This is Not the End! Reflection by Julie KellyPart 4 reemphasizes that in learning, relationships are the foundation. The best use of technology brings students and teachers closer together. Indicators of progress is evident in the feel of the community- the excitement teachers generate as they embrace learning and sharing their learning with each other and the students learning from each other. Chapter 13 provides the roadmap to personalization as one proceeds through Phase 2 and Phase 3. The greatest gift we can give our students is the gift of helping them learn how to learn.
The blended learning journey requires not only an investment of fiscal resources it also requires an investment of time and having communicated a shared vision with stakeholders. Transitions occur in Phase 2. Shifts are observed in classrooms as teachers experiment with the models and strategies of Blended Learning. In this part of the journey, Roadmap Metrics to pay attention to include timing and pacing, budget, student feedback, teacher feedback, and learning outcomes.
Phase 3, Expansion, involves a mindset of connecting students with the world and personalized learning, continuing to assess, iterate, and build sustainable practice for the long-term. Building sustainability hinges on the vision that was set and planned in Phase 1 while understanding that best practices will continue to emerge and evolve.
Teachers have been given a great responsibility in preparing the next generation. Considering how our economy has changed, it is imperative that students are given time and space to learn and develop their creativity. Guiding students to find information that is credible, make sense of the information, and then use and apply the information in creative ways becomes the priority. The vision is a school that provides unique learning pathways for individual students that gives them creative opportunities and choices to purposefully collaborate with peers and experts both locally and globally.
As the book closes, it is not the end. The next step depends upon the path the reader decides to embark upon. The questions for discussion are:
What’s next in your Blended Learning journey?
Reflect upon where you were when you started the book study.
What changes have occurred in your philosophy and practice since starting the book study?
What excites you most about the future?
“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast” (The White Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass).
Chapter 12 invites us to open our perspectives and our classrooms to the possible learning environments that we can structure with a creative and iterative mindset. Just as we have needed years to figure out our best teaching styles, these models of learning will take time and repetition to find their “happy places” in our classrooms.
In the Individual Playlist Model each student has his/her own list of learning goals, and each student transitions from station to station completing different tasks
(not necessarily visiting each station). A school in Brooklyn accomplishes this by using 4 classrooms to make space for all of the varying skills focus. In addition, the authors suggest providing the students with learning surveys ahead of time that give the students a sense of their learning strengths and comfort zones; this information can be used when structuring their learning plan. Offering a variety of learning modes at the different stations is key to gleaning student buy-in and to optimize engagement. The highlights of this learning model include an intense personalization of learning and pace. On the other hand, one challenge is the potential to lose the community aspect of the classroom since all of the students are working at separate skills and rhythms. As a result, including collaborative objectives and work stations should be part of the planning process.
The A La Carte Model allows students, during a prescribed time in the daily schedule, to participate in an online course provided by a third party. This model could fill several needs, including allowing students to study areas of interests that are not part of the school’s curriculum. However, the set-up and execution of this model entails specifics; it requires special training since the components are “different than teaching a class” (179). Furthermore, the third parties would need to be proven educationally sound, and the ongoing success of the programs would depend on the support of an onsite facilitator whose chief responsibility is to ensure that students are matched well with course offerings and understand their academic responsibilities.
Questions for Discussion
Instructions & Tools