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An Introduction to Blended Learning

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samuel davenport

on 5 September 2014

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Transcript of An Introduction to Blended Learning

An Introduction to Blended Learning
Perhaps like us you think of a wonderful opportunity to meet all the needs of the students in your classroom
Small group instruction
Intimate understanding of
students' strengths and weaknesses
Individualized learning plans
Increased communication using realtime data
Opportunity to apply professional standards in the creation of an effective and dynamic classroom
Or is the thought of all the activities you'd have to design immediately overwhelming?
Do you think of rows and rows of computers where students stare intently at a screen rarely interacting with their classmates or teacher?
What comes to mind when you think of blended learning?
Do you think of classroom chaos where students have too much time and freedom on their hands?
Blended learning facilitates a transition from unidimensional classrooms to dynamic learning environments. It's a transition that augments existing practices; Instruction becomes more personalized but does not follow a rigid or dogmatic framework.
We define blended learning as a method that brings together the best from traditional instruction with the best online instructional innovations. In a blended model, teachers make decisions about a student’s instructional experience based on close and regular analysis of data. The opportunity for personalized instruction is deep, but will vary depending on the specific model.
The benefits are many:
Real time data about how your students learn - differentiated instruction like never before!
Greater flexibility to strengthen critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration
Immediate feedback on the efficacy content and instructional modalities based on detailed student outcomes
Every student will learn in exactly the way that is best for them, accelerating the rate of learning for all students.

The Two Most Common Blended Learning Structures
There are many ways to implement blended learning. The two most common are an in-class and learning lab rotational models.
The in-class rotational model divides the classroom up into centers or stations or small learning communities allowing for multiple activities. Depending on needs, students rotate through the various stations. We'll walk through each station.
With a strong foundation and ongoing professional development, instruction shifts from teacher centered to individual student focused.
In this model part of the class rotates through a computer lab while the rest remain in the classroom. Allows teachers time to focus on the needs of a smaller number of students at any given time. Students in lab use online programs to practice skills, etc.
These models show how blended learning programs create multiple learning opportunities and increased flexibility for teachers to work more directly with each or the students.

As illustrated by these pictures of the same class, blended learning facilitates independent and collaborative work on and offline.
Effective blended learning is built on these core foundational pillars. Without strong practices in each domain, computers will be just another classroom distraction providing little to no relevance.
Differentiating instruction through individual and small group work
Continually collecting
data about student progress from a variety
It's not about the computers
Fostering a supporting learning environment where students are accountable for their own work
Continually evaluating lesson plans and adjusting lessons based on data and feedback
Both of these models require changes to the classroom room lay out. Which is more viable may be in part determined by the constraints within your current facility. Let's look more closely at each.
Students engaged in individualized instruction primarily through the use of online learning platforms. OLPs can be used to review skills and concepts, extend practice towards mastery, preview skills and concepts, etc. Students work at their own pace and at their appropriate level.
If there is enough room in the classroom teachers will create a community space. A soft rug or bean bags, ect. can make it a comfortable and safe place for students to engage.
Creating a space for students to work independently in groups helps students become more self-directed learners. This groupwork can also be used to go deeper into content. Problem solving activities and defined group roles and responsibilities ensure participation/engagement
If you're fortunate to have regular assistance in your classroom, this model will maximize its impact. Assistants can work on specific skills, help students catch-up, work with a specific group of students, etc.
Often you will see students sitting in bean bags reading silently or working alone on a specific task in this Independent Learning area
This is where this model can be really powerful as it provides teachers the time to focus on a small group of students. The various stations, activities and student groupings must be purposeful. With that the opportunity to work closely with a small group of students on a specific task, activity etc. is extremely powerful.
The rotational model takes advantage of a computer lab where students split time between the lab and the classroom. Teachers work with fewer students and are better able to focus on individual needs.
Data from OLPs is captured and fed back to teacher. Teacher uses this data to strucutre class activities.
Students work on OLPs at their individual level. Depending on staffing, there are opportunities for small group, individual student pullouts in the lab as well.
It's not about the computers
How to get started in blended learning
Where to start?
In the next section, we'll share a few thoughts about how to begin the process....
(And remember it's not all about the computers)
As obvious as it sounds, you need to start by building the foundation. A simple to say, far more challenging to implement.
Laying the Foundation
Start evaluating your and your school's readiness for effective blended learning by exploring the questions under each domian in the following windows. ACKK!
As stated previously, fundamental to a quality blended learning program is the capacity to store, sort, manipulate, anlayse, report on etc. student level data. Formative and, to some extent summative, data informs day to day lesson planning, classroom layout, OLP use, etc. You need a system that will allow you to capture info from myriad sources, including your own assessments and aggregate to provide a realtime snapshot of students strengths and weaknesses.

There aren't many datasystems currently on the market that can provide this level of sophistication. There are some effective ways to manage this, however. <<When you're done with this prezi, see x,y,z for how folks are managing data or something...>>
If you primarily teach through a traditional method of more or less direct instruction, you will want to begin to experiment with more diffused group learning. In effective blended learning classrooms, students must take some ownership for their own engagement. Students will need to be responsible for simple procedures such as transitioning between activities, finding answers, seeking clarification, etc without relying on the teacher. Additionally, they will need to know what skills, concepts they specifically are working on and held accountable for mastering. Through well constructed group lessons, you will be surprised how quickly students become more responsible for their own learning.
<<When you're done with this prezi, see x,y,z for ...>>
<< Add a series of basic questions to help "inventory"
A school culture which puts students at the center of instruction and expects all students to take responsibility for their own learning is a critical foundation for blended learning. A classroom culture that encourages students to actively engage in curriculum/content and to become more self-reliant learners is where blended learning thrives.
<< Need some less preachy, dogmatic text, Rebecca? How about a straightforward list of questions? eg, At your school are students expected to xyz?>>
<<When you're done with this prezi, see x,y,z for ...>>
An increased focus on individual student progress as brought about through blended learning, rests on teachers ability to adjust and tailor instruction by given needs. This demands constant assessment and a willingness to experiment.
Further, and especially when just starting, collegial support is critical. Creating a professional learning community focused on bl inculcation will accelerate implementation and results but requires a fair chunk of dedicated time.

<<Again, too didactic.. Let's change>>
<<When you're done with this prezi, see x,y,z for ...>>
Start slowly (and without computers)!
Piloting or The First Year
Too often we see schools launch a blended program by putting computers in the classroom. Teachers then struggle to incorporate them into daily activities and they often end up gathering dust. Instead, we advise teachers to hold off on using computers for the first three to six months. During this time we work with teachers to shore up the foundations discussed earlier, to practice group learning and to develop procedures/routines that promote self- directed learning. A typical implementation calendar looks like a more detailed version of this:

Deciding on which OLPs to use
Online Learning Providers
Choosing OLPs... That's all the advice I got

Using data to group students
Working towards learning plans for each student
Individual Learning Plans
Necessary? I think we don't need to include...
Standards - Competency -based
<<Need to rewrite>>
Where to go from here?
Hard to do by yourslef
Professional Support
Purposeful PLC
Avoid these common mistakes and you'll be far ahead of the pack ack ack...
Common obstacles to keep in mind
List of risks:
Benefits of Blended Learning
These two models illustrate the increased flexibility teachers have to create tailored learning experiences as well as to address more individualized needs. Teachers are no longer the major source of information, students begin to draw from multiple sources through various means to accelerate their learning.

The blended model can help address concerns your school may be struggling with now, concerns such as:
Common core transition
because BL is fed by compentency- based data...

In-Class Rotation
Full transcript