How the Flipped Classroom was Born

In 2004, we both started teaching at Woodland Park High School in Woodland Park, Colorado.  Jon came from Denver and Aaron from Southern California.  We became the Chemistry department at our school of 950 students.  We developed a friendship and realized that we had very similar philosophies of education.  To make our lives easier we began planning our Chemistry lessons together, and to save time we divided up much of the work.  Aaron would set up one lab and Jon the next.  Aaron would write the first test and Jon the next.


One of the problems we noticed right away about teaching in a relatively rural school is that many of our students missed a lot of school due to sports and activities.  The nearby schools are not nearby.  Students spent an inordinate amount of time on buses traveling to and from events.  Thus, students missed our classes and struggled to stay caught up.

And then one day our world changed.  Aaron was thumbing through a technology magazine and showed Jon an article about some software that would record a PowerPoint slide-show including voice and any annotations, and then it converted the recording into a video file that could be easily distributed online.  As we discussed the potential of such software we realized this might be a way for our students who missed class to not miss out on learning.  So in the spring of 2007, we began to record our live lessons using screen capture software.  We posted our lectures online so our students could access them.  When we did this YouTube was just getting started and the world of online video was just in its infancy.


Flipping the classroom has transformed our teaching practice.  We no longer stand in front of our students and talk at them for thirty to sixty minutes at a time.  This radical change has allowed us to take on a different role with our students.  Both of us taught for many years (a combined thirty-seven years) using this model.  We were both good teachers.  In fact,

Jonathan received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching while being the sage on the stage, and Aaron received the same award under the Flipped model.  Though as we look back, we could never go back to teaching in the traditional manner.

via How the Flipped Classroom Is Radically Transforming Learning – THE DAILY RIFF – Be Smarter. About Education..