Flipped classroom concept explored
November 12, 2012
ADAMS TWP — Mars High School is exploring a new type of teaching concept that is the polar opposite of the traditional lecture-and-text format, but parents are unsure of the idea. About 35 parents and school board members attended a forum Wednesday night in the high school to learn more about the “flipped classroom” method. In a flipped classroom, students watch an online video at home that details a lesson, complete with the teacher on the video explaining the subject matter. The video can be repeated as needed, and students must summarize the most important points in the video and come up with at least one question regarding the material. Assignments are then completed in class the next day, where teachers can interact with students individually. Seneca Valley School District Superintendent Tracey Vitale and Assistant Superintendent Matt McKinley attended the forum to learn about the flipped classroom concept. Aaron Sams, a former chemistry teacher at Woodland Park High School in Colorado and a flipped classroom practitioner and consultant who lives in Pittsburgh, discussed the concept. Since the beginning of the school year, Mars has been teaching chemistry and physics using the flipped classroom method. The program at Mars started when teachers Janet Adams, Nicole Avon and Rebecca Winek wanted to enrich the classroom experience of all students by ensuring everyone understood the concepts being taught. Parents had several concerns for administrators after they watched an abbreviated video and did some work themselves to get a feel for the method. Principal Todd Kolson assured parents that their input and that of students would figure into the program as it continues at Mars. Mars junior Kaitlin Rymer said she enjoys the flipped classroom method. She said it makes students responsible for learning, and gives them choices in how they learn.