In collaboration with the Board of Education, my number one goal and priority is a focus on student learning. Las Virgenes consistently ranks among the top districts in the state because of our talented and dedicated instructional and support staff, principals and senior leadership.
Las Virgenes is successful because the District embraces a wide variety of instructional practices, strategies and tools. I want to take a moment to highlight one of these strategies. Many of you have heard of the recent buzz term “inverted classroom” or “flipped classroom.” This refers to students receiving classroom lessons at home and, instead of students being assigned homework, teachers work with students individually in the classroom as they master concepts.
One way this is achieved is through what’s known as the Khan Academy. The Khan Academy is a series of over 2,000 Youtube videos outlining concepts from simple arithmetic subtractions and fractions to a detailed explanation of the reasons and implications for the Greek debt crisis. In an inverted classroom, a student would go home and watch a video from their teacher or the Khan Academy. The advantage of watching a video is that a student is able to start, stop, pause and rewind the content; the disadvantage is there is no interaction. I don’t see inverted classrooms replacing teachers in the future, as the most powerful thing for student learning is a strong student/teacher relationship. However, a percentage of an inverted classroom could be very effective.
Parents can support what’s occurring in the classroom by monitoring the lessons and content that are occurring in your child’s class, identifying the appropriate lesson on Khan Academy or another site and reviewing the content at home. That’s what I do with my children.
This weekend, I used the Khan Academy for the first time with my second and third grade children who are learning about fractions and rounding in the classroom. We did some practice work together and then went to the Khan Academy. I would pause and add comments and then push play and inevitably, Khan would repeat some of the same things I said.
Parents can also introduce concepts to their children using these online resources. For example, my kids were learning about fractions; however, they hadn’t gotten to the terms numerator and denominator. I introduced these concepts to them so when they heard them in the classroom, it wasn’t the first time. It supports what the teacher is doing and makes a dramatic impact on what’s occurring in the classroom.
Again, there is no panacea. This is just one of many tools that teachers and parents are using to support student academic achievement. My best advice to you would be to talk to your child’s teacher to see how they utilize this tool and how they recommend you utilize it to support what’s happening in the classroom. A healthy dialogue between you and the teacher is critical for academic success, and the relationship between instruction and child is at the very heart of effective learning.
A terrific youtube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcLy8Cyxw2k