An innovative teacher has found that a flipped classroom offers more time for interaction with his students.
Kevin Pax is always looking for ways to free up class time so that students can engage in active learning. He records lectures so students can watch them outside of class. Then classtime is for discussion, interaction, and projects.
For example, one day the class dramatized the Second Continental Congress. The desks were covered in green paper reminiscent of Independence Hall's green table cloths, and Mr. Pax arrived wearing a 3 cornered hat, brown leather vest over a white shirt, and his khakis were rolled up simulating breeches. Students arrived in costume, carrying quill pens along with their iPads.
Students ran the meeting, affecting British accents as they stood to deliver their speeches. Pax observed and took notes.
Pax uses the flipped classroom technique, pre recording lectures for students to watch outside class, and using class time for other assignments that are more interactive and hands on.
“It frees up more time to do things like this to enrich their education, instead of just notes and notes,” said Pax, who has been teaching at Western for 14 years. “That’s the best way kids learn – by doing it. They remember it, and it’s more of an impact.”
His first year transitioning to the non-traditional set-up required extra work, as he had to record his lectures in advance.
“I’ve always been a fan of technology in the classroom,” Pax said. “That first year, it was a lot of work. I spent a lot of late nights here (at the school).”
Western implemented a 1:1 technology initiative two years ago, so each student has his or her own iPad to use in class and at home. That prompted Pax to do more research into the flipped classroom approach in an effort to make the most of the technology now available to his students.