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‘Flipping’ the classroom gains popularity

A few teachers at Bob Jones High School are experimenting with the “flipped classroom” concept.

Teachers in a ‘flipped classroom’ prepare podcasts or vodcasts for students to review at home and take notes, Danny Elegante said. He teaches both honors and advanced placement chemistry.

“When students get to class, they work on questions, labs and problem sets,” Elegante said. “The teacher is available to help out students. The students get more support as they try to master skills.”

A podcast is a set of audio files that a user can download from the Internet. The word ‘podcast’ combines ‘broadcasting’ and ‘iPod.’ A ‘vodcast’ or video podcast adds video. Students can access podcasts on an iPod or any Internet-accessible computer.

The ‘flipped’ idea is popping up across the United States. “It started as, ‘Let’s tape our lectures so kids who are sick can stay current in the class,”’ Elegante said. “Then it became a way to get more face time for the student and teacher.”

“At Bob Jones, we’re awesome, but it doesn’t mean we can’t do better,” Elegante said.

In a podcast, Elegante covers basic ideas and how-to’s. He then spends class time going from group to group to help students more. “It’s a better way for teachers because you don’t have to repeat the lessons to the class,” Elegante said. “I don’t have to wait while students write every little thing down.”

In vodcasts, Elegante records video in short segments to explain how to do a certain skill, along with lecture content or solving problems. “They thus do note taking at home and ask questions (in class) — and not get frustrated,” he said.

The ‘flipped’ concept can work for any subject, he said. “The beauty is that you can go ‘all in’ or incorporate it to some small degree.”

Science teachers Carol Bohatch and Ben Johnston and English teacher Cindy Huskey also are trying this approach.

For more information, visit mast.unco.edu/programs/vodcasting.

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