SANTA ANA, Calif. — When Timmy Nguyen comes to his pre-calculus class, he’s already learned the day’s lesson — he watched it on a short online video prepared by his teacher for homework.
So without a lecture to listen to, he and his classmates at Segerstrom Fundamental High School spend class time doing practice problems in small groups, taking quizzes, explaining the concept to other students, reciting equation formulas in a loud chorus, and making their own videos while teacher Crystal Kirch buzzes from desk to desk to help pupils who are having trouble.
It’s a technology-driven teaching method known as “flipped learning” because it flips the time-honored model of classroom lecture and exercises for homework — the lecture becomes homework and class time is for practice.
“It was hard to get used to,” said Nguyen, an 11th-grader. “I was like ‘why do I have to watch these videos, this is so dumb.’ But then I stopped complaining and I learned the material quicker. My grade went from a D to an A.”
Flipped learning apparently is catching on in schools across the nation as a younger, more tech-savvy generation of teachers is moving into classrooms. Although the number of “flipped” teachers is hard to ascertain, the online community Flipped Learning Network now has 10,000 members, up from 2,500 a year ago, and training workshops are being hosted all over the country, executive director Kari Afstrom said.
Under the model, teachers make eight- to 10-minute videos of their lessons using laptops, often simply filming the whiteboard as the teacher makes notations and recording their voice as they explain the concept. The videos are uploaded onto a teacher or school website, or even YouTube, where they can be accessed by students on computers or smartphones as homework.
For pupils lacking easy access to the Internet, teachers copy videos onto DVDs or flash drives. Kids with no home device watch the video on school computers.