I had the privilege of presenting yesterday at the CUE-NV State Conference to a group of enthusiastic tech-loving educators who spent their Friday evening learning about blended learning.
Here are the presentation materials for those who attended:
It’s pretty obvious when using Front Row Ed that there is a strong teacher on the development team. The questions are aligned to the SBAC assessment in content and appearance, and the reports and data really help teachers differentiate their instruction, especially in a blended learning environment. The program even has individualized printable practice sheets that can be sent home as homework so students spend time filling the gaps at home rather than being frustrated with content they learned that day. More importantly, it was built from the ground up to match the Common Core standards.
Take a look at this video that explains the teacher dashboard in more detail. https://frontrowed.com/
When you decide to shift to a blended learning model, it forces you to think differently about everything in education, including the classroom setup. I decided to take the leap this year into flexible seating because students are constantly moving in blended learning, which lends itself to a different kind of classroom environment (think Google or Starbucks).
So here’s a little tour:
In the previous post, I talked about how I structured my 70-minute math block by getting rid of whole group instruction in favor of four 15-minute rotations. Let’s delve deeper into what each of these stations looks like:
When I decided to try blended learning last year, I started with math because that’s where I saw the greatest frustration among my students. I had been teaching lessons mostly whole group to 34 students with very different needs. During guided practice, my two super advanced students were done with the problem within seconds and read novels while I hopped between the other 32 students to address their misconceptions. (I never told those students to “read when they were done.” It was obvious they had used this tactic for years to cope with a system that isn’t built to address their advanced abilities). By the end of the practice session, my most struggling student was in tears because my classroom tour never stopped at his desk to help him.
Several assignments in my blended learning courses asked us to imagine which of the models we could realistically implement in our classrooms with the time and tools at our disposal. Here are five reasons why I believe the station rotation model is the best choice for elementary teachers looking to start blending their learning:
When my students rotate between their blended learning stations, there is no digital timer for them to watch. Instead, they move to the music.
I really would never be able to explain blended learning as well as this amazing infographic from Knewton. So in the spirit of modeling the different modes in which content should be presented to students, here is a pretty visual to get you started on the basics of blended learning.
There are 4 main models of Blended Learning, according to the Clayton Christensen Institute. You’ll notice that these models are considered “blended” because the instruction is a mix of online and the physical school building. You can read more about each model by clicking the image below. I have only used the Station Rotation Model in my elementary classroom so this blog will focus more on that model and its implementation. There are lots of videos online to show different examples of how each model is used and I would love to hear from teachers who have tried the other models. Please comment below if you would like to do a guest post about your experience!
So you’ve started putting your students on the computers more this year. You might even have a few new iPads floating around. This is a great start. Frankly, I do not think schools use enough technology for instruction. However, your increased use of devices does not mean your students are experiencing blended learning — yet.