What is Blended Learning at our school?

5 Step Blended Learning Model 
I often ask myself what is blended learning.  As a school we have defined it to be teachers using technology to meet the individual needs of our students,  but what does that really mean?  I can’t emphasize enough the importance of giving teachers some ideas to implement the model and keeping it simple.  After months of talking about lesson plans, blended learning, online programs like Moodle, Aleks, and technology devices, we realized we just needed 5 things.
Blended Learning can be done with 5 easy steps:
  1.  Objective / Driving Question:  What does the teacher want the students to master?  The students should know exactly what they should be learning and how it relates to the real-world.  Keep in mind, there is a difference between doing something and mastering something.  Often times we all fall victim to giving students tasks opposed to learning goals. 
  2. Activity #1:  Teachers can start designing activities for the students to complete or use online, such as ALEKS.  If it can be done on paper it should be able to be transferred to a computer.  For example, why should the teacher lecture when they can find a video for the students to analyze? They can pre-record the lesson so they don’t have to repeat it 4-5 times throughout the day.  
  3. Activity #2:   Often times I see teachers focus on one activity for the period.  It is key for the teacher to create a second online activity.  It can be as simple as transferring the information they just learned about in a video to a shared google doc or the teacher can target a small group of students and provide them explicit instructions related to the goal. 
  4. Activity #3:   I can’t tell you enough how many times we miss the 3rd activity.  We get so caught up in the first two activities, many times the teachers don’t even get to this activity.  An example might include using an online program or analyzing each others work and giving feedback.  
  5. Measurement – If we start with a goal, shouldn’t we have a measurement?   Our goal is to get this completed by the end of the period.  Even in a blended learning model, I have seen teachers dismiss the students without assessing their goal for the day.  
5- Step Blended Learning 
 I am using this model that I created with Piktochart to provide myself and teachers a clear visual of our model.  The goal is to eventually shorten the loops on a daily basis.  Also it is flexible enough for students to complete all 3 activities or choose 1-2 of the activities while meeting the same over-arching goal.  
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3 comments

  1. The best part about this Piktochart is that it makes blending seem attainable and far less overwhelming. I wonder if teachers don't sometimes resist blending because it seems like too much to do all at once. The best part of your model is that blending can be thought of in steps.

    I think that it's also worth mentioning that you've been very clear and thoughtful about how to explain this to your staff! As someone who was very apprehensive about rolling out technology, you really gave me (and many others!) the time and space we needed in order to build blended lessons at a pace we needed to feel comfortable. Amazingly, our staff really took off with this! We all got so excited about what other people were doing in our own building that we started going to each other for help and support. Gone are the days of closed classroom doors – The best PD is now coming from our own building!

    Thank you for the time, support, and resources to make this happen. You've certainly proven that if you set expectations high, staff and students will meet you where you set the bar!

    Like

  2. Alex,

    Thank you for this post! By far it is one of the best I have seen in terms of summarizing the Blended Learning Experience in a school. We to at Sabin, have now begun planning for “in-house” experts to provide for meaningful PD based off of our own staff's needs and expectation, is it possible to share this visual with the Sabin folks? Thank you!

    Like

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