Benjamin Logan HS Trying to “Flip” the Classroom (Audio Included)
2/8/2013 10:55:28 AM
By Mike Vetorino
Educators have always searched for better ways to communicate subject matter to their students. Effectively incorporating technology into the classroom has been the method-of-choice by many in recent years. Two high school teachers at Benjamin Logan have completely changed the way they teach their students and are thrilled with the initial results.
Math teacher Luann Schmitmeyer (pictured right)and social studies teacher Jill McKelvey (pictured, left) have begun using a process called “Flipping the Classroom”. Simply put, lessons are put in Power Point format and saved on-line to the school’s website. Students can access the lessons using their phone, lap top, home computer or kindle. Under the system, the teacher’s roll “flips” from being an information-provider to a facilitator or problem-solver.
Access to a computer for Benjamin Logan students is not a problem. McKelvey and Schmitmeyer both have WIFI in their classrooms. Computers are available in the library. Accomodations are made to those few students who can’t get to the information.
The lessons being on-line make it easier for students in several different ways. It allows them to work at their own pace, review material that they didn’t understand initially, cut down on note taking and obtain material that was missed because of absence.
Transferring the lessons into Power Point presentations is time-consuming and the only major drawback. This, however, is only a short-term concern. The advantages for teachers are numerous. Schmitmeyer has always been concerned with the wide range of ability levels in her class. In addition to working at their own pace, students have additional opportunities to practice the material until it is mastered. Both teachers are finding that students are retaining information for longer periods of time. Motivation is much higher because students are using tools that they like to use. Teacher-student interaction during class is much more frequent because the class is no longer teacher centered.
Luann Schmitmeyer discusses Flipping the Classroom.
Schmitmeyer’s and McKelvey’s classes are not completely virtual. Both require group-work activities to strengthen student interaction. Students in McKelvey’s class write every day. Because she isn’t lecturing as much, she can spend more time evaluating and critiquing the quality of what the her students are writing.
Jill McKelvey likes the new way of doing her job.
Teachers at Benjamin Logan are not required to use this process. However, if the success enjoyed by Schmitmeyer and McKelvey is any indication, Benjamin Logan curriculum director Sally Stolly (pictured, center) feels that more and more staff members will be making the switch. For more information about the program, contact Mrs. Stolly at the Benjamin Logan board office.