By Tina Rosenberg
Three years ago, Clintondale High School, just north of Detroit, became a “flipped school” — one where students watch teachers’ lectures at home and do what we’d otherwise call “homework” in class. Teachers record video lessons, which students watch on their smartphones, home computers or at lunch in the school’s tech lab. In class, they do projects, exercises or lab experiments in small groups while the teacher circulates.
Clintondale was the first school in the United States to flip completely — all of its classes are now taught this way. Now flipped classrooms are popping up all over. Havana High School outside of Peoria, Ill., is flipping, too, after the school superintendent visited Clintondale. The principal of Clintondale says that some 200 school officials have visited.
It’s well known by now that online education is booming. You can study any subject free in a MOOC — a massive open online course — from single-digit addition to the history of Chinese architecture to flight vehicle aerodynamics. Courses are being offered by universities like Harvard and M.I.T. and by the teenager next door making videos in his garage. Among the best-known sources are the Khan Academy, Coursera and Udacity. But while online courses can make high-quality education available to anyone for the price of an Internet connection, they also have the potential to displace humans, with all that implies for teachers and students.
Like everything disruptive, online education is highly controversial. But the flipped classroom is a strategy that nearly everyone agrees on. “It’s the only thing I write about as having broad positive agreement,” said Justin Reich, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard who studies technology and education.
[ Full article available at The New York Times: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/turning-education-upside-down/ ]