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Bill Nye 'The Science Guy' Talks Flipped Classrooms

Bill Nye "The Science Guy" was fired up when he talked to an audience of students and teachers last week in a webcast, sponsored by Capella University, about flipping the classroom. The scientist and former Disney/PBS television host says flipped classrooms are "changing the world."

"We can put video up on the Web, where everybody can see it. It's changing the world," said Nye who hosted the event with Sophia.org's Taylor Pettis. "You don’t have to go to class and listen to the lecture. You can watch, or listen, to the lecture before you get there, on your personal device. It's cool."

Crystal Kirch, a high school math teacher at Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana, CA, participated in the webcast, live via Skype. Kirch talked with Nye about the benefits she's seen since implementing the flipped classroom model.

"I'm able to take that direct instruction, that lecture that used to take up a lot of class time and put that outside the classroom," said Kirch. "And inside the classroom, we're able to work together more. I'm able to work with individuals, I'm able to work with the small groups, and we're able to make more effective use of the time that I have with them."

Nye also introduced a new program that he's launched with Sophia called "Flipping for Sophia," an online contest in which students and teachers watch tutorials at Sophia.org for a chance to win iPads and a visit from the much-loved science educator.

"This campaign is cool in so many ways," said Nye, in a prepared statement released last week by Sophia.org. "In addition to the prizes and the fact that I have the opportunity to personally deliver 30 iPads to a school, the real benefit is that we are offering resources that meet students where they are in the digital age."

Sophia offers more 25,000 academic tutorials on a number of subjects, according to Nye. "In addition, all of the lessons are taught by a multitude of teachers," he explains, "so they are credible and if you didn't like one way a tutorial is presented, there's another and another that you can try. So students and teachers….check it out."

The "Flipping for Sophia" campaign began September 18. Teachers and students, ages 13 years and older, can visit Sophia.org to view tutorials, relevant to learning level, to be entered into the drawing for an iPad. Teachers can also have their students participate as a class. Sophia will give away two iPads each week—one to a student and one to a teacher—during the contest period, which ends December 2, 2012. Classes that participate in the program will be entered into a drawing to win 30 iPads and a visit from Nye.

Sophia offers a free professional development program on flipped classrooms. Teachers who complete the program, which was created in partnership with Capella University's School of Education, earn Sophia's Flipped Classroom Certificate.

Additional information about flipped classrooms and the "Flipping for Sophia" program is located at Sophia.org.

About the Author

Kanoe Namahoe is online editor for 1105 Media's Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].