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Turning the classroom upside down

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 3:04pm

Dr. Jennifer TaylorDr. Taylor, a Biology professor at GSSM, is trying out the "flipped classroom" teaching technique this year. We asked her to share a bit of information about what it is, exactly, and how it is working for her and her students.

The basic idea of the flipped classroom is that the students watch a video of my lecture about the textbook material. Class time is spent reviewing important or confusing points from the lecture, working on problems related to the topic, or doing other hands-on enrichment activities.

This method of teaching is gaining popularity around the country. I first heard of it from my mother-in-law, who is an administrator at a school district in Ohio. In December, Mr. Dorsel and I discussed using the method in my AP Biology classes as a way to balance the need to teach a large number of topics in a semester, but wanting the students to have an enriching educational experience. I have assigned three recorded lectures as homework to AP Biology 201, so far. It was very well received by a majority of the students. One benefit for the students is that they can watch the lectures at their own pace and repeat specifically the information that they find challenging.  

One student, Jamal Merritt said, "I really like having Dr. Taylor record our lectures and allowing us to watch it for homework. If she talks too quickly, I can pause it, or rewind it, or whatever I want, and I can literally adjust the lecture to my learning style and pace."
In class we have been able to work on homework problems so that I can give the students individual help. One day, I noticed that several students were having difficulty distinguishing incomplete dominance and codominance, so I asked the students to stop working and we went over those concepts on the board. I cannot get that same type of feedback  during a traditional lecture. I am planning to also use the recorded lectures as part of the second unit of AP Biology 202 to teach cellular organelles. I am really excited for the learning opportunities the recorded lectures present and look forward to using them more in the future.  

Guest Blogger
Dr. Jennifer Taylor

Click here to read about Staci Weeks, GSSM class of 2002, who is teaching in Richland 2 and explored using the "flipped classroom" technique with her students during her maternity leave.


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