I am very interested in the “flipped” classroom model. One district here in Minnesota, Byron Public Schools, has gained national notoriety for its flipped model for learning. If you are not familiar with the flipped model, it works like this: teachers record themselves explaining the concept (in Byron’s case, math), and showing examples and upload the videos to YouTube or school websites. The students access these lectures from home and can take them at whatever pace they need to. The following class period, the teachers assign homework or projects to practice the concept or engage the learner to use the concept in some way, and then can individualize instruction in the classroom.
I think the concept is very novel and I believe, especially for math concepts, could be really effective. I do, however, have some crucial concerns about the widespread efforts to implement this:
- If my posse don’t do homework, why would I believe they would watch videos? Sure, it may be a little more flashy, but if a kid will not, or can not (yes, I believe this to be true in many cases), complete ordinary homework, would it really make a difference what the format is? Enrichment and practice is one thing, but what of the students who arrive in class having not viewed the videos?
- Is this the best format? Is it portable and mobile enough? Do students watch the videos on smartphones on the bus to the game? I know many athletes read assigned homework in such situations. Does the use of technology free the student’s mobility, or does it shackle them?
- Would it work in inner-city or low socio-economic areas? Studies still show a wide digital divide in some areas, not just with access to computers, but with access to affordable broadband internet. Some areas of larger cities have no access from cable or phone companies whatsoever. What of these schools?
- It seems to work well for math and science, but does it translate the same for Language Arts? Social Studies? Might this be a strategy to build math departments, and no whole districts around?
I have done a lot of research, and as yet, I do not see much in the way of addressing these questions. If you have anecdotal information to share, please do.