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Four Essential Principles of Blended Learning

Four Essential Principles of Blended Learning
As schools become more savvy about blended-learning tactics– the practice of mixing online and in-person instruction — guidelines and best practices are emerging from lessons learned. Here are four crucial factors to keep in mind as schools plunge in. The single biggest piece of advice offered by most blended learning pioneers is to have a cohesive vision for how the technology will enhance specific learning goals, how it will ease the burden on teachers, and how it can make both teachers and students more creative learners. A big part of creating that vision is having strong leadership at all levels. A district superintendent who sees the value in a model will help remove old policies that inhibit the work. A strong leader will remove barriers, support professional development for teachers, celebrate successes and help move past challenges. Equally important is to have that same kind of visionary leadership from principals and teachers willing to lead by example in the classroom. Related:  aggiornamento

Blended learning revolution: Tech meets tradition in the classroom Fourteen-year-old Gabi Directo is technically in the middle of her freshman year. But in bursts of learning, hunched over her laptop in her Summit Shasta High School classroom, she has managed to zoom at her own rapid pace to the completion of all of her ninth-grade English, history, science, and math classes. By February, she was digging into her sophomore year Advanced Placement biology, physics, and Algebra II classes. Skip to next paragraph Subscribe Today to the Monitor Click Here for your FREE 30 DAYS ofThe Christian Science MonitorWeekly Digital Edition But in her school's "blended learning" program, Gabi has had as much face-time with teachers and classmates as solitary face-to-screen time. Gabi says she thrives on the traditional classroom group work everyone does at the same time – but she also appreciates that she can use her more advanced skills gained in the independent work she does online, shooting ahead rather than waiting for her classmates to catch up. But Mr.

Low Performing Detroit Middle School Eliminates Grade Levels, Goes Blended “I’m a level 11 in math, and a level 9 in English, but I’m trying really hard to move up,” I heard from a student who I believed to be a 5th grader. Huh? In July 2013, Matchbook Learning, a national K-12 school turnaround nonprofit, partnered with Burns to bring up scores and graduation rates by using a student-centered learning approach. And one major facet of that? Individualized learning that brought an end to K-8 grade levels in mathematics and English language arts. The history behind Burns and Matchbook It’s a tough situation: a 2013 NAEP report shows that urban students in Detroit performed the worst out of 24 U.S. cities on the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA), and within that Detroit community is Burns Elementary-Middle School. Back in 2009, the state of Michigan passed a district takeover in Detroit (similar to the TN ASD). “In the state of Michigan last year (2012-2013), as far as middle schools go, Burns fell dead last,” explains Assistant Principal Jamelle Settles. 1.

Blended Learning: Making it Work in Your Classroom Kristin: I can say that the things I've been doing the last two years have really made a difference, because my kids have scored the highest in the State on the standardized tests. So what we're doing here is working, and it's helping them be successful. Julie: We define Blended Learning as the combination of digital content and activity with face-to-face content and activity. Kristin: What I have online could be completely different than what the biology teacher has online, or what the physical education teacher has online. Mickey: Okay, go ahead get the laptops. There are three activities. Okay, slide to the apps, and open up Educreations, because we're going to fill in this chart, because this is going to get us practicing base pairing between DNA and RNA and reading our photon chart. Student: C. Mickey: C. Shelton: I've like probably learned more today just by doing this than I have the whole week that we've been doing this. Luis: The podcast like helps so much. Class: Yay!

How Do We Address the Needs of Kids Without Mobile Access? Digital Tools Flickr:Shlala The $64,000 question in education: Does access to mobile technology actually help close the achievement gap? Bill Ferriter, a sixth-grade teacher in North Carolina, has been thinking about this issue, and writing about it on his blog, The Tempered Radical. In this recent post, he addresses a question from one of his readers, who sites Ferriter’s source, about how to address the needs of the minority of kids who don‘t have mobile access? “75% of students are good to go, but do you just leave the other 25% to “fin for themselves”, leave them out of the equation all together, or do you do something to supplement such as the school providing a temporary cell phone” the reader asks. Here’s his response. One of the stumbling blocks to almost every reform initiative in schools is our stubborn refusal to move forward until the conditions are perfect for change. The result: Change never happens. I don’t care if one out of 10 students in your school has a cell phone. Related

