Students at Hilliard Darby High School are experiencing what some refer to as a âflipped classroom'. Instead of listening to the teacher lecture on a subject at school and doing homework at home, now students watch the lecture at home, being able to pause and rewind the presentation to increase comprehension or note down question. Project work and problems that might traditionally be assigned as homework is now tackled during the classroom where the teacher is available to help.
"It was something I've never done before, and I was nervous to learn at home," said Jessica Hutchinson, 16, a student in Tsai's class at Hilliard Darby High School. "But I liked it. You get extra help at school, but you're learning it at home."
While some teachers videotape their lessons themselves, others direct students to the Kahn Academy which provides more than 3,000 free tutorials in math and science. Joanna Burcham, a math teacher at Olentagy Orange High School has noted an increase in student grades of 7% since she started posting all her lessons on YouTube for students to review in their own time. She said that both she and her students loved that they could come to class ready to work on problems instead of wasting time on initial reading of material.
"It's spreading because innovative teachers are looking for a way to use technology to transform the traditional classroom," said Jim Warford, a senior consultant at the New York-based International Center for Leadership in Education. He is the former chancellor of Florida's public schools and has been studying the practice for three years.
Although no formal studies into the method have yet been conducted those involved point to Clintondale High School in Michigan which âflipped' its entire curriculum last year and have noted a significant rise in attendance rates and performance and a corresponding decline in disciplinary problems.
Steve Estepp, the executive director of curriculum and instruction in the Hilliard schools, sees it as shifting the role of teachers "from the gatekeeper of knowledge to the role of the coach."