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Flipping out: Classroom trend catching on between teachers

POSTED: March 1, 2014 11:58 p.m.

Having access to online technology is changing how teachers and students interact, but a local school is testing how it can change the professional teaching environment as well.

North Hall Middle School Principal Shane Rayburn tested the “flipped” method for his faculty’s Feb. 19 meeting, asking teachers to view the material online rather than attend an in-person meeting.

“It allowed me to attach some articles and some information in a convenient way for them to do it at their leisure,” Rayburn said. “So some of them probably did it in their pajamas and recliners, while some of them did it during their planning period. But essentially, I gave them a window of time to watch and be responsible for the information.”

The flipped classroom concept has students learning much of the material away from the classroom so that time with the teacher can be more individualized depending on what the student didn’t understand.

“Flipping adult meetings is another example of how we can utilize digital tools to help us work more efficiently,” Hall Superintendent Will Schofield said.

Rayburn said flipping a faculty meeting is the same idea, allowing him to answer specific questions without having to take up extra time.

“The video is about 12 minutes,” he said. “If we had the same information in a live fashion, it would have easily been 45 minutes to an hour. Not necessarily because I would have made it that long, but you would have had questions, clarifications, that sort of thing. So I think it’s a wider time management kind of thing.”

“Allowing professionals to access needed information when it fits their busy schedule is transformational,” Schofield added.

For example, Rayburn said a teacher was able to watch the material via her smartphone while on the way to her son’s baseball game.

The meeting material was pretty standard for any office environment, with information like reminders on when to complete administrative reviews and on upcoming field trips.

“I enjoyed it,” band instructor Rob Dugan said. “A lot of times, we have meetings but we also have students that need extra help and stuff like that after school. It really helps when we have our own time, when we have free time to go and do the meeting and go through it and read the materials. It helped me to be a little more focused.”

Rayburn said it wouldn’t work for every situation, but he sees this being a trend that could catch on for future meetings and at other schools.

“As you know, time is precious,” he said. “Teachers, when they see the word ‘meeting,’ it’s like ‘Oh my gosh, you’ve got to be kidding me.’

“So all in all, I’d say that they really enjoyed the new experience, and I think people like having the convenience.”


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