The Gears of Blended Learning

As we move into the world of One2One devices at Pickerington Local Schools, I am going to post a weekly update to the instructional vision of our One2One program.

In Pickerington Local School District, we believe that the future of technology integration is through a blended learning model that would create an environment where students and teachers learn and teach more effectively. Blended learning can provide students with choice and voice in their learning which has the ability to be customized for each student, reaching students of varying learning styles.

The goal of blended learning is to combine the best teaching practice from a traditional classroom and those from a digital classroom. The teaching strategies should align to the goals of the learning objective. Some lessons may require the use of technology, other lessons technology may not be needed, while other lessons may need technology for part of the lesson. The end goal is to have and utilize the proper tool to enhance the curriculum and meet the instructional needs of the students.

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Here are the eight characteristics of Pickerington’s Blended Learning environment.

Learning Environment

A physical space that is inviting, safe and flexible. This environment promotes communication, collaboration, innovation, inspiration, creative exploration which encourages learning through productivity.

Blended learning model of learning require educators to rethink how they organize physical spaces to facilitate best collaborative learning using digital tools. Considerations include the following:

  • Are the design and layout of the physical space dynamic and flexible enough to facilitate the technology-enabled learning models and practices selected? Can a space in which an educator delivers whole-class instruction also be shifted to facilitate individual online practice and research?
  • Do the physical spaces align in their ability to facilitate individual and collaborative work? When practices such as project-based learning require students to be working together with multiple devices for research and presentation building, is the space as useful as when individual learners need time and space to connect with information and experts online for personalized learning?
  • Can the physical spaces and tools be shaped to provide multiple contexts and learning experiences such as Wi-Fi access for outdoor classrooms? Are library spaces able to become laboratories? Can a space used as a history lecture hall for one class become a maker space for engineering the next period?

Look Fors:

  • Student choice is embedded throughout the learning process. Learning may appear non-traditional with high student engagement.
  • Physical learning space is inviting and purposefully designed to promote creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.
  • Environment is where experimentation and failure is encouraged.A growth mindset culture is valued and embraced.
  • Students have the flexibility to move fluidly throughout the learning environment in order to produce high quality work.

Examples:

  • Flexibility of space
  • Encourages flexible student grouping
  • Encourages student engagement and active learning
  • Student voice
  • Teacher as facilitator
  • Supports collaboration
  • Efficient flow of learning

 

Instruction

Instructional best practices will be blended with effective technology tools to personalize learning. Learning opportunities outside of the classroom as well as innovative experiences within the classroom are used to increase student understanding.

 

Look Fors:

  • The use of a variety of tools re-defines traditional tasks and promotes the creation of new products, thoughts, ideas, and artifacts.
  • Teachers and students consistently draw on the expertise of others inside and outside the classroom to provide a deeper learning through authentic experiences.
  • The flexible instructional plan is designed so that students choose their path to mastery and demonstration of learning.

Examples:

  • Flexibility of space
  • Encourages flexible student grouping
  • Encourages student engagement and active learning
  • Student voice
  • Teacher as facilitator
  • Supports collaboration
  • Efficient flow of learning
  • Blend a variety of instructional models
  • Flexibility of student grouping
  • Content Available 24/7/365
  • Differentiation promotes personalization
  • Blogs and forums
  • Video conferencing to connect with outside experts
  • Short screen recordings to teach discrete skills and processes
  • Simulations in class that help students understand how things work
  • Learning targets are clearly communicated to students
  • Standards based learning
  • Student ownership of the learning experience
  • Encourages scientific inquiry process
  • Apps are used as a teaching and learning tools
  • Learning that includes the use of digital resources to use less paper
  • Teacher can now create the content using interactive and multimodal resources
  • Digital content are relevant and ever-changing
  • Strategies for engaging all students
  • Access to quality productivity software cloud based, could have a personal account
  • Work flow organization and management of files, content and resources.
  • Teachers and students work collaboratively in the learning process

 

Student Learning

Students will take ownership and demonstrate understanding through authentic and relevant ways. Students will have a voice and choice in how they demonstrate their learning.

Look Fors:

  • Students are given opportunities to take ownership in the creation of the learning experience.
  • Student passions and interests are utilized in lesson learning options to enhance personal investment.
  • Work is meaningful to the learner and shared with an authentic audience.
  • Students use technology tools to create personalized opportunities to explore content deeper to enhance the learning experience.

