Students flip for virtual teacher

MONROE, Wash.- With all the changes in teaching over the past few years, teaching by instructional video still remains rare in young classrooms.

However, one elementary school in Monroe is proving the technique to be quite successful.

Randy Brown, a teacher at Frylenads Elementary School in Monroe, said he's able to provide himself for one-on-one instruction while students watch videos of him teaching a lesson. The method -- called a flipped classroom -- allows Brown to be in two places at once, he said.

“There’s literally two of me in the classroom," Brown said. "There’s the digitally recorded me and the real person me.”

The class is split into three groups, each one getting a turn with the digital Brown. After they finish the lesson a digital lesson narrated by Brown, the kids go back to their desk to work on the assignment and can get one-on-one attention from the teacher in-the-flesh.

“It’s cool that we get to have a virtual teacher," student Emma Martin said. "We don’t need to sit at our desk and be like so bored. It’s a lot funner.”

So far this year, Brown has made 300 video lessons. He comes to work three hours before the first bell and creates the lessons at his desk on a computer.

“It’s their world, they are digital natives, they grow up with MP3 players, laptops, you name it, they got it,” Brown said.

Brown puts all of his lessons online, so parents know exactly what’s happening in the classroom.

Brown has been teaching for more than 25 years but this is the first year of the flipped classroom model. He hopes other teachers and schools consider the change.