Flipping the Classroom and Blogging about It
posted by: Alix | January 18, 2012, 02:56 PM   

As a growing number of teachers see the need to make their teaching more relevant to today's technology generation, there's a good chance that one of the most popular education buzz-phrases this year will be "flipped classroom." This increasingly popular educational trend reverses the traditional pattern of classroom instruction followed by homework activities. With the flipped classroom model, students gain insight into the material—and control the pace of their learning—through viewing introductory videos of the information at home. Students then come to the classroom prepared to tackle an activity related to what they learned the night before. In the classroom, students have more time for hands-on activities, and they are able to get immediate assistance from the instructor and their peers when they face challenges in solving complex problems.

Most of the forerunners of this innovative blended learning-related movement already fall into the tech-savvy category, so many who are implementing this model in their classroom are naturally using blogs or other mediums to report their experiences. That's how it is with high school teachers Melissa Parma and Robert Gonzales, for example. These two educators, who also happen to be trainers for teacher-to-teacher training program Laying the Foundation (LTF), have decided to flip their classrooms this year and share their experiences on the new Flipping the Classroom Blog, hosted on the LTF website.

In his first post, Gonzales shares how he was introduced to the model and outlines what blog readers can expect from his future posts. Parma, on the other hand, gives the details about the specific technology and equipment that she uses in her flipped classroom approach. A more recent blog post by Parma highlights a challenge that she ran into that almost forced her to abort the blended learning experiment altogether—and tells how she creatively overcame the potential roadblock.

Parma has taught in public high schools in Texas and California for 28 years. A native Texan, she graduated from Rice University and did her graduate work in education at Cal State, Los Angeles. With rare exceptions, her teaching assignments have always been either mathematics or physics or both. She is an LTF Math Trainer and manages the online LTF Math Forum, and she currently teaches at an Early College High School in New Braunfels, Texas. Gonzales is a graduate of the UTeach Program at UT Austin. He has worked in Austin ISD for nine years, taking two years out of the chemistry classroom to be a department chair and instructional coach. He currently teaches chemistry in the Academy for Global Studies, a small learning community within Austin High School affiliated with the Asia Society as part of the International Studies School Network. Gonzales is an LTF Chemistry Trainer.

To learn more about LTF, its training program, and its blended learning initiatives and resources (including Parma and Gonzales's new flipped classroom project), visit www.ltftraining.org, or email Marketing Coordinator Kaci Schack at kschack@ltftraining.org.

Have you tried the flipped approach in your classroom? If so, how has it impacted learning for your students?
Comment below.

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