More and more news articles continue to be written about the flipped classroom. Its popularity stems from more teacher-student interaction and more differentiation of instruction. Districts either are intrigued and researching the topic or beginning to implement it. The goal of this teaching model is to be able to encourage students to be active learners. Lectures are recorded and students can watch them at home at their own pace. Class time is then dedicated to discussion questions which students can answer individually or in groups. Teachers are then able to help students when they have questions about a math problem or a science lab because all work is done in class.

Peter Dewitt, an elementary school principal, finds it important to research the effectiveness of the flipped classroom. He believes the “integrity of the model, all depends on how educators use it in their classrooms.[1]” I couldn’t agree more. If teachers are just implementing this technique because they have to, it will not reap the same benefits. Dewitt goes on to say that educators should only be trying the flipped classroom approach if they “want to find a way to engage their students.1”

Pekin High School, a Blackboard Learn customer, has taken “flipped” classrooms to heart. Ericka Ash, a sophomore at Pekin High School, enjoys the flipped classroom because she gets a “head start on the material” and finds there is “more information online than there is in the book.[2]” Teachers, do you find it exciting when students are getting a head start on their work and are thrilled when they receive better resources? I know as a previous teacher, nothing excited me more than an engaged student who wanted to dive deeper into my subject matter.

Furthermore, teachers like the flipped classroom because it takes away excuses. Sherry Spurlock, a chemistry and physics teacher at Pekin High School explains that students can no longer say, “ ‘I don’t know how to do it, I didn’t understand it, my dog ate it’ There’s no dog in my classroom.[3]” The teacher’s role becomes less about asking their students why they haven’t completed their work and more about helping them succeed.

Engaged students and happy teachers are a great combination, but do statics support this flipped classroom model? The answer is yes. Increased attendance numbers and test scores are two ways to measure success. In North Texas they are achieving both. At Coppell Middle School North “students were doing much better with their work and their attendance had improved because they were engaged in their learning.[4]”  Also, at Forest Middle School in Flower Mound, Teacher Bradley has implemented the flipped classroom and saw a “15-20 percent increase in test scores. 4” Do these success stories make you want to take a closer look at this model and learn more about how to implement it at your school?

Download the Blackboard webinar with guest speakers from Piedmont City School District in Alabama and Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School. Learn how these schools have created a personalized education experience and increased student success.

[1] DeWitt, Peter. “A New Approach to Teaching? The Flipped Classroom.” Education Week’s blogs. 15 August 2012. Web. 4 October 2012.

[2] Strauss, Marc. “Pekin students take courses online.” CI News Now. 5 October 2011. Web. 4 October 2012.

[3] Vlahos, Nick. “Pekin expands classrooms to accommodate cyber-savvy students.” Pjstar. 24 September 2012. Web. 4 October 2012.

[4] Hundley, Wendy. “‘Flipped Classrooms’ in North Texas turn traditional teaching on its head.” 27 September 2012. Web. 4 October 2012.

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