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Best Practices in Education,

What’s the Perfect Blend for Your Classroom?

Is taking your class to a computer lab blended learning? If not, what is? Let's look at some great examples

Just as we wouldn't expect a room full of teachers to all place the same order at Starbucks, we can't expect them all to use technology in the same fashion either. As educators, how we incorporate technology into our classrooms can differ, but our goal is always the same, enhancing the educational experiences of our students. Blended learning takes teaching with technology to the next level because it's more than just signing up for a computer lab or utilizing an app or program during a lesson. The blended classroom/school/district allows students to become engaged in learning beyond the traditional teacher delivery model, and it allows teachers to have more one-on-one time with students and offer them authentic learning experiences.

Transforming your classroom into a blended learning environment can be just as personalized as ordering your tall non-fat caramel latte with a sprinkle of cinnamon hold the whipped cream. Finding the blended approach that works best for your curriculum and your students can bring a whole new dimension to learning. Reviewing helpful tips and strategies in practice can be the best way to determine where to start with a new concept or how to hit refresh on your current model. It will be much easier to envision blended learning in your classroom when you see a sampling of the components and tips that have worked for others. The following collection of models, strategies, and tips for the blended classroom/school offers a starting point that will help you order up the perfect blend and boost the educational success of your students.

 

Blended Model/Resource

Description

Limited Resources Check out how one teacher makes a big impact with a single iPad. Students with differing mathematical abilities are paired to solve problems. As the more confident mathematician tackles the first problem, he/she explains the step-by-step thinking process while recording on a podcast. After this teaching model, another problem is then solved by the partner and podcasts can be used for whole class viewing.
Early Learning In this kindergarten model, students rotate through stations. They work on computer programs based on individual ability levels, spend time in non-technology centers, and work with teachers individually or in focused-instruction groups.
Connecting Classrooms A high school English teacher and 7th grade language arts teacher collaborated on a shared journal project. Each class read a piece of Holocaust literature, and students created personas from the time period. Journal templates were used for students to correspond via Google, and pairings between classes were made as they shared their journeys.
Focus on Flipped Doc McDougall offers great information about the nuts and bolts of a flipped classroom. It's more than just sharing videos on the web. His facts about what does and doesn't make up a flipped classroom offers some great insight for beginning flippers, and his website offers classroom ideas for social studies and business courses.
Top 10 Lesson Components Great compilation of components for creating blended lesson plans. This top 10 list touches on the importance of organization, as well as moving toward developing micro-environments where students can interact with curriculum in a variety of forums.
25 Districts Mastering the Blend This is a collection of 25 districts that are making blended learning work. These are working models found in urban, suburban, and rural districts and at a variety of grade levels. The features and profiles provided offer a glimpse into the programs and strategies that are making these districts stand out as blended learning leaders.

The variations of blended learning are endless. Whether you're in an urban or rural setting, have computers for every student or a single iPad, work with kindergartners or twelfth graders, there is a blended learning model that can work for you. This doesn't mean you have to order straight from the menu though. By taking into consideration your students, curriculum, and resources, you can create your own unique blend and turn your classroom into a blended learning success!

 


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