Is flipped the way to go?

Sarah Nealon, staff writer

In 2004, Salman Khan started making YouTube videos to teach his cousin math. His videos became a major success and he eventually started the Khan Academy. He posts free video lessons for anyone to watch. Today, there are more than 2,700 videos with topics ranging from Art History to Calculus.

Beginning last year, freshmen at Valley View shared a similar experience. The two math teachers, Mark Carlson and Kimberly Griffiths, would make videos for each lesson. At home, students would watch the videos, ranging from ten to fifteen minutes, and take notes in a note packet. At the beginning of class that day, the teacher would have time for questions from students. During the class time, students could work on the problem set, and ask the teacher questions. This type of class is called a flipped class.

I had this last year for math, and I loved it. It was great to be able to ask the teacher questions about the problem set, instead of struggling through at home and needing to wait until the next day to ask. Sophomore Emma Crosby agreed, “It was nice because we got to do the problems and ask questions about what we didn’t understand. I did a lot better.” Taking flipped classes is also beneficial because it reduces the amount of homework you have. In addition, if you miss class, you don’t have to face the burden of going in early to learn the lesson from the teacher because it is available online. Moreover, if you had trouble with a concept in class, it’s always available online for you to review.

“It was great to have the information so accessible for all students to watch or re-watch when they want in order to ensure comprehension,” said sophomore Paul McClure.

This style of teaching, however, does not appeal to all students. Sophomore Natalie Rauchle explained, “If you didn’t finish the problems in class, you had to do them, and watch the next lesson at home. It was like we weren’t doing anything in class.”

At Edina High School, the closest thing we have to online or flipped classes are blended classes. Nick Kurtz started teaching blended Mass Media this year, and he loves it. More teachers are adding blended classes each year.

Blended classes are courses where students do part classroom work and part online work. “I think my kids like it. They like having freedom and liberty at school,” said Kurtz.

I think we need to add flipped classes and more blended classes. They teach personal responsibility, because students have to do work without teachers harassing them. Most people like the independence they get from these classes, and students are able to work at their own pace.Before graduating, students should experience blended or flipped classes because they teach the independence that is an important quality to have in college and in life.