Increasingly, a solution to the problem of failing students who need additional attention is the practice known as flipping – that is, flipping schools between the classroom and home. In a flipped classroom students watch assignments via video and internet at home, and then work on the actual problem solving or exercise in the classroom.
The result is greater engagement of the students, and more individual attention.
Last year, teacher Pam Loveridge flipped her classroom at Butler Middle School in Cottonwood Heights. Previously, nearly 40 of her 200 middle school math students were failing.
Loveridge asked students to watch her recorded lessons on computers at home, and during class, they worked on assignments they might have otherwise done as homework. Struggling students got more one-on-one attention from her during class because she wasn’t busy lecturing.
Within seven weeks, only three of her students were still failing, she said.
“The time in class was much better used,” Loveridge said.
The concept of flipping classrooms has gained traction in Utah and nationwide in recent years, in both lower and higher education. The idea is to expose students to new concepts at home, often through video lessons, and then to have them do work, traditionally assigned as homework, during class with the teacher’s help.
Not all those who flip, of course, see the same kind of success as Loveridge. Challenges include making sure students have access to technology, actually watch lessons and that class time is used wisely. And parents are sometimes wary.
But proponents say flipping makes it easier for kids to learn at their own paces and for teachers to help students.
“They find it gives them more time to interact with students one-on-one,” said Jared Ward, a Canyons District education technology specialist and an organizer of the recent Flip’in Utah conference, hosted by the district.