January 18th, 2012
07:45 AM ET

My View: Flipped classrooms give every student a chance to succeed

Courtesy Troy Stein by Greg Green, Special to CNN

Editor’s note:  Greg Green is the principal at Clintondale High School in Clinton Township, Michigan.

I’m a principal at Clintondale High, a financially challenged school near Detroit. I’m in charge of doing my best to make sure that Clintondale students get the best education possible when they walk through our doors.

There are constant hurdles to making this happen. We are a school of choice, so not all students come in with the same skill levels in reading, math, science or other subjects. Almost 75% of our students receive free or reduced-price lunch because of today’s economic climate, and a large part of our student population commutes from Detroit, which often times takes an hour or longer, especially if the bus is late.

Every year, our failure rates have been through the roof.  The students weren’t paying attention, they weren’t doing their homework, they were being disruptive, or they weren’t coming to school at all. Sadly, these issues are not that uncommon, particularly in this economic climate, where the percentage of students who fall into the poverty category is increasing by the day.

It’s no surprise that these issues are happening in our schools. Everyone from politicians to parents admit that our educational system isn’t working, and we’re all screaming for change.  But no one gives advice on what changes are needed to improve education. The time has come to realize that the problem isn’t simply lack of effort or money, but the misalignment of our school structure.

To watch this happen every day, where it is your responsibility to try to provide the very best you can for the students, is beyond frustrating. It’s heartbreaking.

Our staff agreed that our failure rates were not good. But how do you go about addressing these issues with no money, no additional resources and no clear solution from the experts who already know the system is broken?

How do you get your staff on board with change you want to implement, but no one else has ever tried it on a mass scale? How do you get your students excited about learning when they’ve never shown much interest before?

You flip it. Here’s how it works:

At Clintondale High School, our education model wasn’t working, and the people suffering most were students. We recognized that a change was needed and applied for a grant from TechSmith, a local company that makes screen and lecture recording software. They provided us with some technology licenses and helped us create a flipped class structure, which we first implemented in the ninth grade and eventually put into action for the entire school.

Our flipped school model is quite simple. Teachers record their lectures using screen-capture software (we use Camtasia) and post these lecture videos to a variety of outlets, including our school website, and YouTube. Students watch these videos outside of class on their smartphone, in the school computer lab (which now has extended hours), at home or even in my office if they need to. Now, when students come to class, they’ve already learned about the material and can spend class time working on math problems, writing about the Civil War or working on a science project, with the help of their teacher whenever they need it. This model allows students to seek one-on-one help from their teacher when they have a question, and learn material in an environment that is conducive to their education. To change the learning environment even further, we’ve used Google Groups to enable students to easily communicate outside of class, participate in large discussions related to their schoolwork and learn from each other.

In addition to flipping the classroom, we wanted to give our students the opportunity to learn about each subject or topic from someone who is a recognized expert in each area. So we decided to team with other schools across the country and world. Now, some of our calculus students are able to watch video lectures from a math teacher in a private school in Virginia, and our students learning about the Holocaust can watch videos made by a teacher in Israel who just brought her class to Auschwitz. This type of learning network will enable us to close the gap of inequality that schools are subjected to because of their financial standing, and provide all students, no matter what district they’re from, with information from the best teacher or expert in any field.

At Clintondale High School, we have been using this education model for the past 18 months. During this time, our attendance rate has increased, our discipline rate decreased, and, most importantly, our failure rate - the number of students failing each class - has gone down significantly.  When we first implemented this model in the ninth grade, our student failure rate dropped by 33% in one year.

In English, the failure rate went from 52% to 19%; in math, 44% to 13%; in science, 41% to 19%; and in social studies, 28% to 9%. In September of 2011, the entire school began using the flipped instruction model, and already the impact is significant. During the first semester of the year, the overall failure rate at the school dropped to 10%. We’ve also seen notable improvement on statewide test scores, proving that students’ understanding of the material is better under this model.

Our schools have long been structured so that students attend class to receive information, and then go home to practice and process this information. When many students go home after school, they don’t have the resources necessary to understand, and sometimes don’t complete their homework. Many families are not able to provide the expertise and technology needed to help with their children’s homework, so when we send kids home at the end of each day, we’re putting them into environments that are not capable of supporting their learning needs.

By reversing our instructional procedures so that students do their homework at school, we can appropriately align our learning support and resources for all of our students, and eliminate the inequality that currently plagues our schools. When students do homework at school, they can receive a meal and access to technology (during a declining economy), and an overwhelming amount of support and expertise. When students do their homework at school, we can ensure that they will be able to learn in a supportive environment that’s conducive to their education and well-being.  For the first time in history, we can provide a level playing field for students in all neighborhoods, no matter what their financial situation is.

As we continue to expand and improve the flipped school model, it’s important for educators to come together and work with each other toward a common goal of fixing our education system through teamwork and collaboration, so all students can have access to the best information and materials. Instead of placing blame on each other, we need to recognize the solution, which has been right in front of us the whole time.

It’s time to change education forever.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Greg Green.

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  1. ScubaSig

    I am a teacher in a high poverty school disctrict.

    Homework = work done at home
    Classwork = work done in the classroom

    Why is it amazing that getting students to work actual produces results?

    I teach in a manner or style that is not supposed to work but I see ever higher test scores as I gain more experience. I too have the problem of students failing to work at home but I do not let this deter me from giving assignments that require work be done at home. I spend most days in my classroom discussing material that I present. I do give some time for independent and collaborative learning. However, most of the time I see my students I directly instruct them. I teach history and unlike math or the languages, history is content driven. I have yet to find a video, website or other piece of technology that can instantly put content into a new context or format if the original delivery method was unsuccessful. This is how I get my students to understand and retain the massive amount of content that is assessable on the state wide end of year exams. I have tried posting my lectures but have run into numerous problems. One, if I choose to record an actual lesson as I teach it to my students then the lecture is not new for those students that were in that class and the recording contains all the fun interuptions of a normal classroom, discipline issues, bathroom requests, questions (on and off topic), announcements from the great voice in the cieling ie the office. Second, when I have tried to post lectures given to an empty room then they sound like I am addressing an empty room. There is simply no feeling or emotion or the connection that comes from lecturing to actual students, plus as many others have mentioned when do I have the time for this? When I lecture to actual students, I can immediately stop and address concerns, questions, and misperceptions. Also, my students can interact with each other immediately as they process the content from 21st century eyes and try to make sense of it. I can see a flipped classroom working if I had to teach a skill and then could assist my students in class with mastering a skill, like reading a map but these kinds of things do not consitute the bulk of a history class where as mastering skills is what math and the languages are all about. Once, students have a good mastery of these 2 subjects content driven classes like mine become possible. This is why social studies and science are introduced in elementary school but the real issues of history and the real challenges and discoveries in sience are not tackled until a student has had math and a language for many years. Even then, the content driven subjects are constantly retaught as a student gains great thinking skills and maturity. The Holocaust is any incredibly large and difficult topic to teach any student but can you imagine a 4th grader tackling it with the same skill or understanding as a 12th grader? Would you want your 4th grader exposed to the same primary sources as a 12th grader? What about slavery? However, a 4th grade math student with the correct skills could tackle the same problem as a 12th grade math student and find the correct answer. I would assume that the average 4th grader would be slower at it but it would be possible for them especially using technology. I spent many hours in a classroom to learn not only all the content necessary to teach but also another extremely large number of hours learning how to teach. I understand that most people think they could do it but it is percisely this perception that allows all my collegues who cannot teach to hang still have a job. They blame the students, parents, and society at large because they too believe that anyone can teach. This is quite simply not true, just like all of us over 16 (in the state in which I reside) are able to drive an automobile after passing a brief test on the rules of the road and demonstrating a basic level of competence behind the wheel. Yet, very few people in the entire world possess the ability to drive a racecar and win a NASCAR, Indy, or F1 race. What about riding a bike? This is a skill few forget once mastered yet only an elite handful of people in the world can finish the Tour de France let alone win. Our schools will not improve until we restore accountability for all participants in the education process. School systems must be held accountable for failing to modernize, for failing to hire competent highly qualified teachers, for failing to assist new teachers to insure that new teachers do not fail, for failing to politely show the door to those teachers that simple cannot teach either from a like of ability or a like of desire. Teachers must be held accountable for failing to present the proscribe content and skills, for failing to try multiple ways and times to reach all the students entrusted to them, and for failing to keep pace with the newest research in their content area and teaching in general and then finding from these things ideas and methods that they can individual make successful. Parents must be held accountable for failing to assist their child in learning even if this simply for failing to make their child attempt work at home. Students of all grade levels must be held accountable for failing to master the material of all the courses they take in a given year, we can no longer allow children in K through 8th grade to simply move on year after year never really learning anything. We promote students not because they are learning but because they are growing older. If a child cannot learn to master 2nd grade math then they need the material presented in a new way so that they master 2nd grade math, they do not need 3rd grade math, or 4th math or 8th grade math. If a child cannot read then they do not need my class they need to learn to read then they can come to me for history and I will gladly show them history through rich primary sources and sometimes dry but always informative lectures. Sorry for the typos but it is the end of another 60 hour school week with 20 more hours of work for the weekend still to do.

    January 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • AD

      HOLY COW. You obviously aren't an English teacher or you would realize that breaking up your text into paragraphs results in better communication.

      January 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • coyoteawooo

      But you are actively engaging your students and answering questions. What about the government teacher I had who put on a video most of the time, going back to his desk and expecting us to simply splice the important information out and take notes on it? There was no question answering or extra interaction. He went and surfed the web while we watched a video, then told us that "This is what college will be like. They won't care if you fail" – totally not true, our AP students were more than willing to inform us. Many of them were already taking college classes and were more comfortable asking their college instructors a question than their high school government teacher!! In his class, a flipped program would have been WAY better. We could watch the video at home, then discuss the topic in class and he could have led us to the important information or clarified points that the producers didn't have time to cover.
      Flipped classes aren't being touted as a miracle cure. They are being used as a chance for students to come to class with their questions prepared and possibly even excited to discuss some revelation about the subject matter. I would much rather have time to ask questions over the video in class than spend the whole time watching the video and then wonder about it when I get home.

      January 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Skarabrae

      My solution...
      1. Continue to promote grade level based upon age. This won't go away due to societal demands and cultural issues.
      2. Offer proper courses within that promotion, as generally seen in high school with repeaters and such. Extend this to the middle and elementary schools.
      3. We need a new place to promote to. If a student can not master simple skills, they need to move on to some sort of life skills / trade school.
      4. Limit the amount of schooling a chile receives. If you don't make your diploma after grade 12, thats it. You move on and don't have a diploma. Having 21 year olds in high school is a drain on society. Its time to move on and do what they can. THIS, is your accountability.

      January 22, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  2. Virtual Teacher

    I teach in a virtual program (which is run by a state department of education, not for profit) and this is exactly what we do. I record lectures, give the students all the background info they need, and then am available to help them with the skills when they need it. There are some students I never hear from and they do well. There are some students who I'm conferencing with everyday and it's a celebration when they pass. And of course there's everything in between!

    I'm proud to be part of a progressive program and I hope it keeps its funding.

    January 20, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  3. HoneyFernDotOrg

    I think it is funny to say that no one has suggested how to change education. Suggestions have been made but current "reform" is more of the same.

    Flipping is a good idea in theory, as long as issues of access and parity are addressed. There is no real information on the efficacy of this approach, other than anecdotal, but it is worth it to try something else. Not much is working, and our schools are failing the students.

    January 20, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • Concerned teacher

      Like you said, in theory it sounds good. In practice, there are many factors involved that aren't mentioned in the interview. What if, like you said, the student doesn't have access to technology away from school? What does a teacher do if 85% of the kids don't watch the lecture? What if the demographics of my community are completely different than those of the area that experienced the positive results? What if I teach a subject that doesn't have much online material for lectures? As a teacher, I know that it is already hard to find time to do more (i.e. film a lecture, post it, make sure it's up-to-date each year and/or re-film it, etc.) There obviously is potential for this method to work in the right situation, but what I hate about many of these band-wagon theories presented in the media is that they are generally only proven on a very minute scale, but are presented as the New Great Solution. School boards (who almost always have no teaching experience/knowledge) see it on the news, then mandate it in a district without really knowing anything about it. Then the teachers have to not only do twice the work usually with the same or worse results because the method really was never compatible with their demographic area, but they look bad doing it and end up having to pick up the pieces and patch together what is left of the students, who are the ones who really get the worst of it. Good teachers know better than anyone how to get positive results from the majority of their students, and excellent teachers can even reach the "worst" ones. Please don't make our jobs any harder than they already are by shoving unproven theories down our throats as Fact.

