When I was at the ISTE conference this summer I had the pleasure of attending a session on The Reverse Classroom presented by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. The reverse classroom is an interesting concept where the students watch pre-recorded lectures outside of class and then class time is used for application of knowledge, small group work, directed problem solving, individualized instruction, or discussion. This model was born out of an effort to help students master difficult concepts. Both chemistry teachers, they noticed that the students would sit through an in-class lecture but then would go home and be unable to do the homework. When they encountered a problem they didn’t understand the teacher wasn’t there to ask or help. In addition, their content built on itself throughout the semester so if a student didn’t fully understand the earlier material then they would not be successful later in the semester. By giving the lectures via a pre-recorded podcast the students could view the material as many time as they wanted, pause and rewind the lecture and refer back to it at anytime. Then all hands-on and “homework” was done in class where the students could ask questions and get individualized instruction. They were able to work in small groups and one-on-one to ensure that the students had a good grasp on the important concepts. They noticed a considerable rise in their cumulative final grades over the standard method of teaching.

While Jonathan and Aaron use this concept in high school chemistry it can be used in Higher Ed as well. This type of format could work anywhere when application of concepts is important such as math, science, and foreign language. TLT is going to try this concept in some of our upcoming  faculty professional development sessions.

If you are interested in learning more about the reverse classroom checkout my links list at http://www.diigo.com/list/benignim/reverse-classroom. You can also watch the video that shows how Jonathan and Aaron got started:

If you would like to see more, here is a sample of one of their lectures. You can see further lectures by Googling “Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams”: