Many teachers across the country are experimenting with “flipping” their classes. In simplest form, in a traditionally structured class, a teacher presents the course material in the classroom, and then students practice what has been presented at home. In a “flipped” class, students are presented with the material at home, and then they practice the material in the classroom. The advantage of the “flipped” strategy is that the teacher is present when the students are trying to apply the concepts they have been presented and so can assist the students in actually learning them, rather than trying to figure out what the students have mastered and what they have not the next day in class. It also allows more time in class for hands-on activities and projects that make the learning more “real” for the students. The concept has been around for a long time but has gained greater currency lately because of the emergence of so many online tools that make presenting material at home a much more viable option for teachers than it has been in the past.
David Vaughan is one of several teachers at Waynflete who is applying flipped strategies to his classes. He is using Schoology, which is an online learning platform that many Waynflete teachers are trying out this year, as a tool to present material to his students at home. He has, for example, like other teachers across the country, videoed himself presenting course content which he then posts online as well as posting videos of lectures by others that he has selected from online sources. At home, students watch these presentations and take notes, much as they would in class. If they miss something, they can scroll back and listen again until they think they really understand the lesson. The next day in class, with David’s careful guidance and under his watchful eye, they attempt to apply what they learn. Not only does this strategy give David the opportunity to guide the learning, but it also allows him to assess how well each student is understanding the material, in time for corrective measures to be taken before a student’s learning is documented more formally on a test or quiz. In addition, this approach helps students to become comfortable with the various technologies that they use in class and, in so doing, develop the skills they will need to succeed in college and beyond.
But it is not enough for David Vaughan to merely flip his classroom. Those of us who have been David’s colleagues or students know him not only to be a master of his material but also amazingly creative in how he presents it. Suffice it to say that no other teacher at Waynflete and few, I suspect, in the world has a more extensive or eclectic collection of costumes hanging in the closet that are intended for classroom use to make particular lessons inescapably memorable. Thus, for those of us who know him, it comes as no surprise to learn that, once again, he is going above and beyond. Check out the following links for a peek into the most current iteration of a “flipped classroom”, David Vaughan style.
9th Grade Biology Flipped Lesson
Marine Biology Flipped Lesson