      January 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
      • aflarend

        Nice synopsis of the problem of jumping on a reform bandwagon before it has been thoroughly researched. We hae bee nthrough that before and we are still living with the results

        January 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  4. Decades in...

    I have been teaching for nearly 3 decades. I have read and heard about every edu-fad that's come along. I teach in a relatively wealthy suburb, where you would assume most children have decent familial support – and yet, not all children do.

    We have 10 students on my team this year who are failing or near-failing, and the fundamental reason is that they do nothing outside of school: no homework to practice math skills, no studying for tests, no reading textbooks or articles. We have a period each day called "advisory," which the principal has decreed must be used for building relationships with students – not for doing homework or getting extra help from teachers. We are proposing to take our failing students and group them together to do academic support that period (help with homework, reteaching, etc.).

    When this subject came up yesterday, my principal asked a fellow teacher: "Why don't these kids stay after for extra help on Tuesdays and Thursdays?" (No buses the rest of the week.) The answer is, "We don't really know." But instead of discussing the whys and letting teachers talk about a possible solution (greater outreach, etc.), the principal is simply frustrated with teachers for pointing out the problems, and unwilling to admit that her pet "advisory" period might not be the best use of these kids' time.

    I have made my class student-centered, and rarely assign "meaningful" homework anymore because I know many students will not complete it. Anything creative or challenging, I make sure we do in class. Home is for introductory readings or review sheets. I occasionally assign the study of various web animations or videos as a preteaching tool, because there is such rich content available now online. So... I say this model could indeed work, and only because I, the teacher, know exactly how to implement each class activity to make it reach the developmental stage of each student.

    But no matter what I do in my classroom, I bump up against the ridiculous glass ceiling for teachers: administrators and school committees. Good administration can allow teachers to innovate and collaborate actively, and thus allow schools to jump several levels to exceptional. Poor administrations hold good teachers back out of fear or arrogance. Unfortunately, the latter case seems to be more the rule than the exception these days, as fewer and fewer "educational leaders" have any experience in a classroom.

    January 20, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • Jen

      First of all, in my opinion if a student is failing it is not because of incomplete homework. Second, there is no perfect plan just great ideas that need to be tried and yes some may fail. This is a science that is why were have to learn from mistakes and successes and move forward. Not easy and yes exhausting especially with all the "other" stuff schools deal with on a daily basis. But just pointing out the negative does nothing for change.

      January 20, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • Spinner49

      My daughter is like those kids. She gets support at school, but has such executive function issues that she has real difficulty managing homework. Either she loses the work, or she forgets, or she doesn't understand it. I can't really help her because I'm not familiar with how the material is presented. If I try, and don't do it the way she's used to seeing it, she gets frustrated. Because she's frustrated with her school experience in general, she's much less likely to stay after school for help. Who would? Other than checking with her to see if she's done her homework, there's not a lot I can do as a parent.

      January 20, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  5. je

    I think any effort to improve your student's learning is better than no effort at all. All these people critizing need to kee quite. This school put their students needs before theirs as educators. The figured out what would work for THEM and did it. Apparently, it work and they are getting results. Every school needs to think about themselves and their students and come up with a way to fix THEIR issues. The model that has been used since the 50's is outdated. If America wants to stay a super power then they need to start acting like one and start coming up with solutions instead of just talking about them.

    January 20, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • je

      This model might not work in rural america, but it could at least start the conversation on how it could inspire other schools. What works in Downtown Manhattan might not work in Nebraska. But, figuring out what your specific population needs and at least attempting to make some changes is better than a generation full of kids who can't compete.

      January 20, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • aflarend

      I disagree with the idea that people need to keep quiet. People with expertise in the field of education need to assess this idea from their professional point of view. I have looked at the sites suggested in the comments and almost none of them are from research journals. Right now this is an idea with anecdotal support. This article is more of the same as several people have pointed out in their requests for most specific and technical information.
      What does not need to happen is people running to this as a savior from a supposedly failing system. What does not need to happen is people outside of education telling the professionals in education what to do. If there were an article telling doctors about a new suture technique and teachers were giving their opinion, the teachers would be ridiculed and dismissed because it is not in their field of expertise. This apparently does not apply to education. EVeryone thinks they know what teaching is all about. I did when I switched from an engineering career to teaching. I was wrong and so are most people. Public discussion is needed about big issues such as funding and the stifling testing mandate. Parents get to know your child's teachers, give them insight into your child, visit/help in their class. But remember that they are trained professionals with specialized knowledge that you probably do not possess. You may not understand or agree with things that they do...ask them about it. You may be surprised at how differently they see a classroom. Together within a district, parents and teachers can work together for success, however the district and the parents define that word.

      January 20, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  6. gaRY

    I wish CCPS in Maryland were so progressive. If the old doesn't work, try something new.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  7. everlearn

    Seems like some of those commenting are getting a little stuck. Looks promising but doesn't have to be delivered EXACTLY this way. I can envision lectures delivered as usual, with all the dynamics of that experience, but captured and uploaded to be revisited by both students and their families. No extra work for the instructor. What a benefit to be able to listen again to the piece that did not sink in, or that a student had questions about. What a benefit for families to actually see and understand what was delivered so that they are not at such a loss to help. Teachers, because of the burdens on their time, often cannot communicate to each family what the student is learning and is expected to learn, even when families are dying to be involved let alone when the parents are working 2 jobs or night jobs and connecting is made infinitely more difficult. Any student could benefit. And students with learning challenges and disabilities of myriad sorts would have a means of access previously unavailable to them – and in an inexpensive way – one would have the ability to change the pacing, break info into manageable pieces, re-listen, takes notes or for those who cannot physically take notes, listen again and again. Then also maintain the hands-on work component at school, as described, to play out/flesh out these concepts in real application so they stick, and so that instructors know in real time (not just via a final exam) if concepts are sticking or where the student is lost. Sounds like a bright application of "universal design." Families are burdened greatly by dire economic factors. Fortunately, most everyone has cell phones and it does not take great wads of dollars to employ universal access today. If the wonders of the world can be brought to children in the remotest villages on earth, through only cell phones, of course this can be done well here – delivered creatively without burden or risk to instructors.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Mme Samson

      I agree with most of what you were saying and I think the flipped classroom is an interesting idea. I just wanted to note that in a rural school, things are very different. Most students in my school do not have a cell phone. In fact, many of them live in cell dead zones.High speed Internet access is not even available in some communities we serve and of the students (though few) don't even have computers at home (yes, in this day and age). Public transportation is nonexistant so these students cannot come back to the school after hours (or have no ride to get home if they stay after classes when the school bus leaves.)

      Something like this might work if students were given free ipods to watch the lectures. To adopt it assuming students will have the means to download and watch videos would widen the gap beteween the have and the have nots, instead of narrowing it.

      January 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
      • Jay

        I think this is just another created fad in education. What do you do with the kids that do not watch the lecture before class? Now they have to watch during class and you cannot help them with work or you have to teach them the traditional way anyways. There are currently many available resources online, and kids rarely use them now. What makes anybody think they will watch these videos? Reasearch shows whatever you want it to show. When teaching in school, at least I know which students are listening and learning by involving them in questions and using senteos to measure if they are learning the material. Flip Flipped instruction out the door!

        January 19, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  8. aflarend

    Why do we assume that there are only 2 things occurring in schools: lecturing and homework? Lecturing is one of the poorest methods of teaching and mindless homework does more harm than good. Applying this flipped model can exacerbate both of these problems if it is applied carelessly. It seems the entire point of the model is to make the classrooms more active. This is exactly what theories of learning tell us should happen, so it sounds fantastic. However, merely telling kids to watch prerecorded videos and then doing seatwork in class is not active learning. Teachers who previously followed the model of only lecture and homework will need to fundamentally rethink their classroom…a requirement that research tells us is very difficult and takes lots of time and support. I am a nationally board certified classroom teacher who has taught for almost 20 years and I have developed my practice so that I now rarely lecture. It has taken me many of those years to develop activities that deepen my students’ understandings, challenge their misperceptions and increase their abilities to transfer information to novel situations, all of which rarely happen in a lecture oriented classroom. And I am still learning and improving. Each year brings different kids with different experiences. Good teachers change their classroom activities to meet the current needs of the kids. That is why many teachers report that their weekly lesson plans are inaccurate by Tuesday morning. So a pre recorded lecture cannot just be used year after year if it is going to be effective.
    Reporting results from only 18 months is premature. I applaud any model that increases student mental engagement in the classroom, but caution is needed. There is more to this than just recording videos and having students work problems in class.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • agrocrag

      you sound like an old person who is afraid of computers.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
      • aflarend

        I use computers everyday in my class for data collection and analysis, video analysis, simulations, chats. That's how I don't lecture! My point was that these videos are not necessarily a record it once and you are done sort of thing. Good education is tailored to the student. If the teacher finds that the next group of students brings different things to the table, then the lecture needs to change to meet their needs.

        January 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • streisel

      Bravo! I was a science teacher. I lectured as little as possible and mostly when they were stuck and needed guidance on a problem or lab. Humans learn best when they are doing something they consider meaningful not when they are being lectured to by a teacher. Even the most dazzling teacher gets boring after a while.
      The chalk board was also an invention that revolutionized education as was the universal textbook. We now live in the digital age which has changed our world and schools beyond recognition. Our culture is on the verge of a mental breakdown as we try to adapt to our new world of total immersion in technology.
      The crew of this ship is not the total problem but a ship not built for this environment guided by a crew that is not sure where they are going is. Bottom line...we are in trouble!

      January 20, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Lori Walton

      I agree that what students bring to first instruction is entirely missing from this model. Especially at the high school level, assuming that kids have nothing to contribute to their learning communities except, in essesnce, "homework help" is incredibly insulting to their humanity. That being said, I was impressed with some of the comments that suggested archiving classroom activities for review at a later date. Also, networking with other learning communities around the world is exciting. Ultimately teaching and learning shouldn't be something we do TO students, it is something we do WITH each other. At no time in our history is recognizing that teachers DO NOT hold the knowledge and feed it to students more paramount than now. Any model or programming that is predicated on that paradigm should be suspect on it's face. Equity in educational outcomes requires we partner with students and families to increase opportunity for all.

      January 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  9. Jon Bergmann

    I have been flipping my classes for 6 yrs and am considered by many to be one of the pioneers of the method. I have met Greg Green and know he is doing an outstanding job at his school. There are many things I could say to answer many of the issues raised about the flipped class. Questions such as access for students without technology, questions about lecture being still the center of the classroom, etc. These have all been addressed on a variety of blogs and articles (besides this one) on the web. I would direct you to my website where I have cataloged a large amount of online resources about the flipped class. Go to http://flipped-learning.com and click on learn. There you will find all of your questions answered. The Flipped Class Manifesto is a particularly good article. This was co-written by many of the leaders in the flipped class movement and will help dispel many of the concerns you might have.

    January 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  10. LadyVa

    I guess I have little patience for excuses when it comes to why kids don't do homework/ parents don't care/ dropping out because you weren't interested. Honestly, I grew up as a sped kid with parents who could not help with homework. I struggled all my life with it, even in college. I had good teachers that cared and I made the best of myself at school. The only thing was, my mother said I was going to college and didn't try to make me another "model" of her because her life was difficult. Why is it a constant issue with kids in this society, that if it isn't jumping out and grabbing you, you can just choose to just not do it? What kind of people are we becoming when you can't just sit own in class, listen and have s discussion, then practice out what you learned? Do you think these third world countries that are beting us out educationally, are standing on their heads, trying to get kids to learn? It just screams really loud that we have to bend to the will of kids these days and jump through hoops to give the more and more...and in this country, true poverty, the kind where there is no govt intervention for food, medical, and homes is just not severe enough I guess for kids to strive to get out of that life because third world poverty inspires those kids to learn. I'm not saying I want to see that kind of poverty here, but I'd like these kids and their parents to appreciate what they've got. Quit belly-aching that you can't be on a game system all the time etc. It just comes down to plain old laziness.

