student video production during class time. McCammon says he thinks the filming and editing process helps teachers with self-assessment.

“You’re gonna own it, and you’re gonna watch it back, and you’re gonna reflect on what you just watched.  That makes people better human beings. And it makes teachers very powerful,” he says.

McCammon says he thinks the FIZZ classroom method also brings teachers and parents together.

“For a long time, school has been this thing you drop your kids off to and they come home and you say, ‘hey, what did you do in school today?’ And they say, ‘i don’t know, nothing, whatever.’ And then when it comes time to do their homework, the parents are like, ‘I don’t remember algebra, so you’re kind of on your own,’” he says.

“These ten minute videos are published, they’re out there,” McCammon says. “No longer am I like, ‘I don’t know what’s going on in my son’s class, he says the teacher’s not teaching, I’m not sure’ … it tightens that up.”

McCammon was in East Tennessee to teach a flipped classroom training at Maryville College, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1999.

“Lodge has a very creative approach that is low-cost and easy to master,” says Dr. Rebecca Lucas, associate professor of elementary education at Maryville College.

“The strategy is one that all teachers can implement with very little tech expertise or financial investment,” she says.

The Maryville College Division of Education invited McCammon to train teachers earlier this year.  Program coordinators estimate around 130 area teachers attended.

Watch the presentation here:

 

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