In a fascinating new use of technology, teachers turn learning “upside down”

Technology is becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives, and teachers are learning to harness technology’s potential to help students learn more effectively.

Recent posts have introduced new Iphone and Ipad apps that can add to classroom instruction.   Now teachers are going even further and using technology to completely “invert” the classroom model.

Inverted versus  “traditional” classroom

In a traditional classroom, students listen to a teacher lecture for much of a class period, and are then assigned homework problems to work through at home.  In the inverted classroom, students do their homework in the classroom, and listen to recorded lectures on computers or issued ipods – at home.

In a traditional classroom, students sit and listen passively, and then struggle through homework problems at home without the benefit of a teacher nearby to help.  In the inverted classroom, the passive watching is done on the student’s clock, allowing the student to do practice problems with a teacher present to help work through any difficulties.

What are the advantages of inverting a classroom?

As a teacher, I think this is brilliant.  It forces students to take more ownership of their learning, and to attentively watch the recorded lectures.  But it also provides the student tremendously valuable practice time with a teacher present to help.

Who is using this new model?

This model is being used with much success by teachers like Dan Spencer, a chemistry teacher from Michigan, and James Yoos, the Washington State Teacher of the Year for 2010.  Of the inverted classroom model, Yoos, says that students “must take responsibility for developing what they know. They can’t be passive recipients of knowledge—they must engage in order to succeed in this system.  But that’s what we want for members of our society, isn’t it?”

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