To Make Blended Learning Work, Teachers Try Different Tactics By now, most would agree that technology has the potential to be a useful tool for learning. Many schools have invested in some form of technology, whether it’s in computer labs, tablets, or a laptop for every student, depending on their budget. But for many schools, finding a way to integrate the use of tech in a traditional setting — teacher-centered classrooms — is proving to be a challenge. What educational software should be used? What criteria should the software be judged against? At this point, just a couple of years into the movement, there are no definitive answers yet. “It’s going to be more about teachers having nimble classrooms.” But for any of those tactics to work, educators agree that the key is to have a clear vision of what the technology is being used for, and how that will affect the teacher’s role. That might be easier said than done. What’s more, the quality of the available software isn’t always great. “The tech is going to kill you the first year. Related

Classcraft makes the classroom a giant role-playing game -- with freemium pricing | GamesBeat | Games | by Dan Crawley Shawn Young has a class full of warriors, mages, and healers. Warriors get to eat in class, mages can teleport out of a lecture, and healers can ask if an exam answer is correct. But this isn’t some Dungeons & Dragons-style fantasy. This is education as it’s happening for over 7,000 kids in more than 25 countries right now. Young, a high-school physics teacher, has been developing and refining Classcraft, his classroom-based role-playing game for the past three years, and he says it creates a collaborative and supportive learning environment that can help turn around students who are failing. Currently a free service, Classcraft will introduce a pay structure this fall that embraces the free-to-play model more commonly seen in mobile apps and online games like League of Legends and Runescape. Playing in class If you’re a gamer, being in Shawn Young’s physics classroom sounds like a blast. Above: The different classes in the game balance to encourage teamwork. Image Credit: Classcraft

How to Grow a Classroom Culture That Supports Blended Learning The excerpt below is from the book “Moonshots in Education: Launching Blended Learning in the Classroom,” by Esther Wojcicki, Lance Izumi and Alicia Chang. This excerpt is from the chapter entitled “Trick in the Blended Classroom,” written by Wojcicki. It all started in 1987, when I got a grant from the State of California. The students were absolutely thrilled to help me (can you imagine being asked to help a teacher?!) I was soon sold on the idea of collaboration, respect, and trust in the classroom. Computers, tablets, and other electronic devices alone are not going to change the classroom. To help everyone remember what it takes to set up a culture that works, I have come up with an acronym, TRICK. T = trust R = respect I = independence C = collaboration K = kindness Trust The first thing to establish in the classroom is a culture of trust. Since the teacher is the one in control, it is he or she who must take the initiative. The students also put out a newspaper or magazine.

Backpack Science with Ken Finn: Rig a Rocketship Backpack Science is a summer series of easy at-home experiments geek dads can perform with their kids while school’s out. It is written by (San Francisco) Exploratorium science educator Ken Finn. This article is #6; you can find the whole series here. Rig a Rocketship Rocket experiments are the essential at-home projects that kids just live for. These rockets, outlined in the experiment here, are quite simple, safe and easy to do. What you’ll need: 2-L soda bottle3 feet (90 cm) clear, flexible vinyl tubing with ½-inch (1.3-cm) interior diameter and ⅝-inch (1.6-cm) exterior diameterduct tape2 feet (60 cm) PVC pipe with ½-inch (1.3-cm) interior diametersheet of blank paperclear tape3-by-5-inch (8-by-13-cm) index cardscissorsa rocket-loving friend How it’s done: Uncap the soda bottle and stick about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of vinyl tubing into it. Rig a Rocketship, excerpted with permission from Exploralab, 2013, published by Weldon Owen © Exploratorium, All Rights Reserved. About Ken Finn Like this:

A Two-Gear Construct for Envisioning Blended Learning Teachers using blended learning correctly can be one of the best ways for students to meet the challenge of the Common Core and develop ownership of their learning. But what does "done correctly" mean? If a teacher moves from a traditional teaching style (Point A) to using blended learning correctly (Point B), what does Point B look like? What is the optimal blended learning model? Two years ago, I set out to answer this question, and what I learned greatly surprised me. My organization, CFY, conducted a pilot in 2011-12 that worked with teachers on incorporating blended learning into their classrooms. After more than a year of discussions and visits, CFY derived our construct. The Personalized Instruction CycleThe Student-Driven Learning Cycle Envision these cycles as gears that are interlocked and running as one to drive student achievement and student ownership of learning. The Two-Gear Construct Credit: CFY The "Personalized Instruction" Gear The "Student-Driven Learning" Gear