One of the biggest challenges science teachers in Alberta face is the lack of time to "cover" everything. Sometimes, when I taught, I felt like a machine; marching my students through two sets of curricula. We have a wonderful senior high program of studies in science and when compared with other curricula in North America comes up as one of the best. And, because we offer programs of choice in my school district, some senior highs also offer International Baccalaureate and/or Advanced Placement programs. So the teacher has to meet the demands of two curricula. This leads to the lecture style of teaching as a dominant form of teaching as the teachers struggle to complete the program.
The concept of a "Flipped Class" seems to me to be the answer to that challenge.
The "flipped classroom" is the brainchild of Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams from Woodland Park, Colorado. Their website explains the "flipped class" at http://learning4mastery.com/
This website showcases Aaron Sams explaining how he flipped his class: http://www.sciencematterswi.com/flipped-classroom
The idea is basically an inversion of traditional teaching. Instead of lecturing during class time and then assigning homework to check for understanding, the teacher assigns a short vodcast (or webcast) of the lesson to be watched at home. The students come to class after watching the lesson and then use class time to complete activities based on the lesson and level of understanding. This provides the teacher with the class time to assess the understanding, and differentiate instruction for every student, every day in every class.
This innovation in teaching practice is the most exciting concept I have heard of in a long time.