Flipping the classroom


Samantha Wendt, Sports Editor

Typically, a high school student’s school day is comprised of lecture upon lecture during school hours, with additional problems and work to do outside of class. However, this year some teachers are doing things differently, among those is AP Calculus teacher Keith Christian.

Instead of listening to Christian in class, students watch videos on SchoolTown outside of class. In class, students are given time to work on practice problems and allowed to ask for help from either classmates or the teacher.

At first, Christian only used the videos as a supplement to his in-class lectures.

“Last spring I had so many students missing due to their various extracurricular activities that I started making the videos so that they would be able to hear to the lectures that they were missing,” Christian said.

However, the popularity of his videos laid the foundation for this innovative new teaching style.

“I had so many students coming back to me that really liked having access to the video and being able to watch it multiple times that I thought this has to be something that we can tap into to,” Christian said.

This new style allows for students to re-watch videos whenever they feel it necessary and an opportunity to seek help right away in class when they do not understand a problem.

“It’s different and new to me but it gives us time to ask questions when we need to during class and we’ll always have on file the lectures if we need to go back and access that,” junior Anna Wagner said.

“Being able to ask for help when working a difficult problem encourages students not to give up, and others’ advice can give them a different way to solve the problem,” Christian said. “By doing the problems in class, they have that immediate support and a lot of times when you’re doing homework at home, especially with something like calculus, then you’re just stuck. But now, if you get stuck, you have immediate support and someone to help walk you through how to do it.”

Productivity during class though varies from student to student.

“I’m probably less productive during class because if I have homework in one of my other classes that I didn’t do, I’ll do that before I work on my calculus homework,” Wagner said.

Others use all the time they are given to insure maximum comprehension of the material.

“My group is pretty productive during the class because we always work on the homework,” junior Shea VanSchuyver said. “I get more done in the homework because if I get stuck I’m able to ask him or my friends for help.”

For students willing to put in the extra time, Christian feels like the new system benefits them most.

“I think it’s working really well especially with the students that are wanting to do well put the time in to go back and listen to the notes more than once,” Christian said.

Conversely, some students feel like they struggle more with learning new information by simply watching a video.

“I don’t really like it because whenever I’m trying to learn something I’m not able to ask questions and a lot of times it’s really hard to understand what he writes down,” VanSchuyver said. “I’m so focused on trying to figure out what he wrote that I don’t really understand what he says.”

While watching the videos, students sometimes fail to understand something, but are unable to ask questions until the next day, after they were supposed to have completed the entire notes packet.

“It would be nice if while you were watching one of the videos you could ask a question in the middle if you didn’t understand something,” Wagner said.

All in all, the new system seems to be working well, as students grades have increased from previous years.

“I went back and looked at last year’s grades compared to this year’s, and they’ve definitely improved,” Christian said. “I don’t know that it’s directly attributed to what we’re doing, but I think it’s that students are doing more of the problems and the more practice you get the better you’re going to do.”