By GLENNA ALLEN
Ballwin resident and second-grade teacher Jane Dunn is eager to try the flipped classroom concept.
The idea is to invert traditional teaching methods by delivering instruction online through self-made videos and moving homework into the classroom.
It’s an idea Dunn learned about during a professional development technology class in the St. Charles School District – and, according to Dunn, it sounds like a way to re-engage her students and improve learning.
The flipped classroom was first introduced in 2007 by two Colorado high school science teachers who filmed several class lessons to help absent students keep up with their coursework. The concept expanded rapidly and it is now viewed as a powerful tool for teachers to create content, share resources and improve practice.
Dunn plans to use her homemade videos in three ways.
The first way will be to introduce students to new concepts and information. Her students will be able to watch the videos at home and at school during the day.
The second way will be to reteach students who need extra help.
“I frequently use small group instruction, so when students are not working with me in a small group they can go to the computer and watch the applicable video to answer questions or clarify concepts,” Dunn said.
The third way is something Dunn is particularly excited about – using the videos as another way to communicate with parents and caregivers at home. In addition to the videotaped lessons, Dunn will make videos specifically for parents about events coming up and activities that are happening in the classroom.
Dunn believes the flipped classroom concept is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Students benefit because increased exposure to the lesson concepts and ideas results in increased understanding. Parents also will have the opportunity to see firsthand how each lesson is taught, which, in turn, could help in engaging parental support. As for Dunn, the flipped classroom may allow her to have more time with students practicing each concept instead of reteaching. The movies also will allow her to communicate with parents more frequently and in a personal way.
Additionally, Dunn is convinced the very act of creating videos will hone her teaching skills by making her be more clear and concise, pay closer attention to the details and nuances of instruction, such as the pace, the examples and the visual representations used, and the development of aligned assessment practices.
“I hope people are not quick to dismiss this idea as ‘just another educational fad’ because the ideas behind it are not brand new,” Dunn said. “Educators have known for a long time that thoughtful course redesigns lead to improved learning and that is what these videos represent.
“It is a new way to re-engage students and hopefully watching me on the screen will help to motivate my students both inside and outside my classroom.”