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Idaho Educators Examine Flipped Classrooms

James Sarmiento

Educators from all over Idaho meet in Boise Tuesday and Wednesday to talk about creating 21st century classrooms. One of the themes of the EduStat conference is flipping education.

Greg Greene is principal of a high school in suburban Detroit. A few years ago he banned lectures in classrooms. Instead teachers assign online videos that students watch on their own. In class teachers work with individuals or small groups. Greene is considered a pioneer in the flipped classroom, homework in class, class work at home. He’ll tell Idaho teachers about it at the state department of Ed’s EduStat conference. Greene says the flipped classroom solves the education dilemma of teachers vs. technology.

“We have been struggling trying to figure out how the teacher and technology survive together," he says. "In a flipped classroom the teacher is helping guide students down that path of success.”

Greene says in this system technology frees teachers to work closely with students. It’s a model that’s growing nationally. Some Idaho schools are experimenting with it, including in Star and Gooding. But one education author and blogger Lisa Nielsen hasn’t flipped for flipped classrooms.

“It sounds like it’s an innovative idea but it’s just talking about doing the same old boring, tired pedagogy in a slightly different way," she says.

Nielsen says technology could transform the education system but flipped classrooms are built around lectures and homework. Those are things she thinks don’t belong in 21st century education. Objections like those on Nielsen’s blog aren’t on the agenda at the statewide conference in Boise, but two of the speakers will be touting the benefits of the flipped model.