Examples:

  • Authentic and meaningful work
  • Deeper thinking, deeper projects, beyond Google with no simple answers and solving complicated problems
  • As appropriate, students can turn in work digitally
  • Student work teaches and supports classmates
  • Student have choice and opportunities to make informed decisions
  • Student centered/student driven
  • Student voice and choice in how they demonstrate learning
  • Open-ended inquiry learning, inquiry based
  • Critical thinking
  • Infuse gaming
  • Students have opportunities to be experts
  • Work happens through collaboration that extends outside of classroom walls
  • Student responsibility and management of their device
  • Personalized to the individual allowing for individual exploration in learning, yet still focused on clear-learning targets.
  • Creative, personalized projects and presentations
  • Student use of productivity tools to show their understanding
  • Work demonstrates technical and information literacy skills

 

Engaged Communities

The district and outside community culture is one in which teachers, students, parents and community members are empowered and inspired to teach and learn from one another. Learning is a partnership and a shared experience in a student centered classroom. Student learning is personalized and encourages critical thinking.

Look Fors:

  • Teacher is a facilitator that deepens knowledge by asking probing questions to provoke critical thinking.
  • The students and teachers take ownership in learning and overall classroom by becoming partners in learning. Ongoing and timely feedback is provided to students and teachers.
  • Teachers and students inspire each other’s exploration that leads to discovery and further questions from inquiry.

Examples:

  • Classroom, teachers and students model a Growth Mindset
  • Technology is a means to the end, not the end.
  • It’s not about the device but how technology integration enhances and enriches student learning.
  • Learning is a blend between traditional & digital = “TRADIGITAL”
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Steeped in spontaneity
  • Flexible and ever changing
  • Activities create the need to know
  • Develops the“5th C” of 21st Century skills “connected”
  • Everyone works to develop problem-solving and troubleshooting skills
  • Ability to adapt to unpredicted situations
  • Emphasizing an atmosphere where student advocacy, initiative, adaptability, work ethic are fostered. (Character traits essential for future success)
  • Don’t let software or apps dictate the learning goals!
  • Eliminate: “I can’t do this because I don’t have . . .”
  • System-wide support for all community learners (students,teachers and parents).
  • Encourage and support risk taking for all
  • Device use is organic to everyday classroom use

Pickerington U 

The District believes with any piece of teaching and learning there needs to be training available for our staff to properly leverage the instructional tools that are available. Pickerington U will be the umbrella term for all training available for staff and students in terms of the blended learning program.

Look Fors:

  • Staff will have relevant, differentiated and on-going training sessions around the use of blended learning in their classroom.
  • Staff with have multiple options for training, including whole group, small group, individualized and online trainings available.
  • The creation of an online database of instructional technology videos will be made available for all staff and students to increase the availability of anywhere, anytime learning.

Examples:

  • Focuson personalized training to meet the needs of all adult learners.
  • Self-Evaluation and PeerEvaluations
  • Ongoing District Evaluations
  • Creation of PLN(PersonalLearningNetworks)
  • Ongoing availability of resources to support the issue of technology in the classroom.
  • Teacher’s confidence level of technology integration increases.
  • Staff members working with others to build their capacity

 

One2One

Blended learning requires the use of a device when that device is the appropriate tool to reach that instructional goal or objective. Technology needs to be available when the student or teacher needs to use it, not only when the computer lab is available or a cart is not being used. The ability to go One2One with devices allows for the use of technology to be seamless in the classroom, not seen as a hurdle.

Look Fors:

 

  • Integration of technology into the curriculum to enhance or support the curriculum.
  • Increased student engagement through the use of the device.
  • Student-centered classroom, teacher as facilitator
  • Device allows for anytime, anywhere learning
  • Additional teaching and learning opportunities outside of the traditional school day.
  • Increased communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills.

Examples:

 

  • Increase use of digital tools in the curriculum
  • Increase application into the transformation parts of the SAMR model.
  • Devices have a positive affect on student achievement.
  • Reduction in paper usage
  • Teachers implement additional technology related teaching methods like flipped classrooms or station rotation models.
  • Increased student engagement
  • Better organization for students and teachers
  • Digital learning allows for a 24/7 process

 

Support

In best utilizing blended learning, our staff will need support, both instructionally and technically. With the adoption of the One2One program more devices will be put in the hands of students then ever before.

More devices equals more technical issues equals more need for skilled individuals to help solve those issues. Additionally, support for the instructional piece will be needed as well to fully use these devices in powerful ways.

Look Fors:

  •  Increase in skill and knowledge of staff members
  •  Increased training opportunities (Pickerington U) for all staff members
  • Technology leadership training for administration and instructional coaches.
  • Timeliness of technology help desk tickets resolutions
  • Creation of student technology guru program to leverage students strengths and skills in technology
  • Increase technical knowledge of building technology advisors and technology teachers.

Examples:

  • Increased knowledge and skill for integrating technology into the curriculum.
  • Digital tools are used seamlessly into the curriculum
  • Teachers and students work collaboratively in the learning process.
  • Technology help desk tickets are responded to in a more efficient manner.
  • Building staff has increased technical skills
  • Student technology guru program (high school & junior high school) is available all periods of the school day and before and after to provide technical assistance for students and teachers.

Check out the rest of Pickerington Local School District’s Technology Plan.

*Part of this post have been modified from Hilliard City Schools’ Technology Plan
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