    January 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • LadyVa

      Excuse typos, on my phone typing...

      January 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  11. Lena

    This model is exciting! Listening to lectures doesn't need to be a group activity. Now the students have built-in homework time so no wonder they're doing better. They have time for team projects,too. There might even be some peer pressure on students if they don't come prepared. Let's face it – high school students are still kids. Were any of us just dying to do homework in our free time? I'm not thrilled with doing homework in my free time as an adult. And why should parents be in the position where it is all on them to help their kids with homework? I wish my high school had been like this. I might have actually cared about learning and getting good grades.

    January 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • kaitzilla87

      This model doesn't really get rid of homework though....it merely changes its form. The students still have to listen to the lectures for homework, and its safe to assume that many students will have to listen to some lectures several times in order to fully grasp the concept. So instead of doing worksheets, projects, etc at home, the students have to sit and listen to lectures...

      January 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  12. kaitzilla87

    After reading both the article and others' comments, I'm conflicted as to how I feel about "flipped" classrooms. I am a new teacher and feel that, as others have mentioned, this method seems to reduce teachers to homework monitors. However, if it is truly improving students' scores and knowledge, than maybe it is worth looking into. I think there has to be some kind of happy medium between this almost entirely techonology-driven curriculum and the "traditional" textbook/teacher-based one. Students become bored very easily, especially if they are constantly using the textbook or the SmartBoard. I think that after a while, the "coolness" of watching lectures at home would wear off and students would fall back into their old habits. If teachers can find a way to marry the two schools of thought, the curriculum would become more dynamic and engaging for students.

    I do wonder how this system works for ELLs and SPED kids...? Are there separate lectures for these students? What about the students who are not classified as SPED but are below grade level in their basic skills? Most schools have intervention programs to work with these students. Does that still happen at a "flipped" school or are the students all learning the same material at the same time? And what about students who master a concept quickly? Do they get to move on, or do they have to wait with the rest of the class?

    Definitely wish I could visit a "flipped" school and see this in action. Interesting concept...

    January 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Godstar

      That is exactly why you can't say that this type of intervention works or not, is because there are so many control variables and conditions that aren't answered by the articles, it's hard to say it's really effective.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Rachael Parker

      If you can visit one of these locations, I would highly recommend you see the model in action.

      http://flipped-learning.com/?p=245

      January 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  13. tom

    This is an interesting idea, but when do these videos get recorded? After school? When do you grade homework or plan lessons?

    Most teachers work 8 hours at school, then another 2-4 at home grading and lesson planning. When do they have time to record these lectures? Over summer vacation? After working 60-80 hours a week for 10 straight months (with no overtime), they need their summers to relax.

    Again, it seems like a good idea in theory and obviously the implementation has seen dramatic results, but is this viable in the long term? I don't think so.

    January 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  14. Godstar

    Here's ultimately why assuming this model will always work, from the people who's job it is to study this sort of thing.

    http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/background.pdf

    "Studying an intervention in only one school or district creates the possibility that effects measured in that one site are aberrant or exceptional. For example, if only one site in the sample implements a particular intervention, the study would have no means of assessing the extent to which its effects may vary under different conditions of implementation.
    Having multiple sites (classrooms, schools, or districts) implementing an intervention is necessary to assess the variance of the effects and to relate the variance to conditions and practices."

    Mr. Green's approach is anecdotal at best right now as to whether it really works or not.

    Lots of issues, benefits and what not are already covered largely in this DOE report.
    http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/techconf99/confsum.pdf

    January 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  15. Kate

    LadyVa,
    Why can't the Teacher remain a Teacher with this model? Why should we keep things status quo in the classroom if it doesn't work for the student? Learning, success, positive self esteem and greater academic achievement are all products of this model. I'm in.

    January 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • LadyVa

      I see the teacher in this model as an assistant if all the teacher does is guide through class work / homework. Instruction through both direct and indirect, would diminish if my main goal was to guide. How much expertness does it take to assist with a worksheet? Where will teacher creativity go? Why are we trying to take the human element out of teaching and diminish the need for many? The almighty dollar. Also, add HW to the mix...when does active engagement happen?

      The bottom line for me is Homework has a place...At Home.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  16. NikkiT456

    Speaking as a former student of Clintondale Community schools (2001-2005) and a drop out from there as well, I would personally like to thank Mr. Green for trying something new! While I went to school there the drop out and failure rates were terrible. Alot had to do with the environments we all faced when going home. Yes, parental involvement was part of that. With most kids coming home to parents working late and/or several jobs to make ends meet, no one was really there to encourage us. And in an age of growing ,technology most of the families in the district didn't have computers. How do you go home and type a report for English, when you don't have a computer to type it? He's transformed learning into something relevant to the students. What teenager today doesn't want to learn by watching and listening instead of reading and hoping you understand? Kinda like the watch the movie based on the book type deal. I say kudos, Mr Green! Most reading this article don't know he started off as our atheletic director.....maybe sportmanship played a part in bringing the team together. I'm very proud of my Alma Mater.

    January 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  17. Ron

    I find this to be an excellent idea. With more colleges offering online courses, why not apply it at the high school level?

    January 19, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  18. johnkeating

    Good use of technology to record information for later playback, but learn from people with synesthesia and try to involve more of the [physical] senses to improve people's recall and understanding of concepts. Sensory deprivation (over abstraction) makes learning difficult.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  19. RabiaDiluvio

    I have two concerns with this idea.

    (1) This first is personal. The principal of the school my kids attend is about to implement this. It is an extended day school and as things stand they are not getting home until early evening. There is not enough spare time in the evening to sit around and watch a screen. I don't have the ability to freeze time so that my kids can fit in some video watching between eating dinner and going to bed. I barely have time to interact with my children anymore and most of that is done over the table.
    (2) gifted children. What of those children who not only get it but finish work early and are ready to move along at a more accelerated pace? The flipped structure limits this more than the current model because there is an emphasis on making sure everyone is progressing at the same pace. I can only picture smarter kids twiddling their thumbs or reading a book for a half hour during school hours while their classmates get help and plod along. This is time that such kids could use more constructively.

    This, let's be honest, is nothing but cyber-schooling in a different dress. Of course it works. (I have witnessed how well it works because I used to use a cyberschool for my kids and they used to stand head and shoulders above their peers in terms of ability and knowledge.) The only difference, of course, is that there is someone else to correct and help with the practice work and you are not allowed to progress at a more accelerated pace.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • WWRRD

      Public schools have always been about teaching to the lowest common denominator. That is why the system is failing. The kids try less and less, do poorly , and instead of making them do better we water down the curriculum to maintain or improve failure rates.

      Our schools aren't failing our kids. Our parents are failing their kids. That's right parent's , quit expecting teachers and schools to do your work for you. When per capita funding of poor district schools exceeds funding for wealthier districts. Normal in my are because of the remedial programs and free, reduced price meals, and the kids still fail, something is wrong.

      The wealthier parents value education and work.The poorer families are generally more dysfunctional and the parents themselves don't have the education to teach their kids. Nor do they understand that it is their own lack of education, and their lack of work when they were kids that led them to this lot in life. They don't stress education to their kids and it shows.

      Quit blaming schools and teachers. I commend this principle for trying something to create change. I fear however, that the poor kids will still do poorly and the wealthier kids will still do better. Until we accept that parents are having kids and not living up to their responsibility to raise them for success the school system will continue to suffer.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:56 am |
      • NikkiT456

        Poor families are not the only dysfunctional ones. I come from a family with a highly educated mother and a poorly educated father. Even being in the bottom of the financial scale, education was always stressed in our household. You dare assume that because they don't have alot of money, that they're lazy in motivating their children is both laughable and ignorant.

        January 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • WWRRD

        Sorry Nikki,

        Your family is the exception. Go to PTA meetings. Hardly ever see parents of poor performing students. All you see are the parents of the good performing students. There is a correlation.

        January 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
      • RabiaDiluvio

        How does this relate to what I posted? Did you hit "reply" by accident?

        January 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
      • Joe

        WWRRD,
        I know that you are trying to make a point, but you seem to be missing a very large one as well. You have spent some time laying out your case for blaming poor people for being poor and not caring about education. What you are lacking is a solution. This type of rant (the one you have less than eloquently provided here) is an old, tired, and full of cliches and generalizations. Frankly, it is wasteful to focus so much energy on blaming poor people, many of whom are products of a lifetime of poverty, for their lack of support for education. Do you honestly believe that this animosity will help? The problems are real, the gap is getting wider. We will solve nothing by attempting to cast blame on parents. If anything we will succeed in advancing the divide between the haves and the have nots.

        January 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Mj

      Hopefully the school is addressing your concerns – but one of the biggest benefits of this format is that teachers don't need to be the ones who assist the students – the students who get it can help the students who don't. Often times, you will have students who help others in some classes, but need help in other classes, which helps them to see that everyone has different talants. As a parent, hopefully you are fully involved in helping to make this new way of learning work for your students and for you because there are surely many parents with the same issues who won't step up and point out the concerns to those who need to hear them.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
      • RabiaDiluvio

        To the gifted child that is actually not a benefit–it is only a benefit to the teacher. The gifted child would generally prefer to move along to the next topic. Being held back for the sake of teaching his peers does not help him in any way.

        If the school does not address my concerns, I am pulling my kids out next year.

        January 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  20. Hannah

    A poor educational system was devised to keep the GAP wide.....so that the poor and middle class can not hope to compete with the wealthy. If you want to depress yourself (and have school age kids) look at what your kids would be learning at the best private schools in your area...or even the public schools in the wealthiest areas.

    Teachers and schools are failing because they have been set up to fail. AT LEAST THIS PRINCIPAL IS TRYING SOMETHING--SO STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT WHAT HE IS DOING AND START LOOKING AT WHAT YOU WOULD/COULD/ DO.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  21. Curtis

    Dear thinking people,
    We can sit and fire torpedo salvos at the principal over methodology and leaving out critical details about measurement to our warm-officed behinds content, because we're not there.
    If the business where you currently sit was failing, and failing miserably compared to other businesses in your sector, you would be an absolute fool not to try something – ANYTHING- to change the course of events.

    Please shut up, sit down, and let the man do his job.

    Kudos! to you, Mr. Green! Every plan has shortcomings, but (by God) at least you're moving!

    As one of my engineering friends likes to say, "To set something in motion, you have to overcome the moment." Think about it.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • CK

      Well said!

      January 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  22. Math Teacher

    I've been a math teacher for 9 years. After reading all of these posts, I'm going to make a prediction. When the economy turns around and there are jobs available, you will see a flood of teachers leaving the profession.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • LadyVa

      As a teacher, many of my great friends and coworkers talk about leaving the field completely. These people will truly be losses for our kids because they live and breathe teaching...they take it seriously and love it. However, they just keep getting knocked down and told we aren't doing enough plus, they eventually want to connect your students pass rate to your overall rating as a teacher which will be allowed to be published in the local newspaper! Talk about a true Scarlett letter! Let me just say, this country will be hard presses to find any teacher to teach eventually...they will have to out source the jobs to India and China!

      January 19, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  23. cedaly1968

    This is the college model, lecture halls for top-level overview of materials, recitations for one-to-one learning.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Ponypony87

      And many people have failed or dropped out of college- so why follow this model even earlier?

