There is no more important thing the nation can do to successfully transition to the information economy than to properly prepare our youth for the new jobs and new technologies that will shape our future. Sadly, though we spend the second most on education in the world, our kids rank in the lower middle in achievement. This is the result of the refusal of teacher’s unions to reform a worn out model that was created for the last major revolution in world economics (the industrial age) and our politicians lack of vision and spine. However, the wave of the future is immense and it may overpower the leftist sea walls regardless of what they do:
As Americans determine the best way to educate the next generation, tackling issues like school choice and teachers unions, a revolutionary change in how students are taught is underway in certain parts of the country. Simply put– the lecture becomes homework, and “homework” is done in class.
Aaron Sams, who helped pioneer “flipped learning,” explains how it all got started:
“The way I got started doing this is I just started recording my lessons live for my students who were missing class, and posting those online for them as a resource. They get to access it when they want to — and that could be 10 o’clock at night, 6 o’clock in the morning, could be the bus to the soccer game, they have control of that.
“Students would watch those before they came to class, then class time was work time, engaging in some higher order of thinking, so we didn’t have to use our class time for direct instruction…
“If a student is a fast learner, they can go through the material as quickly as they want. The slower learners, the students who struggle, they have control over the rate at which they learn the material. They can pause the teacher, they can rewind the teacher, they can view it multiple times…”
Sams said the result is that his science classroom now looks like a “circus of learning,” with students tackling various projects inside the classroom, having already learned most of the material.
Though the number of “flipped” teachers is hard to ascertain, the online community Flipped Learning Network now has 10,000 members, up from 2,500 a year ago, and training workshops are being held all over the country, said executive director Kari Afstrom.
Under the model, teachers make eight- to 10-minute videos of their lessons using laptops, often simply filming the whiteboard as they make notations and recording their voice as they explain the concept. The videos are uploaded onto a teacher or school website, or even YouTube, where they can be accessed by students on computers or smartphones as homework.
Class time is then devoted to practical applications of the lesson — often more creative exercises designed to engage students and deepen their understanding.
“It’s a huge transformation,” said Kirch, who has been taking this approach for two years. “It’s a student-focused classroom where the responsibility for learning has flipped from me to the students.”
“The first year, I was able to double the number of labs my students were doing,” Sams noted. “That’s every science teacher’s dream.”
This is an incredibly promising development. If conservatives and concerned parents can overcome the obstinacy and corrupt politics of teacher’s unions and Democrat politicians, we might save the future for the next generation:
The fight against the educational establishment shouldn’t be that hard when pro-reform advocates can point to stories like this ever day:
For something completely different, but related, check out this excellent story about the destruction of a leftist myth and the utter refusal of many academics to face the unpleasant truth:
As I said, there may be hope yet.