The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

September 10, 2013

Teachers explain the 'flipped' classroom

OSKALOOSA — Tamara Knudtson, who teaches physics and physical science at OHS, along with Jeanne Clark, Spanish II, II and IV teacher, have both “flipped” their classrooms.

Knudtson said this is the third school year that she's incorporated the flipped classroom format. She received training on how to flip a classroom from a couple of science teachers in Woodland Park, Colo.

Flipped classrooms at OHS have students working on homework in the classroom and watching video lessons prepared by Knudtson and Clark at home on youtube.com.

Clark said students can take notes on the videos and apply what they've learned in class with what might be called homework traditionally. She agreed that the videos are helpful in that students can easily review all or part of a video while at home.

Knudtson said having lectures available on youtube.com allows for students who may have missed one of her Friday classes to go to a football game the ability to view it at another time.

When working on homework in the class, students have the opportunity to work alone or in groups, said Clark. Knudtson spoke about the value of students working together.

“I want them to be teaching each other, especially with my physics kids,” said Knudtson.

Clark noted that working alongside another classmate can help information click with some students.

So, is having a flipped classroom good for grades?

Knudtson said “yes.” She collected data on the flipped classroom and found that students had improved.

Clark said her students like the flipped format.

“My students really enjoy it,” Clark said, noting that her students can get feedback from her right away when working on their “homework” in the class. This helps prevent students from skipping over part of the work they have to complete, she said, which is something they may do if they worked on it at home.

Clark also talked about being able to give her students more individual and small-group attention in the flipped classroom format.

Knudtson also spoke of the benefits of being able to talk with students as they work on homework in the classroom. She said it can help her help them work through certain parts of a given assignment.

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