Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 27, 2013

Lew-Port Middle School flipping over technology

Niagara Gazette — Lewiston-Porter Middle School is flipping education on its head.

Before school ended for the summer, Principal Dean Ramirez decided to test out a new theory in education. He pulled aside sixth grade math teacher Amy Golden and asked her to implement a "flipped classroom" approach to try to bring more technology and less problems into the learning space.

Golden immediately took to the opportunity, she said.

"It's very interactive," she said. "Each lesson starts off with real-world problems. It has the students using technology. Education's not just a textbook and a spiral notebook anymore. It's interactive now.

"We started with area of irregular figures. We started with geometry because it's a visual thing. When they're in the comfort of their own home, they can watch it as much as they want until they understand what's being asked of them."

So what is a flipped classroom? Every teacher who's implemented the new education model does it differently, but generally speaking, it revolves around an idea of teaching students at home while classroom time is dedicated to real-world practice.

In Lew-Port, flipped came to mean once a week, Golden would send the students home with a link to a video she and Ramirez recorded. They'd teach a lesson the students could watch as many times as they'd need in order to understand the topic.

With students doing the typical learning inside their homes or on the school bus or after sports, classroom time opened up to practice problems as much as possible. They often raced each other to see who could post the first comment on the videos, distributed through education application My Big Campus.

Using a flipped classroom approach became possible and maybe even warranted after the state instructed its districts to implement the Common Core State Standards this past school year. The new model revolutionized the way both math and English Language Arts are taught and dramatically increased the knowledge students of all ages need to demonstrate in order to earn a passing grade.

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