This is Not the End! Reflection by Julie Kelly
Part 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?
by Susan Gardiner
This chapter provides descriptions of blended learning experiences that are individualized, moving beyond the previous chapters that described the whole group and station rotation models. The two models described in this chapter are the Individual Playlist Model and the A La Carte Model.
The Individual Playlist model involves a rotation schedule for individual students that can include personalized online time, offline project time, community time and mentor meetings. This model encourages a blend of online and face to face time. Although students are gaining more independence for their learning through this model, teachers have an important role to play as well. “Teachers are responsible for:
Selecting digital tools and curriculum
Creating projects and Playlists
Facilitating online discussions and face-to-face shared moments
Building class culture and community
Assessing student progress through formative measures
Providing feedback and encouragement to keep students engaged”
It is suggested that teachers utilize some type of learning style inventory, such as the Multiple Intelligences quiz, in order to plan multiple modes of learning. Figure 12.2 on page 168 shows some of the activities that could be included in an individual playlist. The teacher also creates an environment that is conducive to learning in this model. Figure 12.3 on page 169 gives an example of a typical classroom.
The A La Carte model allows students to select courses from “an array of online offerings.” (page 172) Students have the option to choose a course that is beyond what is being offered due to a particular interest they might have in that course. Administrators and teachers have an important role in ensuring the success of this model, beginning with the appropriate selection of online offerings and then providing support and guidance to students throughout the experience. Similar to the Individual Playlist model, teachers/facilitators consider the best mode of learning when choosing online courses for a particular student. Teachers, facilitators and administrators also play a role in providing the scheduling and environment that allow this model to be successful.
*Although, I haven’t had experience with either model, I would think the biggest challenge to the Individual Playlist model would be teacher planning. The benefit would be that once that effective planning is put into place, the teacher becomes the facilitator and students take more ownership of their learning experience.
*Challenges to the A La Carte model would be the selection and availability of online resources appropriate for a particular student as well as scheduling/environment. Again, the benefit would be that the teacher becomes the facilitator/coach in a student’s learning once online resources have been put into place.