‘Flipping’ For The Classroom Of The Future: A Look At Innovation Middle School

Innovation Middle School, outside of San Diego, recently won the 2012 Innovate Award from the Classroom of the Future Foundation.

One of the notable elements of Innovation Middle School’s approach is a technique called “flipping,” in which students watch a video lesson from home — on laptops provided by the school — then take a short assessment. When they arrive at school, instead of listening to a class lecture, they are placed in differentiated learning groups.

Teacher Michael Salamanca explains it this way:

So instead of that 30 minutes lecturing, it’s 30 minutes of I’m going to sit with this table or I’m going to sit with that table over there and we’re working on their specific issues instead of a more generic ‘this is where people tend to make mistakes.’ Because, as we all know, a lot of these kids learn differently.

Another teacher, Julie Garcia, explains the process this way:

It’s a lot more work, because I’m constantly circulating the room, checking work, talking with students. But I feel like I really know my students now because I can tell you after a 50 minute period I’ve probably talked to every single student at least three or four times and that kind of personal attention for students you don’t necessarily get with direct instruction.

This year, Innovation Middle also created their first-ever STEM Film Festival. The winners are listed here, where you can also watch their videos.

The school’s motto is “Where Technology And Character Come Together,” and all the focus on STEM education is underscored by developing the 7th and 8th graders as people. Principal Harlan Klein is a major proponent of character development.

Here’s our query: Does this seem like a common approach for schools now, or is something innovative developing outside of San Diego? Do you think the technique of ‘flipping’ might allow for greater student-teacher interaction?

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