      January 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  24. LadyVa

    So, we are getting one step closer to making the teacher nothing more than an aide? I know eventually, many will want to make every middle/high school distance learning classes to save money...it is coming. Teachers are not categorized as experts because respect in this society is nonexistent. That is why we have politicians and business associates that try to know better than one who actually works in the field. Everyone is an expert on education because everyone was once in school.
    My biggest concern is, how are you guaranteeing these kids are watching lectures? You can't get them to do homework and that is often due to lack of parental involvement and less to do with misunderstanding....and now they are college students that can just sit passively and get everything out of it they need to? What about your special education students? English as a second language students? This is a very generalized view in this article and I really don't buy it completely.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Godstar

      They're relegating teaching to nothing more than in school proxy parents who ensure their children do their homework. Also they're doubling the workload of teachers since not only do they have to record the lectures for the days lessons, they then have to act as parent and monitor their children to make sure they're doing what is normally a parents job – their homework.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:21 am |
      • Cthulhucalling

        It's not double the work, it's actually lessening the workload. The same lecture can be delivered to multiple classes. The time spent in the classroom is for actual assignments where teachers can provide more individualized and specific instruction to each student as he has questions. Maybe if parents were more engaged in their children's educations, schools wouldn't have to resort to such measures to insure that the kids are being taught.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:28 am |
      • LadyVa

        I agree, one more duty for the teacher that should not be happening! As you said, this asks even more of the teacher than it previously did. I wonder how teachers are evaluated in this model or if this is all just by scores.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:29 am |
      • Godstar

        So then what is the function of the other teachers then if only one of say 10 is actually lecturing/teaching? Who decides which teacher gets to produce the lecture video? How do you gauge performance of teachers if only one of them is able to lecture? What happens when you have a bad lecturer providing the video's? So the entire student population suffers instead of one class?

        I don't think they way they have it set up that one teacher should be doing all the lecturing, that's a terrible idea. Especially since people don't always provide the same level of personal knowledge and references. Essentially what you're implying is that a school district doesn't even need to employ teachers, they can just purchase video's from some 3rd party that has no connection with the school and the necessary lesson plan. All they'd have to do is hire a bunch of homework monitors to go around patrolling their students to ensure they're doing homework. That isn't really teaching.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:42 am |
      • LadyVa

        Bingo! You will only need aides! The corporations will move in, provide videos and it will be like watching those training videos you have to for safety in companies. Saving money, unemploying teachers and diminishing quality I education.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  25. Ponypony87

    As a student who has had professors use the "inverted classroom" (aka flipped classroom) we all HATED those lectures and did not get much out of them. It was much harder to try to grasp and work with the information, than it was in a traditional lecture setting.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Curtis

      I appreciate the anecdotal evidence, but actual measurement of the outcomes in this school demonstrate success. Whether the students dislike the format or not, their measureable results are statistically significant. Are the standards ideal? No, but those are the standards of success that the school system and Department of Education have decided to rely upon.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:41 am |
      • Godstar

        Ironic, because his results are also anecdotal. You can't say for sure what he is doing is actually the sole cause of the results he's experiencing, and you're basing all your assumptions on the information he's provided you for his article. If you really want to know if the model works, you go to one of the major education research company's that the DOE sponsors and see if they've studied it. That is after all why they are there.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:49 am |
      • Ponypony87

        The class I had mentioned was actually a graduate school course ( 8 credit biomedical sciences class), and the students scored lower on the exam in which the inverted/flipped classroom method was used vs. traditional lecture. In a traditional lecture setting, you are processing the information with the professor there, and can correct any misunderstandings of the material as they occur, rather than learning or understanding something incorrectly and then having to re-learn it.

        January 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  26. GRS62

    Sounds like a plea to Ellen Degeneres for help. She's been helping out a lot of financially strapped schools and his preamble sounds like the typical "woe is me" pitch. How much you wanna bet he'll be on her show within a couple weeks?

    January 19, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • JamesBenson

      How sad and jaded we've become. You see someone working to change the education system for the better, actually achieving the desired results, and assume it must be a ploy for fame/easy money.

      Hopefully I'm not feeding the troll. Then again, perhaps it's preferable to you actually thinking this way... Sigh.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  27. DeeNYC

    The biggest problem with our education system is the Board of ED and the teachers union. When the Board of Ed president was asked why he thinks the kids are learning anything when the test scores are so miserable compared to charter schools he responded, I know by looking in their eyes.
    dismantle the board of ed, and ALL unions.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • DeeNYC

      the board of ed pres was interviewed on 60 minutes btw.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • LadyVa

      LOL The only thing you didn't say but was truly in your post was to get rid of public education and privatize it. Amazing.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:20 am |
      • Godstar

        Corporate America is just itching to get into the classrooms so they can start grooming their next generation of consumers earlier than they already do.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:23 am |
      • Cthulhucalling

        Godstar, the traditional education system was designed by the corporations to provide just enough education to students so they could be trained to be factory workers once they were of working age. They're already in the classroom, they've been there for years.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:25 am |
      • Godstar

        Corporate America doesn't design lesson plans, nor do they test methodology. The type of presence I'm talking about is in advertising and brand placement strategies where you'd see advertising at every grade level in order to sell products to students once they get to an age they can earn an income. At least in it's current state, a public education keeps that outside the classroom and away from students.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:30 am |
      • LadyVa

        More so, they want to make you pay for it. The right side wants public Ed out of the budget and by cutting and cutting, it makes it harder for teachers and students to meet the ever increasing demands that are set high enough to be out of reach so eventually, they can make the case that we need corporate America to run our schools for profit only and if you can't afford it, too bad.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  28. Mek

    you are crazy if they think the students are actually watching the lectures outside of school. the only reason this "works" is because it forces the kids to do some actual work which requires critical thinking at school. ask any college student, listening to lectures in class requires no actual thinking if the students don't care..

    also " Students watch these videos outside of class on their smartphone" there's a bigger problem if a sizable number of students at a school with 75% poverty have smartphones in the first place

    January 19, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Cthulhucalling

      Who said that a sizable number of these students have smartphones?

      January 19, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • cedaly1968

      Is it possible that they actually have statistics to prove that kids are watching the videos? It would be VERY easy to track IP addresses for students and to know who has and has not watched a video.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:19 am |
      • Cthulhucalling

        You can't correlate an IP address with a student. What if I'm a student and I visit grandma in Chicago, what IP address am I going to have? All these dreaded smartphones that poor people have, what addresses do they have, and what happens if they're roaming? What if brother and sister are using the same internet connection?

        You can, however, correlate a userid/password with a student.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Mommie Zombie

      This is a great idea ... students are learning with no more money being put into the system.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  29. MKinSoCal

    Oops, typo. Obviously I meant to write "proveN record"

    January 19, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  30. MKinSoCal

    I think one of the most interesting aspects of this article, and one which I have not seen mentioned yet in the comments, is how modern technology has changed how, where and when we process information. With wireless technology, smartphones, tablets and the internet, kids of today are processing information much differently than those of us who grew up reading the daily paper and setting our vcr to record a program at a certain time. This program recognizes that reality and uses it to benefit the children. I am always in favor of educators who seek to fit the educational process to the children rather than try to force everyone through a traditional "one size fits all model". The former seems to be successful in this case and the latter has a prover record of failing many children. I think our focus here should be on the children's education, not on the system.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  31. tevii

    interesting. But the reason we have a crappy educational system is because we no longer enforce anything. Children have no discipline because they have no consequences. They, or their parents can and do sue for anything, so school systems cant do anything to enforce anything. Parents cant discipline their kids because they too can get sued or something stupid. We drug up our children on garbage like Ritalin and make them numb in the name of A.D.D. which, sure it may exist, but it has become a go-to excuse. And at the end of the day because of all this we allow our children to train us and make us adapt to them rather than the other way around.THIS is a perfect example how we are catering to the children. Children need strong guidance not us kissing their butt. Good economics wouldn't change any of this. Its the way of thinking that needs to change. People have been educated with poverty forever. Thats an excuse.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  32. Dan Brooks

    Good article

    January 19, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  33. andrew

    Something tells me though, that these higher grades they are seeing may be a little misconstrued. Help from a teacher is wonderful and I am glad this gives students more dedicated time to homework and the ability to ask questions when needed, but are the grades reflective of the actual information retained, or is it just from higher homework grades resulting from the hand-holding of teachers and the assurance they are getting correct answers every day.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Zach

      This is nothing short of brilliant. Some of it may be placebo effect or kids just feeling like they're getting more attention/special, but you know what? Who cares. It works.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:00 am |
      • andrew

        What do you mean by placebo effect? I am all for students receiving more attention, and it's great that they are doing actual work in the classroom, but there are some issues to look at. For one, if I am in high school, and if I am not already taking the time to do anything outside of the classroom, how is giving me a smartphone going to change that? If anything, it is going to be more of a distraction than a learning tool. Secondly, if I know that I will just be doing homework during class, and that is where my grades are coming from, and there is a teacher guarenteed to help me, why am I going to do any work to prepare for that? This teacher is going to spend a lot of time hand holding kids through their homework, while trying to teach them concepts they should've learned by watching videos but didn't. Where I am also saying the danger lies is in the area of grading and how these kids receive grades. I assume homework is a large portion of the grading percentile in a classroom, and if the students are receiving grades from homework done in class, while being helped from the teacher and other kids possibly, then how is that an accurate reflection on how much they actually know and have been retaining, opposed to leaching off other people to get the grade. Let's say homework is 50% of the overall grade. If a student averages a 90 on the homework, then they would only have to score an average of a 50 on the tests to receive a C in the class. I just think this leaves a lot of room for false grades leading to upped passing rates, not because of better learning and teaching, but because of an easy way to get better grades.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • JP

      Note that standardized test scores rose as well. They may not be the best measure in all cases, but they are independent of the school, indicating that the overall knowledge has increased.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:24 am |
      • andrew

        Yes that is certainly a valid indicator that something is working, but I didn't see a specific number, so that leads me to believe that it wasn't all that high of an increase. I am not sure what kind of number would be accepted as great/good/mediocre, but in general that fact seemed more of a footnote than a main proving point that the method was working. You can see the hard numbers of the decrease in failing rates in each subject, and that to me seems like this man's main concern – how can we make kid's pass? I would like to see the actual increase that they saw in standardized testing.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  34. jamesnyc

    This sounds like a great idea. My parents did not get involved in whether I was doing my homework at all. I had self motivation for some things but for others like math where there was no motivation and no encouragement or even help from my family, I paid a heavy price on that count. At least though, my parents had two different sets of encyclopedias which were kind of our analog "wikipedia" or google. Keep in mind that these sets of books were not cheap but they gave us a starting place for research. I excelled in music because I had encouragement and I understood that practice made things "perfect". If only one person had told me that homework was "practice", I would have done so much better...

    This model makes a lot of sense. Some parents who are not college educated, maybe not even high school, have the capacity to love their children and want a better life for them but themselves can't even begin to comprehend calculus or sciences (or even the language). They can however provide them with a leg up by getting their children access to "electronic encyclopedias" (the internet).

    To the people trashing kids for having "smart phones" or "computers". The price of computers is far less than you think. Hopefully the parent is wise enough to know which is the better choice.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  35. all42

    Really.... How does this motivate a student to attend school?

    January 19, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • midwstrngrl

      did you read???

      January 19, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  36. Darren

    I grew up near Clintondale. It has never been a 'top notch' school district and I applaud Principal Green for trying something new. There are a LOT of people that complain about our schools, but very few offer any suggestions to make it better.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  37. Greg

    Sounds great! I have to wonder how long it will be until there is one video for each subject, to be used by every student across the country. Then each "study hall" can have a trained, minimum-wage monitor to answer students questions. This way we can get rid of over payed, union teachers and schools will be little profit centers for investors.
    Hey! It might not happen. But I'm just saying...

    January 19, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • jamesnyc

      What is a trained "minimum" waged person who knows 5,000 years of history (U.S. and World), government, art, math, politics, science, in-organic and organic chemistry, computer science, physics, child and developmental psychology, anthropology, physical education, business education, finance, music, multiple foreign languages? Who knows to be sensitive to the hundreds of nationalities and religions in this country alone?
      The so called monitor would have to know everything and be flexible enough to teach anyone, in any language. Hmm how much would this person being making and how soon would it be before this person burned out? The market rate for this person in a supply/demand world would be far more than what teachers are being paid now. How long would it take to train this person in multiple disciplines with multiple masters degrees and multiple fields?
      You oversimplify because you have reduced it to only a few common demoninators: Money and anti-Unionism. It isn't about making your "investors" happy the investors are the parents the investiments are their children's futures.
      If teachers were treated with more respect and fairness with a good paying wage – that they earned, they wouldn't need unions. Instead they continue to have to justify themselves to "people of ignorance".

