What started as a way to help his students with their math homework turned into something completely different when San Marcos High School teacher Dale Stonecipher started videotaping his lectures.
“With the level of math such that many student’s parents had not been exposed to it and thus had difficulty helping with homework, I first thought about posting the video’s of lessons online so students would have an easy reference,” Stonecipher said. “And then the idea occurred to me.”
That idea, which Stonecipher calls “flipping the classroom,” is now catching on with a couple of other SMHS teachers.
Under the concept, students “homework” is to watch the lesson video each night. Then during regular class time, instead of listening to the lecture, the students spend their time doing the actual exercises or traditional homework of math problems.
“It works because now a student can pause the video, go back over a portion or even re-watch the entire lesson video if they feel the need to get the concept down,” Stonecipher said.
“Then class time is spent working the problems here, where I can help them, rather than at home alone.”
And what do students think of the flipped classroom?
“It’s weird but very helpful and I like it,” Marisa Covarrubias, a junior, said.
“I can pause the videos and workout what’s happening, then review it if I need to. It helps explain things better.”
Stonecipher said not only can students watch the video online, but also on their iPhones and other devices although sometimes the latter doesn’t always pull up the needed math characters in problems to be solved. But they are working on that.
“We are still finding a few kinks in the system but overall it’s been a great experience,” Stonecipher said.
Another benefit to the new approach is Stonecipher finds the amount of homework turned in by students is near double what it was before, and grades are improving as students master concepts better and quicker.
Students also receive written workbook notes each day prior to viewing the videos at home to re-enforce the learning. And should a student encounter a problem with the video, there is a separate powerpoint presentation explaining the exact same material which students can access easily.
“What really happens now is a simple math formula,” Stonecipher said. “I can now give more homework this way which equals more practice which equals more mastery of skills.”
Stonecipher’s video lessons can be seen by going to http://www.smcisd.net/webpages/dstonecipher/