‘Flipped classroom’ gets results for one Lamar HS teacher

Sometimes, all you need to get people excited about something familiar is to shake things up a little. That’s why Shelbi Blackmon, now a program specialist in HISD’s IT Instructional Technology, experimented with the “flipped classroom” model earlier this year when she was still a teacher at Lamar High School.

“Most of the lessons I flipped were for my journalism class, because the others (yearbook and newspaper) were pretty much student-run already,” said Blackmon. “Lamar went to a BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) status in January of 2012, and it was part of Dr. McSwain’s vision for the campus, so I wanted to give it a try.”

In the flipped classroom model, teachers deliver instruction through podcasts or other web-based methods outside of regular school hours, and students access the materials on their own schedules, then complete the bulk of their assignments in class. For one lesson, Blackmon created a presentation on how to write a news story and then posted it online using Camtasia and Moodle.

“From what I understood, they really liked it,” she said. “You weren’t taking up 35 minutes of the class to talk at them. They had that time to actually work on their stories.”

One positive, yet unexpected, result was that Blackmon saw an increase in the number of assignments turned in. “You always have three or four kids who don’t want to turn anything in,” she explained. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, I’m working on it, I’m working on it,’ but you never actually get anything. This way, some of the ones who weren’t turning in their work actually started to, so that was great.”

Blackmon and three of her colleagues from HISD gave presentations on their experiences at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education’s conference earlier this year in New Orleans.

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