This month, tens of millions of children in the UK and the US are streaming back to classrooms for another year of school.
Since it’s 2010, many of these students will see smartboards instead of chalkboards and they’ll turn in their assignments online rather than on paper. But the rhythm of their actual days will be much the same as when their parents and grandparents sat in those same uncomfortable seats back in the 20th century.
During class time, the teacher will stand at the front of the room and hold forth on the day’s topic. Then, as the period ends, he or she will give students a clutch of work to do at home. Lectures in the day, homework at night. It was ever thus and ever shall be.
But one American teacher is taking a different approach – and in the process, he’s offering a lesson in innovation for organisations of every kind.
Karl Fisch is a 20-year veteran of Arapahoe High School, located south of Denver, Colorado. For the past 14 years, the one-time maths teacher has been the school’s technology
co-ordinator. But a round of budget cuts forced him to take on extra duties – and a few weeks ago, he returned to the classroom to teach an algebra course to 9th and 10th graders (14 and 15 year-olds).
However, instead of lecturing about polynomials and exponents during class time – and then giving his young charges 30 problems to work on at home – Fisch has flipped the sequence. He’s recorded his lectures on video and uploaded them to YouTube for his 28 students to watch at home. Then, in class, he works with students as they solve problems and experiment with the concepts.
Lectures at night, “homework” during the day. Call it the Fisch Flip.