Maybe, just maybe, Ken Robinson’s education revolution is starting to happen. Maybe the revolution is starting with classroom teaching time into homework time, and homework time into lesson viewing time. Sometimes it’s called flip-teaching, sometimes inverse-teaching, but whatever it’s called, the general idea is that teacher time is best spent interacting with students, and anything that makes more teacher time available for that interaction is going to improve the student learning experience.
Homework time and lesson time are flipped. By making a video of the lesson and making it available for students to watch as homework, everyone wins. With totally flexible viewing time, students are no longer penalized if classes are missed for whatever reason. What would normally be “homework” – applying the knowledge gained from the lesson – is done during class time, when there are opportunities to clarify any areas of confusion. Lesson time becomes quality teaching time as the teacher moves around the class, observing how students apply the knowledge and intervening or assisting as required.
Before you throw up your hands in dismay and shriek that any lesson that can be watched as homework must be an archaic “chalk and talk” style of teaching that should be trashed, not digitized, take note that these teachers seem to be math and science teachers. Videos can be an effective way of introducing topics that took mankind many centuries to discover,such as atomic structure, or the wave-particle theory of light. However even these videos are not necessarily all talk. Well designed videoed lessons provide students with problems and scenarios to think about, so they are required to think while they watch.
Here’s Jonathan Bergmann’s quick introduction about how flipped teaching works.
More information is available on Jonathan Bergmann’s Ning, “The Flipped Class Network”
The advantages of flip-teaching are many. Students watch material at their own pace – they can rewatch areas they don’t understand, or fast forward through material they already know – self-selected differentiated learning. It frees up teacher time to allow more interaction with students individually and in small groups, identifying any misunderstandings and problems areas. Parents like it too – they can learn along with their children if they want (what a role model for the lifelong learner). They have a better idea of what their children are doing at school.
Professor Eric Mazur uses a similar format in his physics lectures at Harvard.
Time for some crystal gazing – what will happen if a number of teachers are prepared to put their prepared material on the web for public consumption? What if students are able to select the material that they feel best presents the information they want (or the course curriculum requires) from a variety of presentations instead of their particular teacher or lecturer? What if the library of this information became vast enough for students to rate the quality of the content, so that subsequent students could readily choose well presented and explained material? What if teachers then start to focus on smaller segments of subject, and do them very well, instead of all teachers trying to cover the same material adequately? How about educational wikis with audio-visual and interactive material instead of predominantly text and images?
It pushes buttons for me.
Reverse Instruction: Dan Pink and Karl’s “Fisch Flip” on Connected Principals