Sunday, October 13, 2013

You Want a Flipping Education? Or Not?

One popular notion today is a sort of hybrid of the MOOC and traditional education, called the flipped classroom. The basic idea is that lectures and demonstrations are by video, with the classroom reserved for interative educational activities:

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...

The results were dramatic: the failure rate in English dropped from 52 percent to 19 percent; in math, it dropped from 44 percent to 13 percent; in science, from 41 percent to 19 percent; and in social studies, from 28 percent to 9 percent.

The next year, in the fall of 2011, Clintondale flipped completely — every grade, every class. “On average we approximated a 30 percent failure rate,” said Green. “With flipping, it dropped to under 10 percent.” Graduation rates rose dramatically, and are now over 90 percent. College attendance went from 63 percent in 2010 to 80 percent in 2012.

It works in universities too, and the anti-MOOC zealots are alarmed. They fear becoming "glorified teaching assistants."

But education isn't, or shouldn't be, about the professors. The professors aren't the university - they just work there.