      January 19, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • LadyVa

      I agree, just downgrade to a teacher's aide and pay them 13,000 a year...that is what it is coming to.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  38. T

    Congratulations on having the courage to think differently about solutions. I'm not sure the early results necessarily indicate this approach will succeed in the long run, as sometimes just new focus and attention can lead to a temporary improvement, but I applaud the efforts of administrators, teachers, parents, and really anyone who makes time to teach a child.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  39. ccam

    I applaud the approach. I would point out as others have that the Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/)
    has been promoting this for years.

    One of the critical concepts of this approach is that students must be proficient in their comprehension of a topic before they move on to the next task. In order to master a subject it is necessary that students have a clear understanding of the conepts that they build upon.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  40. MattH

    There's a pretty simple solution for kids who don't have smart phones or much computer access at home...take some of the textbook budget and use it to keep copies of DVDs that can be borrowed from the school library. That's what universities do for distance education. This is much better than current methods. Information is easy to access, they need a teacher to help them USE the skills they are learning.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  41. B

    You people are disgusting. The important point here has NOTHING to do with the parents, their social-economic condition, or their smart phones.

    THIS INNOVATIVE PROGRAM IS LOWERING THE DROP OUT RATE. PERIOD. Get that through your absent minded brains.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Y

      Dearest B, Try to dig deep and see the postive in this article. The principal saw a problem and him and his staff found a solution to help the children. Any and all positive things to help our children is a good thing. Try to remove your ego from your comments and focus on being a team player. Feel free to move to Detroit and offer your help to that principal. Great Job Principal Green!!!!!

      January 19, 2012 at 10:58 am |
      • Cthulhucalling

        To paraphrase Detriot's native sons, "Freaking reading comprehension, how does it work?"

        January 19, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  42. Keith

    Makes me sad to see all of the negative responses here. I applaud the efforts being made by Principal Green and others like him (another poster mentioned the very excellent Khan academy - google it, it's worth the effort). If someone can find a way to reach our most-vulnerable and at-risk kids, and to do it on time and under budget, how dare ANYONE have something negative to say about the efforts? All things considered, this report and the outlined method have to be considered a huge success. Did you read the stats that Principle Green provided?! Naysayers should introduce, enact and show results of a better plan if they want their trolling comments to be taken seriously. Otherwise, as far as I'm concerned, they're just espousing ignorance as if it was wisdom. Ignorance may be bliss, but that doesn't make it worthwhile as commentary.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  43. Jason

    2 Questions:

    1) Slacker kids who don't do HW will not listen to entire lectures outside of school

    2) So the failure rate has dropped....the article doesn't mention if there has been any change to the grading metric. This article is too simplistic.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Becky

      FTA: "We’ve also seen notable improvement on statewide test scores, proving that students’ understanding of the material is better under this model."

      January 19, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • George

      LOL! Jason, if the article is too simplistic for your sensibilities, use the numerous facts and other links in the article and research the topic. Unless, of course, you are a slacker who just wants to find fault?

      January 19, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Mike

      Those aren't questions. I think we just found one of the slacker kids...

      January 19, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Matt

      Neither of those statements were questions by the way. But, yes, I agree with both statements. I also think that if 75% of the kids are from poverty stricken families, they won't have internet or smartphones at home. Forget being slackers – they literally will be excluded from the lectures if they have after school jobs and can't stay after to utilize computer labs.

      Also, schools across the country are being pressured to change grading processes to avoid failures. So, you were right to question the grading metrics. The data presented is not reliable. If they referenced the end-of-year state test scores, then that would have been more impactful and reliable. I know this becuase I teach in one of the highest performing counties in the US, and if we are being asked to change grading policies to avoid D's and F's, then others must be too.

      Lunch is almost over. Back to teaching.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:01 am |
      • Michael

        A point of contention, the principal stated that they have made facilities (including his own office) available for students to view lectures who might not have those opportunities at home. Also, I can easily see why students would go to school more and not less under this kind of structure. Communication while in class would be encouraged not discouraged since everyone would and will be working on understanding material, asking questions, doing projects, etc.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:15 am |
      • Matt

        Point taken. I was just a little skeptical, because he only referenced statistics for grades and then made mention of notable changes in statewide scores. I hope he has a big office. Also, when I see a teacher tout classroom achievement due to these types of changes and not administration or central office representatives doing the touting, I take it more as truth and not PR.

        There are a lot of great things going on in education today and technology absolutely changes when and where we can access and exchange information. More importantly though, the greatest things going on in education are occurring with or without technology. They happen in the human mind.

        Hopefully education will be allowed (key choice of diction) to move past showing knowledge through MC tests. I'm sure no one, including myself, is expected to demonstrate anything in the private sector through MC tests on a regular basis. Demonstration of skills through project-based and collaborative assignments seems the most relative when the goal is creating educated thinkers for the workforce.

        January 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  44. mk

    This is a great idea in theory, but if you can't get your students to do regular homework, how do you get them to watch a lecture? What happens if they go to class without watching the lecture first?

    January 19, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • pc

      They learn from their peers... and isn't this how college works anyways? Read the material at home and discuss it in dissertation?

      January 19, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  45. st ep henpe

    It works because the children and faculty have bought into it. The kids probably believe
    the adults care and now are willing to give it a real shot. I applaud educators that are
    willing to try something different like this. For all the haters, turn down the radio,
    Those idiots have no clue. Spend some time in the schools and you will meet some heroes.
    Teachers and kids.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  46. Godstar

    One of the statistics with it is it's not a tested teaching model. You have many variables to account for and to make the assumption that because 1.) we give kids smartphones and 2.) we provide them with classwork open to consumption at any time that means that a.) we get improved results b.) kids are learning at improved rates c.) effects a. and b. are related to actions 1. and 2.

    He's making an assumption that this model works under a certain set of untested conditions that may or may not be improving student performance. Maybe all the teachers underwent professional development and improved themselves and that's why they're doing better? It's hard to say how his model performs until you test it in a variety of school systems with a difference student population.

    The other problem is that I see with this methodology is a dependence on these technologies in order to get an education. A $300 smart phone doesn't replace reading a text book, and books are much cheaper to provide for. Plus it's incentivizes children away from active reading, and more towards watching and listening, which is passive. Essentially, you're making it easier for them to be lazy.

    If you go to any major educational research organization, they've probably already tested this model with impact studies and can tell you if it really works or not.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Cthulhucalling

      This is *NOT* about having smartphones. One can go to the school's computer lab, the library, or *EVEN THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE*. Or even get with a friend who has a computer and view assignments together. Why does everyone stop reading after they see the word "smartphone"?

      January 19, 2012 at 10:39 am |
      • Godstar

        It really doesn't matter how they are viewing the material, it's still a dependance on technology. So do they have enough computers for every student to use whenever they want to study their lessons? Or do they have to sit in a line to get to them? Assuming that because someone has been given technology and therefore because of that is learning more is a terrible assumption. I only mentioned smart phones because that's specifically what he said he was using as part of his model. This type of learning methodology may work for some types of students, but it doesn't mean it's effective for all students.

        Reading a book requires nothing but your eyes, and have one and only one purpose, providing information. Same can't be said for electronic devices, and they're much more expensive. You could by hundreds of books just off the yearly licensing fee's required to run Windows alone. MS doesn't hand that out to school districts for free, in fact, that's one of the ways they profit from them.

        January 19, 2012 at 10:50 am |
      • Cthulhucalling

        There are alternatives to Windows that cost nothing, run better on older hardware, and are more secure. Obviously, you're a victim of the old, tired public education model. Technology is around us and used every day. It's a part of everyone's lives, even the poor. The more familiar kids are with technology, the better off they will be as they cannot escape it.

        Oh wait, I'm sure your counter-argument will be "Operating system that costs nothing?! S-s-s-s-s-socialism!"

        January 19, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • InkedAlice

      @Godstar (your first comment) – I don't think this incentivizes passivity over active reading; the problem is that children don't ever *get* to the active reading. It's not a this vs that situation. Children watch and listen in class (passively) and then are sent home to do work that they oftentimes cannot complete, due to any range of issues - not understanding the material, poor note taking, family/work obligations, chaos in the home, etc., etc. If anything, this method teaches them how to read actively, how to collaborate with their classmates and problem solve in a way that sitting solo at their kitchen table does not.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • lauriea776

      Books are cheaper, but if the students aren't reading them, they're useless. They can watch the videos outside of class and do reading in the classroom, where there are probably less interruptions than at home. I grew up in a small house with a family of six loud people and reading at home was a challenge, to say the least. Watching a video at home and being able to read at school would have been fabulous.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:54 am |
      • Godstar

        Books are useless if you don't read them yes. So are smart phones if they don't watch the lectures, and they start using them for nothing but gaming and texting their friends. A device cannot solve the problems of a broken educational system, bad parenting, and other economic and social issues that lower the performance of students. A device cannot fix that.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • KF

      ///He's making an assumption that this model works under a certain set of untested conditions that may or may not be
      ///improving student performance. Maybe all the teachers underwent professional development and improved
      ///themselves and that's why they're doing better? It's hard to say how his model performs until you test it in a variety of
      ///school systems with a difference student population.

      Hes testing it in a real environment... showing results from before and after. Just because it works in a lab doesn't mean it has real world applications, and just because it works in real life doesn't mean it'll work in a lab. People don't tend to work that way...

      ///The other problem is that I see with this methodology is a dependence on these technologies in order to get an
      ///education. A $300 smart phone doesn't replace reading a text book, and books are much cheaper to provide for. Plus
      ///it's incentivizes children away from active reading, and more towards watching and listening, which is passive.
      ///Essentially, you're making it easier for them to be lazy.

      This statement is wrong on multiple levels... first off a $300 device that can display potentially thousands of books, videos, and other multimedia files is clearly MUCH cheaper than buying 10+ books for every student for each class. Those books probably cost $100 or more each. Secondly, it is not less work or more work reading a book versus watching a lecture. Both require analytical thinking in order to fully understand the material. Scientests have known for years that people learn in different ways (visual, audio, tactile), but that combining them produces a better understanding of the material. Multimedia presentations better combine the learning methods than reading a book does. While reading a book to learn has been thoroughly tested over the last few hundred years there have been little to no improvements of the overall effectiveness of the current educational system. To say that reading a book is better than multimedia presentations simply because that is the way that you learned it in school is ignorance of the worst kind. It is the kind of ignorance that has been stagnating and slowly diminishing our public school system.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:58 am |
      • Godstar

        KF, I wasn't saying that you can't provide a mutli-media approach to teaching. However, they seem to be making the statement that simply providing classroom teaching videos will improve performance without factoring other things like book, home instruction, tutors, and other benefits a student might have that improves their performance.

        I only pointed out books as necessary as they seem to be absent from his out of class teaching methodology.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:13 am |
      • Godstar

        Also, just because he's noticed performance results doesn't mean others will. He has anecdotal evidence at best. Until it's shown that it works under test conditions in a variety of school districts with different levels of student ability, there is no way of saying if his program works or not.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:15 am |
      • Lisa Ross

        Look at the Top of the page... (see the VIDEO...see the students with their BOOKS)... this school has NOT got rid of books. My son has an e-reader that he has checked out from his school's library (every senior gets one; its experimental this year). The e-readers do not have text books on them yet, but this year they have all their English required reading on them. I agree that a reading device is cheaper than getting 10 text books, but remember you still have to pay for the books to put them on the device in the first place. Who knows if a text book will last longer than an e-reader will. Plus Books do have new editions all the time, so they will always need to be repurchased either in electronic form or hard book form. Reading is not leaving school anytime soon.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:30 am |
      • Godstar

        Linda, maybe I wasn't specific enough. Yes, they're reading in class, that's the part where they sit and monitor the instruction. I was talking outside of the classroom. There are no books or reading present there, they're watching instructional videos. There's no more guarantee that they'll watch the video's, especially if they aren't inclined to read books outside of class. Also since there is no pairing of watching the videos and reading the instruction in the book, it's hard to say whether they are actually learning.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  47. Joot

    Be careful, man, the NEA doesn't like anyone thinking out side of the box. They despise it when such ideas are implemented and absolutley HATE it when those new ideas work.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  48. Rishi

    What a fantastic idea! This is 21st century learning. Information is free and readily available. What students need to learn is the skill and discipline to take in new information and practice its application.

