Monday, May 7, 2012

              Have you heard about Khan Academy?  It has over 2,000 ten-minute video lectures mostly in math and science (a few in art history, American history, and civics).  Khan describes the site and its power in this TED talk video (man, I love those TED talks).  
What I found particularly exciting about his speech was the concept of the “flipped classroom,” in which students can watch the lecture at home and then in class complete what would traditionally be homework practice but with the teacher’s active participation. Watching the short snippet at home, allows students to rewind as needed for understanding.  Students can even post comments and questions below the video.  
Then instead using instructional time for passive lectures, class is spent interacting with teachers and other students in an active environment through labs, discussions, simulations, and other hands-on activities.  The classroom Khan describes has teachers spending half of class time meeting with small groups and individuals who are stuck on a concept, while allowing other to progress forward. Such efficiency prevents students from practicing poor math skills and makes the other half of instructional time available for work with manipulatives, word problems, and projects that connect concepts to reality.    
Me, I’ve flipped for the “Flipped Classroom.”  If only Khan Academy covered grammatical concepts.  (Witness:  mind racing...mind shelving...perhaps I could? Another day).


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