As the “flipped classroom” model gains momentum in U.S. schools, teachers are scrambling to find high quality digital content and new ways to deliver it to students at home. With a free, web-based solution called Net Texts, teachers can access a vast library of high quality open educational resources (OER) and content, which they can combine with their own resources to create and publish lessons directly to students' iPads, Android tablets, or computers.
In a flipped classroom, the roles of instruction and homework are reversed. Students watch instructional videos and lessons at home. Class time is then devoted to more advanced curriculum, projects and discussions, as well as individualized help.
In schools such as Charleston Catholic School in Charleston, S.C., and St. Pius X Catholic High School in Atlanta, Ga., teachers are using Net Texts to “flip” their classrooms and create more meaningful learning encounters with students at school and at home. The Net Texts system includes a free app for iPads and Android tablets, and a content management website that lets educators organize, create and deliver multimedia course materials to supplement or even replace textbooks.
Charleston Catholic School
At Charleston Catholic School, teacher Shannon Blake flipped her middle school social studies classes in fall 2012, when she began using Net Texts. “Now students are more engaged, our discussions are deeper, we have fewer discipline problems, and performance is higher on our end-of-chapter tests,” she said.
Blake uses an online screen recorder to record her lectures and uploads them to NetTexts, along with handouts, projects, and other materials. Using the free Net Texts app, students download these materials onto their iPads and use them at home without further Wi-Fi access. When students return to class, Blake conducts a quick assessment to ensure understanding and identify areas of need.
According to Blake, having a flipped classroom has improved student behavior and performance. “There were a few chapters where I had technical issues at home and couldn’t record my lessons, so we went back to the old way of lecturing and taking notes in class. This not only caused an increase in discipline problems, but students’ grades on their end-of-chapter tests went down. We also didn’t have as much time for in-depth discussions or enrichment activities,” she said. “I’ve been very happy using Net Texts and students love it.”
St. Pius X Catholic High School
Ashley Wright, a business and computer science teacher at St. Pius X Catholic High School, began using Net Texts in February in her “flipped” Computer Applications class for ninth graders. Using an approach similar to Blake’s, Wright says that students are getting more help and improving their understanding.
“When you lecture in a class of 30 students, it’s easy for one student to fall behind. That student may have no idea what’s going on, but doesn’t want to stop and ask questions,” said Wright. “With Net Texts, students can stop, rewind and watch my lessons at home as many times as they want. It gives them the time they need to grasp the information, which is great since students learn at different levels. Then they can contact me for one-on-one help if they need it.”
Wright also appreciates that, because students download the files directly to their Android tablets, they don’t need continuous Wi-Fi access. “All our lessons, instructional sheets and exercises are stored on Net Texts, so once the materials are downloaded, they can be accessed anywhere. Students can listen to lectures at home, on the bus, on the way to their soccer game — so there’s no excuse for not doing homework. My students also like having everything they need on one device. It’s helping them become more organized,” she said. “Another thing I like about Net Texts is it’s easy to use and has great videos and tutorials to help you accomplish whatever you need to do.”
For more information about Net Texts visit www.net-texts.com.