    I love the fact that this article came out the day after the SOPA protest. Its the new reality of the world. Information is out there, successful people will absorb it and apply it.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  49. caution

    "already the impact is significant" – dangerous words. The kids are part of doing something different. The novelty alone may be what is driving higher attendance and more attentiveness, not any particular merits of the technique. I'm not saying the technique is flawed (To be honest, I believe hands on instruction is far better than lecture), but just cautioning against reading too far into the early results.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Archibald

      Agreed. I hope this is wildly successful but the idea that you can draw any kind of solid conclusions from this data is simply flawed.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Charlie

      18 months is 3 semesters in a traditional sense – long enough for the "novelty" to have worn off. For most students, the novelty of any learning environment would wear off within a month or two, and the "daily grind" will set in. It's easy to be excited about a class in the first month; the challenge is to keep students 1) engaged and 2) at the same speed as their peers for an entire semester. Those two elements can play off each other. This method seems like a GREAT way to do so.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  50. cma

    I'm a little tired of seeing all these comments that "the kids shouldn't have smartphones if they can't afford lunch" and "the parents should be helping these kids with their homework." That may be true, but that isn't the reality we live in. This principal should be applauded for trying (successfully) to help students succeed and graduate. Kids are not going to stop using their smartphones, so let's use technology to help them learn. Great idea.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  51. GeorgeBos95

    "The time has come to realize that the problem isn’t simply lack of effort or money, but the misalignment of our school structure."... Finally, a school administrator willing to admit that throwing money at the problem doesn't create solutions.

    "At Clintondale High School, our education model wasn’t working, and the people suffering most were students."
    OMG – OF COURSE THE STUDENTS ARE SUFFERING. Do you think we, as parents, care a lick about teacher's "suffering" if the schools are performing badly?

    While I appreciate the work this school system is doing, and the progress they're making ... what we have here is basically a confession that teachers and administrators are looking to others to tell them how to do their damn jobs.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Cthulhucalling

      You want teachers to do their jobs, and do it well, don't want to give them the resources necessary to do it, and then blame them when your kids spend all their time playing Xbox and drinking the beer they stole from your refrigerator. That's a winning combination there, no wonder we're lagging so far behind the rest of the world.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • jason price

      "what we have here is basically a confession that teachers and administrators are looking to others to tell them how to do their damn jobs"

      I think what we have here is a confession that maybe the standard model doesn't work for every school. These teachers and admin should be commended for caring enough and taking the initiative to make a change. It's paying off as well. Seems like a win for the students and a win for the teachers/admin. How you could read this article and find something negative is beyond me. Lighten up dude.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Archibald

      Basically we've made it impossible for teachers to do their "damn jobs" and now you want to blame them for it....got it.

      Are there some teachers out there that should have retired 10 years ago, or who should never have become teachers in the first place? Absolutely. But the bigger problem is that it's an extremely difficult job, with low pay and low respect, that fewer and fewer qualified people want to do, and that is especially true in poorer areas. Parents and communities have basically turned schools into glorified daycares because they don't care enough about their own kids to teach them anything (including respect and how to act in general) and expect the teachers to do it for them. Then you also get the gems who think their perfect angels should never get anything less than an A and have never done anything wrong in their life and will fight you tooth and nail over everything.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  52. Nate

    If this is working, why are people getting so fired up? Taxpayers foot the bill either way, might as well use the model that produces results.

    "In English, the failure rate went from 52% to 19%; in math, 44% to 13%; in science, 41% to 19%; and in social studies, 28% to 9%. In September of 2011, the entire school began using the flipped instruction model, and already the impact is significant. During the first semester of the year, the overall failure rate at the school dropped to 10%. We’ve also seen notable improvement on statewide test scores, proving that students’ understanding of the material is better under this model."

    January 19, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Cthulhucalling

      They're getting bent out of shape because the phrase "free meal" was used near the word "smartphone". It then stops being an article about innovation and changing the education model. It's now a bunch of naysayers screaming about how poor people having smartphones when they should be feeding their kids. They never reach the end of the article where it shows the test scores are improving, because they're still hung up with this fallacy that all poor people are starving their kids just so they have phones.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  53. stowns

    http://www.khanacademy.org/ has been doing this for quite some time now...and its free. Don't take my word for it though... let Bill Gates and the creator of the program tell you about it themselves http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM95HHI4gLk

    January 19, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  54. Cthulhucalling

    Everyone seems hung up on the "watch on their smartphone" statement, and it's a poor counter argument. Actually, it's a very bad strawman. You're assuming that everyone who goes to school has a smartphone, even if they're poor. If this is true, please provide evidence to support your assertion.

    Second, in the article, the principal said, "Students watch these videos outside of class on their smartphone, in the school computer lab (which now has extended hours), at home or even in my office if they need to". He's donating his own office space so the students can learn.

    Instead of crying about "poor people have smartphones and getting free meals", how about encouraging projects like that, that appear to be getting actual RESULTS. How about donating an old computer or smartphone so these students can receive innovative instruction and help move this country along.

    Whining has never accomplished anything.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Barbara

      Well said. I have a M.Ed. and chose not to get certified to teach at the k-12 level because I couldn't see a way to be successful in the current educational structure. Instead, I have a regular job and volunteer evenings and weekends as a tutor in my city's school district working with at risk students.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:42 am |
      • Brad

        @Barbara – does your back hurt from all the pats you are giving yourself? I have a M.ED too but i chose to use it instead of just brag about it.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:02 am |
      • Ellen

        I earned a degree in Elementary Education, and decided after all, that the classroom was not for me. I have tutored and helped many children outside of the traditional classroom, and good for you for using your abilities to help. Oddly enough, after earning a Master's degree, I do teach part-time at the university, and that environment provided what I was looking for. I do lecture, assign required reading, and have classroom discussion. Computers are for homework assignments, research, etc. but I can't imagine that anyone wants to watch a recorded version of my lectures, however fascinating I may manage to be. There are many ways to engage students in learning, and it is important to me to keep in mind that I have auditory/visual/other types of learners in my classroom. I encourage the use of audio textbooks for anyone who can benefit from this, but time spent with the subject material, just the student and the "textbook" in whatever format, this is a substantive beginning point for what we do in the classroom, and it needs to happen first, before the lecture, for the most benefit to be gained in the classroom. Small group discussion, big group discussion, group study, group projects, individual writing – lots of chance to learn, each student in their own way.

        For our child's high school, rather than everyone sitting around talking about how some students are not progressing, those below a certain GPA are required to attend an hour-long study hall before school begins, teachers are available in their classrooms after school, while they do grading and prep, and questions are encouraged. Someone starts to slip, they get a hand to help them along. We all learn best in different ways, and although anything that helps students is always worth a try, this article describes something that seems to be helpful to some and harmful to others, particularly those with the ability to advance more quickly. It seems that idea of the after/before-school session to help struggling students has turned into the entire school day. Also the principal seems to think he has reinvented the wheel or something, but if the scores show the students are progressing and learning, that's a good thing.

        January 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  55. Harley

    Mr Green, congratulations on taking an approach outside the box. We need many more like you to turn around this country's education system.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  56. Lisa Ross

    I think the argument that technology is not available at home is not a valid one to promote the "Flip school idea". For the Flip school to work, the children must have a way to watch lectures at home (internet, smartphone..this IS technology), if you say kids can stay after school to use the school's technology in oder to watch lectures, use calculators/whatever, well, then you are really just extending the school day, which would benefit any school, in theory.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Godstar

      Supposedly that's what local cable access channels and what not are for. Maybe local cable service providers should be providing school lectures via their service.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:25 am |
      • Lisa Ross

        That is a good idea using public television, but can you imagine airing 9th -12th grade and all the classes they have, let alone any classes the community colleges air? I'm sure it is possible, if you have TiVo or some recording device to watch your show. I took an online class, in college and was scheduled to watch my show at midnight, which I recorded to watch later. I also could check out videos from the library to watch at home. It can work. But technology is still involved...DVD player, cable...a Television, or computer. Though everyone I know has use of these today, the cable bill is the first I cut when times get tough (which in my case includes all TV stations and internet).

        January 19, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Jay

      I'll bet $1 that almost every poor person has access to a DVD player.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:10 am |
      • Lisa Ross

        Will the schools pay for the DVDs, so the students can watch them at home? How much would that cost I wonder... per student...per classroom...per day... DVDs aren't re-usable in the sense that VHS were, are they?

        January 19, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  57. rizzo

    Having the students learn on their own time and at their own pace is definitely a better solution than classroom lecturing, which tends to be totally boring and pointless. I hope it continues to work for you!

    January 19, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  58. Jim

    When I was in college one of my textbooks for a math course came with a Dvd lecture for each section. I found this to be a great help when I was struggling because I was able to re-wind and watch again as many times as needed. I used these videos in conjunction with reading the text. The class lectures then became more meaningful for me.

    I do have a question though. If the school has a largely impoverished population, how are the parents able to afford smart phones? I did see that the computer lab is open for extended hours, but not all students could be using the lab in such a short time could they?

    January 19, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  59. Monbois

    I'm so sorry to learn your approach is working! Once the über-snobs at the top of the public education chain learn about it they're definitely going to kill it! They don't want any idea working that THEY can't take the credit for!

    January 19, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  60. john

    Did I just read kids can't pay for their lunch, but can watch their teachers lectures on their smart phones?????
    What are they teaching them. How to beat the system! ! ! !

    January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Lee

      You do understand that a lot of phones now have both the andriod operating system and internet capability for about $20 dollars a month right? Boost, T-mobile I've seen people on well fair who can afford $20 dollars a month. If you look at the AVG food bill for a family of four then you will understand how a family on food stamps can still afford $20 dollars a month for a phone but not groceries.

      I think its better to understand the fact they are trying to teach students that would have failed, dropped out of school, and then turned to a life of crime as a good thing. Since these people wont have to rob you when your traveling though these low income neighborhoods.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  61. DaveMKE

    Why lecture at all? I think the most important lesson to learn from this experiment is not that the lecture and homework can be reversed, but that the students are learning more (and responding, based on the pass/fail and attendance numbers) from the hands-on classroom time.

    Do we really think that all the students are going home and watching these lectures on their iPhones? Plus, think about the time dedication that puts on the student for all the lectures. If a normal class period was a 50-minute lecture with a 20-minute homework assignment, multiply that times 5 or 6 classes. For the sake of discussion, let's assume 5 classes that use the model: math, science, English, history, foreign language (the other class slots would be phys ed, vocational, arts, study hall, etc.). That's 4 hours of lecture and 1.5 hours of homework per day (FAR too much for both, but I don't think it's an unrealistic number in today's high schools). So by the flip model, I'm assuming that the classwork period is extended to the 50 minutes, while the lecture is shortened. If the lectures were below 20 minutes, say 15 on average, I could see this working, because a student could get most of his or her lectures in a study hall period.

    But again, I highly doubt these students are all carefully following the lecture. I think the real worthwhile part of this experiment is the fact that the 50-minute class period is now a 50-minute hands-on learning time.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  62. JollyGreenBud

    Funny how parents reward their little brats with smart phones and ipads. If they were better disciplined and not rewarded because of their failure, they would pay better attention. It's simple, pass class, get rewarded. Really it's new age electronics that are making our children less intelligent. Notice how poor grammar has gotten since all children do now days is text each other and stare at their phones like zombies.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Steve

      said the poster with grammar mistakes.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:40 am |
      • JollyGreenBud

        You obviously can't complete a sentence or use proper punctuation. Did you even think before you typed that? You're a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

        January 19, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  63. Eric T. Wagner

    Nicely done Greg. This is an awesome idea. Thanks for stepping out and doing something different. You're right, the public school system is broken, but with guys like you thinking differently, and then taking action on it, things can start to change. Again, nice job... 🙂

    January 19, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  64. MattyB511

    The structure is not terribly innovative (it's really just the structure of many graduate school programs) but it is incredibly innovative to have brought this to secondary education. Well done, sir. I am happy to see a bold attempt at bettering education.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  65. julian

    As a new teacher (going on 2 years now), I love this idea. I actually have some teacher friends that do something similar to this and it works amazingly well. Their students are succeeding. I spent over a decade in the business world before I became a teacher, and I can honestly say that teaching is much harder than my old job. These new methods of teaching and disseminating information are great and should be spread around the country in order to help make students more successful.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • PugPower

      It's encouraging to hear that you support this as a "new teacher". My fear is that the "old gaurd" teachers will not support this, and with the help of their powerful unions, they will crush it...and teachers like you will leave teaching out of frustration, and our kids will suffer.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  66. bryan

    Bad Parenting:
    Now the teachers have to do what the parent's are not doing which is sitting down in with their kids at night and helping them understand what they are learning. I am proud to be a Gen X-er. As parents, we are just phoning it in aren't we?
    I have 2 kids. It is our job to step up to the plate and ensure our kids are given the tools to succeed. Get to it.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Mommie Zombie

      yes

      January 19, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • PugPower

      You're absolutely right. There are little to no expectations put on parents and the role/impact they have in the learning process. However, at some point you have to break the cycle. It's harsh, but you may have to just focus on the kids and write off their parents.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  67. Joshua

    Does anyone else have a problem with students (75 %) on free or reduced lunch but they "watch these videos outside of class on their smartphone"? Seems to be a bit of priorities that aren't where they should be. Breakfast, lunch and dinner...maybe there is an app for that...???

