Pearce and schools nationwide experiment with flipped curriculum

By Sam Elliott | Staff Writer

In September 2006, a revolution in learning was founded. This revolution was the Khan Academy. Salman Khan founded this new tool for students.

Khan Academy’s slogan is, “A free world-class education for anyone anywhere,” This slogan has driven the equalization of schools with less economic resources and disadvantaged students.

The new website, Khan Academy, attempted to steer away from traditional lecture format of learning and embrace a new format. The technical format of Khan Academy consists of videos of blackboard drawings accompanied by the voice of Salman Khan.

Many schools are adopting this new format to help students and raise academic achievement. The schools have the students watch the Khan Academy videos at home and then practice the knowledge they have learned at school.

If a teacher sees a student is having a problem, he can step in to help the student. On the flip side, if a student finds a subject easy, he can progress at his or her own pace. The individualized structure of the flipped curriculum, learning at home and practicing at school, allows students to achieve more because the students who cannot understand do not drag them down.

One of the schools that has implemented the flipped curriculum through the use of Khan Academy and its videos is the prestigious Stanford University.  Stanford’s medical school adopted the method of learning as homework and practicing at school. A biochemistry course experienced a change in student attendance from 20 percent to 90 percent.

One of the anticipated problems of the use of Khan Academy was decreased classroom attendance. The reason for this was, as students learned more outside the classroom they would begin to skip class because they already knew the information. The opposite occurred because, as the work in classrooms became more individualized, the students became interested in what was occurring in the classroom. Flipped curriculum allowed students to focus on what they found interesting.

Not only are universities across the nation using this revolutionary learning method, but high schools are also beginning to adopt it. One example is Clear Brook High School in Harris County, Texas. The students replace class lectures with 15-minute YouTube videos. In class, they practice what they learn. This change has led to 81 percent of students passing the test, up from 20 percent.

This method also helps schools with fewer resources to raise the achievement of their students. An example of a school with fewer resources and disadvantaged students that has successfully embraced this method is Clintondale High School in Clinton Township, Mich. Since flipping, the school has experienced a drastic change in students’ success. The rate of students failing has decreased from 40 percent to 10 percent.

The success of the classroom is dependent on the number of computers. Since many economically challenged students do not have access to computers, the school needs to issue laptops and iPads.

Pearce, too, has been experimenting with the idea of flipped classrooms. Mr. Achielle Tiam’s PreCal class has adopted this method. His students watch YouTube videos at home, and at school they practice the knowledge they have learned.


Categories: Opinion

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