Most school districts across the country operate under a similar organizational structure. The superintendent reports to the local school board, while the various district departments-Evaluation and Accountability, Curriculum and Instruction, Human Resources, Finance, and Operations, among others-are overseen by the superintendent. In many cases, these departments operate independently of one another. As a result, the roll-out of new programs often occurs in a vacuum, which can cause duplication, confusion, and inefficiency. To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at the “flipped classroom,” a technique gaining momentum in classrooms around the county. Bill Tucker, Education Next blogger, describes the concept perfectly in “The Flipped Classroom“:
“With teacher-created videos and interactive lessons, instruction that used to occur in class is now accessed at home, in advance of class. Class becomes the place to work through problems, advance concepts, and engage in collaborative learning. Most importantly, all aspects of instruction can be rethought to best maximize the scarcest learning resource–time.”
One organization quickly emerging as leader in the flipped classroom space is the Khan Academy. Their website is home to more than 2,800 free videos (available in 16 languages!) covering various subjects, such as geometry, statistics, physics, computer science, cosmology, organic chemistry, microeconomics, valuation and investing, currency, art history, social security, the electoral college, and Medicare sustainability. There is even a test prep section that includes SAT and GMAT content. The website is very cool for learners of all ages, but I digress.
An advantage of managing district departments and programs in a silo may be that it is easier to slot them into the traditional organizational chart. For example, the flipped classroom approach, on its face, clearly fits into the “Curriculum and Instruction” sphere.
On the flip side (pun-intended), adopting a flipped classroom structure doesn’t just affect those officially responsible for instruction. It impacts every department in the organization in one way or another. Educators need new skills to successfully teach in a flipped classroom model, which carries over to hiring, onboarding, professional development, evaluation, rewards, and other areas of a district.
It’s easy to forget about the many tentacles attached to even the most simple program or reform initiative. However, it’s important for talent managers to put structures in place to align efforts organization-wide through strategies like strategic planning. But more about that in a future post.
For a detailed explanation of the flipped classroom, check out the infographic (think “educational comic strip” including illustrations of processes, statistics, and information) below that inspired us to write this post.
This infographic is publicly available to embed in your blog or website. More information can be found on the Knewton website.
Thanks for sharing the history behind the flipped classroom concept. I never knew it started from a ‘best practice’ two educators were implementing. Honestly, I assumed it was a concept designed by one of the many educational technology organizations out there, hoping to create a new market for their product. I have to say, the statistics from Clintondale High School are astonishing! Outside of the implementation of the flipped classroom concept, are there other factors that could be credited to this drastic improvement in student performance (e.g., performance based compensation)? With Detroit being one of the hardest hit regions in our recent economic turmoil, I am curious as to how the technology and resources were funded and what the implementation plan looked like. Do you know if there have been other metropolitan communities that have moved to this concept and seen similar results?