    January 19, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • keeth

      It's really time to stop thinking that just because people are poor, that means they have to live like cavemen. Yes, people have different priorities and sometimes they buy a $100 smartphone over $100 of nutritious food. That's life in our great consumer culture, which tells parents and kids that a smartphone IS more important than nutritious food. It's not a problem with just poorer people, it's a problem with our culture as a whole.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Lyn

      Does anyone else have a problem with you picking out the negative in a very positive story? It is what it is and education is the answer. Somewhere down the line these students will figure out that food, clothing and an education are more important than smart phones but not without help. And those smart phones are helping the process. Kudos to this principal for figuring out how to work with what he has.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Nancy

      Joshua,

      I guess you missed the part about the extended computer lab hours and the principal opening up his office to allow the students to watch on his computer. Have you also considered that maybe some of the students get together to watch at the home of one who has a computer at home? Or the local public library and other places where free computer use is available? I don't know about YOUR town, but mine has a program where the local grocery store even has a free computer center for public use.

      As for the other detractors, I guess the dramatic decrease in failure rates and the improvement in test scores just don't matter–even though the school managed it WITHOUT an increase in taxes. You know the old adage, "if it ain't broke don't fix it?" Well, it works the other way around, too. If doing the same thing over and over isn't working, do something different! They did and it worked!

      January 19, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Mike In NJ

      I agree with Kieth. Joshua, would you have 'the poor' all live 'comfortably' with respect to food, and get a subpar education, so when they grow upm, they continue to barely susbsist, while not geting ahead? Or is it better to give them food while educating everyone equally, thus 'all ships rising with the rising tide' as the aphorism goes?

      Don't we feed and provide for our own children so they can focus on 'more important things', like learning and growing up? Doesn't it make sense to use the same model for those less fortunate, who don't happen to be in our own household, in a time of economic hardship??

      January 19, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Dan

      Joshua,

      You prove a valid point. Having worked in an education environment very similar to the one described in the article it's a joke. We provided scientific calcualtors to all of these underserved, underprivileged, free-reduced lunch students, and you know how many of those calculators that were "given" to thse students ended up in pawn shops? A large majority of them. These kids come to school with gold plated teeth, air force ones, apple-bottom jeans, mp3 players, nicer cell phones than I own, and they are given free items all day long. While the hell would you wanna work if everything is going to be given to you and catered? Kudos to these individuals that are able to try and string together this for the good of the students, but I was fed up with dealing with it.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  68. Elisabeth

    I used to work at an impoverished high school in inner-city Philadelphia. I really like this idea, but I do see a serious flaw in this approach: It assumes the students have access to a computer with an Internet connection or a smartphone. At the school where I worked, the vast majority of our students simply didn't have these luxuries.

    I know it says in the article that the computer lab hours were extended, but so many of our students had after-school jobs that this just wouldn't be possible for many of them. I'm also wondering what happens if they don't watch the lessons for that evening. What do they end up doing in class?

    Despite my concerns, I think this is a strong step in the right direction and I'm curious to see where it goes.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  69. Blackbeered

    He's an idiot.

    The problem is that the bag eggs are polluting the good eggs. Purge the bad eggs. And those who are capable of and want to learn, learn. The rest we'll send off to war.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • pai

      Send the bad eggs to war and then what?

      January 19, 2012 at 10:13 am |
      • Dan

        Hand the bad eggs guns and teach them to kill efficiently? Is this the idea. How about investing more in helping them be prepared for careers, and spending less on war?

        January 19, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Lyn

      No. You are a m-o-r-o-n. Look it up.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Teacher

      Amen to the first part but war? Let train each one individually so that they can be productive citizens.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Dan

      As someone who spent a decade working with refugees from Sudan and teaching in schools specifically designed to be the last hope for an education after multiple expulsions, I think the authors idea is great. As our jails are full of former special needs students, we need to look for solutions that offer content outside of class and more help within the classroom.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:38 am |
      • Dan

        *author's

        January 19, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Mike In NJ

      That's an interesting viewpoint.

      I'd like to hear what you say when the principal of the school comes around to your house to tell you your kid is one of the 'bad eggs' and that he'she is going to be 'purged'.

      Shoe, meet the OTHER foot.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  70. Victorea Luminary

    Brilliant out of the box thinking! Congratulations.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  71. Adam

    "Sadly, these issues are not that uncommon, particularly in this economic climate, where the percentage of students who fall into the poverty category is increasing by the day."

    "Students watch these videos outside of class on their smartphone"

    Hmmm. Something doesn't seem quite right.......

    January 19, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  72. Christie

    This is fantastic! It is more like a college or home school structure. You describe much of what we do as home educators, except we get together in living rooms, others' homes and co ops across the country. Congratulations!

    January 19, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  73. Wayne

    Academics in higher education, principally in physics but increasingly elsewhere, are learning that college-age students also don't respond well to lecture-driven instruction. Most learning occurs in small group discussion and task-oriented exercises.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • MIT Mom

      You are correct and MIT is beginning to implement this as well. Some of the world's smartest minds are MIT and are citing the same principles. It will be interesting to see the results at the high school level.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  74. crk

    1) Do students actually need some level of mastery of the video lecture to complete the homework in class.
    2) If so, what happens in class when a student has not watched the video lecture.
    3) In essence you are saying that students are more likely to watch and study a video lecture than they are to read a book, is that correct?

    January 19, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • XL120315

      You sound like you have a better idea, so let's hear it.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:02 am |
      • crk

        I would want to know more about the logistics of the currriculum Many have argued persuasively for the movement away from a knowledge based curriculum to a skis-based or activities based curriculum (Roger Schank)

        My experience would suggest that a significant percentage of students would not watch a video lecture unless it had a high level of multi-media and high end productive values. They would find a mediated lecture just as borning as many find reading a book. If they were able to participate in the classroom activities successfully, whether they watched the video or not, there wold be even less incentive. I would wonder how directly assessment is tied to any mastery of the video lecture. Student who do not want to lsiten to lecture in class all of a suddent want to listen to lecture on youTube or their smart phones? Where do they students come from? Mars?

        January 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  75. Jennifer

    This article is very interesting. I have 2 children in the East Lansing Public Schools and they are both doing exceptionally well. However, I see many students who need extra help and even my daughter, in 5th grade, needs more help understanding some concepts that cannot be taught in school during school hours. We have encouraged our daughter to see the teacher before school and she has done this a couple of times. She gets individualized attention, the teacher knows she is serious about learning, and my daughter understands the concepts. However, the majority of learning the information happens at home. My husband spends, on average, 1 hour with my daughter a night in math. I spend about 2 hours a week on English/reading comp/spelling. Before a test, my daughter and husband spend approximately 4 hours studying the material. Children from low income homes where parents sometimes have to work at night do NOT get this individualized attention. My husband and I are both college graduates and sometimes, my husband struggles to teach my daughter high concepts in math. When my husband starts having problems teaching the material, I think God we have the money to hire a tutor from the state university across our street. Education should not just be for the economically advantaged. We are letting an entire class of children slip under the radar screen. Then what?

    January 19, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • catmomof13

      Jennifer, I want to commend you and your husband for being great parents! You have no idea of how many parent's have absolutely no concept of how to be a good parent. I live in a fairly affluent area, yet most parents don't spend anywhere near the time with their children as you do. Yes, in some cases, economics dictate how much you can do, but even then, you have to make some sacrifices for your children. It may seem hard, even impossible to find the time, but somehow, some way, a good parent does it. I see way too many who are quite well off, two parent homes, with all the trappings of affluence, yet they spend almost zero time interact with their children. They are too busy with social events, the gym or shopping to pay any attention to their children. That is what they hire nannies for. It's so sad! Many of these children have everything money can buy....yet they are falling prey to gangs, drugs and violence. Parenting is the hardest job on this earth, and not all are up to it, and as our society is finding out, our children, regardless of economic status, are at risk when parents fail to grasp this.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  76. Chris

    Simply another liberal finding ways to blame failing students on them not having enough technology or money.

    Maybe the teens in your school are failing because they are not putting effort into learning?

    Maybe they receive free lunch because the federal government uses that as a barometer for handing out aid and pretty much everyone qualifies.

    The school has the students for 6 – 8 hours a day. if you can't teach them in that amount of time you are doing a bad job of it. The last thing any student needs is to spend even more time outside of school on school work.

    2 hours a night of homework is 90 minutes too much.

    How about you fire incompetent teachers, cut the pay in half for administrators, and throw out those that don't want to be there.

    I am tired of my tax money being used to pay ridiculous salaries and benefits for part time workers in order to babysit malcontents who have no desire to learn.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Jennifer

      Chris, have you been in an elementary school lately? Have you watched what is going on? Or, are you just opening your big mouth and spewing hot air? I think it is the latter. Go to an elementary school. Watch the teachers and students interact. Whatch the teachers try to reach the children from lower economic status households. It is impossible. I am a SAHM and my husband works 50 hours a week or more. We spend approximately 4 to 5 hours a week on homework. Before math tests, my husband works with my daughter for 2-3 hours after school. I spend 2-3 hours a week on spelling, reading, reading comprehension and language arts with my daughter. I also have a son in early elementary school. How do parents do this when they work 2 jobs just to feed their families? Soon, in the next 3 years, we will have to hire a math tutor for our daughter because neither my husband nor I know how to teach higher math. We both graduated college. We have money to pay a tutor, many don't. What is missing here? Your comments are ridiculous. Just another loud-mouthed and ignorant fool speaking when he should remain silent.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:56 am |
      • Chris

        Here is my experience – I am in elementary schools often, volunteer in elementary schools often, work with children aged 6 through high school in an outside setting, spend 2-3 hours a night assisting with homework.

        I am well aware of what goes on in schools as well as with teachers and administrators.

        The fault with the schools is in 3 areas –

        Parents who do not place a priority on their childs education.

        Overpaid and under worked teachers/administrators. Unable to fire incompetent or ineffective teachers.

        Schools spending too much time on matters that have little to do with education. Does 6th grade really need to spend 3 hours a week discussing bullying? Does a school really have the role of suspending 5th graders for getting into a fight, at home, playing in the neighborhood?

        No. Schools need to focus on education. Need to get out of playing parent. Need to fire incompetent teachers and have them work 12 months a year. Parents need to be responsible and make school a priority.

        January 19, 2012 at 10:23 am |
      • Mike In NJ

        Chris, I don't understand your denial of the importance of anti-bullying programs. The shocking amount of violence in our schools might not seem important to you, but to the mother of a slain 16-year old, it might look a bit different.

        When someone else's parent doesn't 'parent', and that puts MY child at risk, I don't want people to ignore behavior that is actually a gateway to extreme violence. In that situation, as much as I love math and science, it doesn't do them a bit of good. Talk to someone about the number of guns out there, and let the teachers find the right way to get to the students.

