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Waskom ISD experiments with flipped classrooms

By Rebecca Holland
Jan. 13, 2015 at 4 p.m.

<p>Waskom ISD Superintendent Jimmy Cox said a grant will allow students to use iPads as learning tools.</p>

WASKOM - Students in the Waskom Independent School District are learning a little bit differently this year - thanks to the school's experimentation with the new flipped classroom model.

Using this model, teachers record the lesson so students can watch it online at home the night before, said Waskom ISD Superintendent Jimmy Cox.

"Then, when they come to class, more time can be spent on assignments and hands-on learning activities."

Cox said has been watching this learning model for about five years and decided to give it a try. Cox said five teachers were selected to send to a training session.

"Then we brought someone in from the region to train them on the process," he said.

"We had 15 (teachers) in all."

Cox said the district bought the teachers iPads to use in their classrooms and in implementing the new education model.

Then, the school trained 15 more teachers.

"We have got 75 teachers, and we purchased 30 iPads. The students watch and learn at night, and when in the classroom, they can take more time with labs and the hands-on approaches," he said.

Another way that Waskom is implementing technology is through a recent Texas Education Agency grant that has allows the district to buy 100 iPads for student to check out.

Cox said the iPads will be specifically programmed.

Cox said the program should be in place within a few weeks.

"Everything is going good here in Waskom," Cox said.

"Our football team won the state championship, the band program is growing rapidly, the agriculture program is continuing to grow, and we are competing and hosting at UIL district events. The extracurricular activities we are able to offer are outstanding," Cox said.

Each year, Cox said he has a motto or a saying that he uses to encourage his staff.

One year, he said he focused on the slogan "We love our jobs." The next year, it was "Failure is not an option, and we will work together." After that, it was "Mr. Cox's Three Cs to success – communication, cooperation and collaboration."

This year, Cox said, "I wanted something that summed up all the other messages, and that is when I said that everyone here will make a difference in someone's life – doesn't matter how, even if It is just holding a door open for someone – make a difference."

Cox said he encourages student-centered learning, and not teacher-centered learning.

"Teacher-centered learning is where the teacher lectures, the teacher teaches and the students listen. Student-centered learning involves the student," he said.

"When the kids are excited about going into class, when they are excited about learning, when the teacher is smiling … well, then it is good," Cox said.

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