NEW MANCHESTER, W.Va. – In the topsy-turvy world of Mat Deveany’s math classrooms, “homework” is done in school and lectures are watched online at home.
Deveany, 25, a second-year math teacher at Oak Glen High School, said he’s getting good results using the “flipped classroom” model of teaching, so much so that he’s been asked to give presentations on flipping to the Hancock County school board and the Regional Education Service Agency 6 in Wheeling.
“I’m happy with the opportunity to do it. I won’t go back to the traditional way of teaching,” he said. “This is something I want to do.”
The flipped classroom model turns traditional classroom instruction on its head, Deveany explained, by requiring students to watch pre-recorded lectures online at home and work on projects, assigned problems and exercises in the classroom.
The method allows students, especially those who are struggling in math, to work at their own pace, repeat lessons if necessary and get more one-on-one attention from the teacher, he said. For his part, Deveany said he spends less time lecturing and more time working individually with students.
“I’m less a ‘sage on the stage’ and more the ‘guide on the side,'” he said. “Before, I felt like an entertainer in front of the class.”
With the flipped classroom, Deveany prepares his lectures beforehand – he’s recorded between 90 and 100 videos since the beginning of the school year – and makes them available to students after school via YouTube. Students watch the lectures, which are usually 10 to 15 minutes long, and then come to school the next day prepared to tackle the material in small teams and with Deveany’s help.
Deveany, who teaches Math 1 and 2 to freshmen and sophomores, said he began the year using the traditional flipped classroom model, in which all students are working on the same lesson the same day. That approach was labor-intensive for Deveany because he felt like he was constantly making lecture videos.
“I’d come in an hour before class and stay an hour after class. I’d spend my planning periods and lunch breaks making videos,” he said. “It took an hour and a half to make a 10- to 15-minute video. I’m not the most tech-savvy person in the world.”
Following Christmas break, Deveany switched to the “flipped mastery” approach, in which he gave students all the lecture material and assignments at the beginning of the trimester. Students work through the material at their own pace and must get a 75 percent on a test to move on to the next unit…