        January 19, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Jay

      Unlike China, and some other countries, the public school system in the US is required to educate all children. Are there incompetent teachers? Yes, just like there are incompetent plumbers, doctors, politicians, etc. Are there kids who hate school not matter the teacher? Yes! Visit your local schools, find out how your tax money is being spent, run for your local school board, or provide your ideas to those elected. But please provide ideas rather than political talking points. It's all just hot air otherwise.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:57 am |
      • GPC

        Jay,

        In many countries, schools are required to educate all students and many of them do a really good job of it. That is includes the poor and immigrants. Making excuses for our failures doesn't help students.

        January 19, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Karl

      @ Chris,
      Come back to reality. For one, these teachers are not part-time. They are going above and beyond to help these children. Two, they are not over-paid. If anyone in the private sector were forced to work with anyone who was failing at their job, they would fire them. These teachers do not fire students. They stick with them.
      And lastly.... Evendently you either do not teach, or have not really dealt with other peoples children on a daily basis. So you really don't have room to critize their efforts.
      I think it is awesome that a principal is taking these bold steps... outside the box... to find ways to improve our childrens education.
      I wish them all the best of luck.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Ginger

      Ignorance and selfishness at its best. What a horrifying point of view about children - we as a society must find ways to lift youth up and set them up for success; not swat them down at the earliest chance.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Ben

      Do you know what is great about you? You know nothing about education (except what experienced as a child) but think politicizing an important issue with racist undertones is the way to solve a major problem.
      Kudos to you.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • rizzo

      Not sure you know what you're talking about here, guy. You should probably learn about education before you start spewing conservative(read: WRONG) talking points. Thanks!

      January 19, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Big Black Man

      @Chris, you are exactly what is wrong with this country. You find supporting education to be a tax liability versus a necessity to produce educated youth who will someday be in control of your future. This is not another liberal finding a way to blame someone else as you claim, instead its a principal taking a step back to come up with a game plan to address a serious issue in his school, which by the way is working. He deserves applause not your foolish criticism.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:19 am |
      • Chris

        No, this guy lost me when he mentioned how many of his students receive free or reduced lunch. I live in an upper income school district – know what – 40% of these upper income children receive free and reduced lunch – there would be more but many families refuse to apply despite the school system pushing it. Families with near 6 figure income are receiving reduced lunch.

        What do we do when the poor little child does not have a computer to watch the video on? Oh yeah, then the taxpayers can buy one. Then the teachers will need better recording equipment, the taxpayers can buy it. Tell you what – let the taxpayer pay for a desk, a room and the heat. Let mommy and daddy foot the bill for everything else directly. if that were the case this initiative would die quickly.

        January 19, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • yeahalright

      Does it hurt to walk around all day as stupid and dense as you are?

      January 19, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • catmomof13

      WOW! You sound very young, and I'll guess you do not have children or interact with too many of them. Life has some real eye opening experiences in store for you! Have you even been inside of a school since you graduated? Do you actually know any teachers? The views you are parroting are very stereotypical of someone who hasn't seen things first hand. It's not as black and white as you make it out to be.
      While some teachers are incompetent, (find me any profession where this is not so, if you need proof, just look to Washington)most are dedicated and, compared to private industry, underpaid. The problem with our schools is its top heavy structure. Too many chiefs ( over paid superendentants ,way too many of them) and not enough Indians,
      ( teachers and aides.) Here is where reform is needed. Our money should be spent on what impacts our children directly, not sits in a cloistered office all day. If there was more attention and support paid to the students like this school is now trying to do, more students would thrive. We need to set better priorities before we lose a whole generation of children. Yes, parents have to do much more and can't dump responsibility solely on the schools, they need to support each other and work together, but our schools need well thought out reform, not knee jerk rhetoric.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Big Black Man

      Chris, you’re comparing apples and oranges. You said it yourself; you live in an upper income school district. Even with 40% of the kids receiving reduced/free lunch I bet the school still has what it needs to educate the kids (i.e staff, tools, technologies etc). Regardless, reduced/free lunch is not the point of the article, it was only mentioned to give you background about the environment. This piece is about a Principal who took the initiative to think outside of the box. Instead of whining and complaining about not having enough money, he did something about it and the results speak loud and clear. Again he deserves applause not your criticism. Being the son of a teacher and hearing her complain I can wholeheartedly agree that more parents need to take responsibility for their children’s education but as always people tend to form opinions based on the few versus the majority. As for taxpayers having to pay for technology expenses for schools, yes there will come a time when we have to, not because its frivolous spending but it’s a now a digital world in case you haven’t noticed. We have to prepare our kids even if means paying a little more in taxes.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  77. goodarticle

    this is a great idea. i remember when i was in school and i could not quite remember something the teacher said. it would have been a great reference for me. and heck as a parent sometimes i have to go back and read the entire textbook chapter to get up to speed on how i can help with a problem. this would be great. i could just watch the lecture.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  78. Kathy

    As a retired English teacher, I find this an interesting approach to the problem of getting students to do their homework (or practice for the big game). Too often students miss class or part of class for a variety of reasons, therefore missing the lecture or explanation of the problem of the day. Sometimes, a student will listen, think he understands, get home and realize he really needs to hear it again. I love the idea that the lecture becomes the homework. And it can be listened to as many times as a student needs to understand. The work is then done where the student can get immediate answers to his questions or instant feedback to know he is on the right track.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • catmomof13

      And, you know what...it doesn't cost all that much more, if any more. Its brilliant!
      Students are much more likely to pay closer attention to a video. It's our culture, Facebook, U-tube, even internet news. You can watch them as many times as you need to, and when it's convenient for you. When the time is the student's choice, they are more likely to pay attention. Then, instead of spending time being frustrated with homework, or being bored to death doing it, they can get help in class. The teacher will reinforce what they have seen at home, not the other way around. If they need help understanding something, the teacher is there to help. Parents may not understand some of the work themselves, and might not be able to give any real help, but the teacher can. It makes the most efficient use of money and resources. Why has it taken so long for someone to think of this? It's really just good use of resources and common sense.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  79. Rivkeleh

    Giving children control and accountability for their learning is a brilliant life lesson. I have my child in a private Montessori program purely so that at least in his initial years, he develops the skills of knowing what he needs to do, making a plan, and taking responsibility for his work and his learning. He develops an interest, and works with his teacher to determine what books he can read and resources he can use to research further. Hearing my second grader say "I need to go to the library because I'm researching tree-frogs" or ask to go online to look up photographs of different kinds of frogs, because that's what is relevant to their area of concentration at school is great - and having the teachers available to SUPPORT and ENCOURAGE their learning, but having the children be accountable is glorious. Wish we were near this school!

    January 19, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • yeahalright

      Congrats, you can afford montessori school. Most can't. Might want to be a little sensitive to that before you go spouting off about how great it is.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:23 am |
      • GPC

        This person doesn't seem to be spouting off. They are talking about a method that at least works for them under the assumption that maybe this would be a good approach for other schools to consider. Also, there are public Montessori schools. How do you know this person is paying for one?

        January 19, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  80. Art

    As a retired teacher who usually advocates what had worked in the past, namely the methods that were used when I was in school, I must say that having students get the lesson at home or wherever and then using school time for homework or review does intrigue me. I think it should be tried on an experimental basis. The only catch is that the students must be trusted to watch the video lessons when not in school.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  81. wes

    Perhaps the problem is parent involvement. Parents are too busy, or unable, to help students with homework. Thus, it is up to the teacher to now fulfill the role of parent as well.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • MIT Mom

      ...and perhaps people are trying to get food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. In a perfect world, a parent can stay home throughout the grade school years, but this is not always realisitic. I was very lucky to be able to do that for many years and yes, my kids' got a better education through reinforcement at home. But I also think you need to lighten up on the lectures yourself and acknowledge that more often than not, it is the economy and not selfish motives to acquire wealth, that is driving the stay at home parents out of the house and into the workforce. Of course this is going to impact our children's education. Until the world's and our nation's economies are more stable, and jobs more secure, people will take what work hours they can in order to first feed, clothe and shelter their kids. If it's a matter of Mom's spa day or Dad's day at the golf course, then yes, it would be wiser to spend more time with the kids and teaching them responsibility, educational enrichment and the things that shouldn't have to be relegated to the schools.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Godstar

      Of course the parents don't have time, many of them both have to work in order to maintain a middle class lifestyle.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  82. Jeff

    If what you are doing doesn't work, do something different. The Clintonville strategy addresses that axiom directly. While it may not be a panacea for our educational programs, it is a relief to so them trying something different. As with any new strategy, it may need to be tuned and adjusted over time. I generously applaud them for their imagination and courage.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  83. John Deatherage

    This not about homework. Rather it's about each student learning at their own pace. And targeting the teachers efforts where they are most needed.

    We need to consider this with an open mind!

    January 19, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  84. Tom

    I'm going to differ on Den's opinion, as this seem like a (hopefully) worthwhile change in teaching young students. Instead of lecturing in the classroom, and sending the students home to do homework, students instead are entrusted (or encouraged) to listen/view the lectures online during time they have available, and do the homework and projects in the school, where a teacher or another faculty member is available to assist. The time used at home to watch the videos are not taking time away from home/family as it's time being used to listen to lectures in place of studying.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  85. John Deatherage

    for Educators who've just read this article, consider the Kahn Academy / http://www.khanacademy.org/

    Students learn at their own pace by watching videos on Kahn Academy (on youtube.com) and use their instructors to help them understand what the video(s) could not. Students learn at their own pace. Good students are not bored waiting for others to catch up. Slow learners are not left behind. This is a much more efficient, effective use of the teachers time.

    Such an approach might be the breakthrough we need in education.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • MoCoach

      Kahn is alright, but too many times things move too fast or students become confused because the "narrator" is stammering around or running around in circles with the discussion.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  86. Jenny

    Of course it's not perfect, but I am utterly inspired and awed by this approach, and by the guts it takes to put it in place. I worked for years in juvenile detention, and I think this is a hugely important model for any educational setting.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  87. den

    Providing students the support and time they need to practice and question certainly is a benefit to any student but basing the initial gaining of knowledge on lecture (whether they be on video or in class) is one of the worst pedagogical approaches a teacher can take. Like many have already pointed out, I can't imagine my own children taking one, two, or three hours of their precious home / family time watching videos every night. Whether it is lecture viewing or other school work, there is a mountain of research that points out that excessive homework is NOT productive. I admire the effort of the school and am a believer in educational reform but am not sold on the approach.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • LynnMeyers

      Do your children do their homework every night, or do you just let them get away with not doing it so it doesn't take away from their precious home/family time? Also, I'm pretty sure your children are already going to be watching some sort of videos every night, unless you are Amish, so why not have them be education? This article in no way implies that the teachers will have a new video every night, can you imagine how much work that would be for them to make a new video every night? I'm going to assume they focus on one topic a week, or maybe every few days they switch to a new one to give all of the students some time to watch the videos, but to assume that in a low-income neighborhood the school is requiring it's students to watch 1-3 hours of videos a night on the internet, when I'm sure many of them do not have a computer in their home, would be ridiculous.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Binny

      My daughter already is doing 3 hours of homework every night- and so are the other students. If she watched lectures at home, i could watch too- and help her. That's not something I can do now when all she brings home is the homework assignment. I've trained a lot of people in various jobs. Letting them absorb the material first and THEN bringing them into the classroom to discuss and use is far more effective than rehashing (or reading) what's in the book and saying goodbye. This may be a good approach to courses that are labor- intensive such as math and science.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:30 am |
      • Godstar

        That's what effective note taking is supposed to accomplish. If they take quality notes, then they shouldn't have a problem telling you what needs to be done.

        January 19, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Kevin

      Homeschooling is always an option....
      Even more precious home/family time.....

      January 19, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  88. TOD

    Just wondering does anyone know, how does this impact deaf students who can't hear the lectures. Are the lectures captioned? What about blind students that can't see the visual aids/notes? Are they adequately described? How does this school handle these students?

    January 19, 2012 at 8:05 am |
  89. rashataur

    As a former teacher in a 100% free/reduced district, I like this idea. The top issue in my classroom was that routinely 75-85% of my students wouldn't even look over their notes or homeworks prior to a quiz. They just didn't care, nor did they have the structure at home to have the discipline to study 2-3 hours a night.

    I think for those students in high-needs districts, this can really help close the achievement gap.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:25 am |
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