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.
Definition: “A subcategory of the Rotation Model … transfer of information online… practice and application in the classroom.” This chapter provides many resources and tools to help flip your classroom. A free lesson template is also provided.
Lesson Template (click on the link and save to your drive):
The chapter provides several examples of how the flipped classroom looks on pages 151-154.
Considering types of media:
Be intentional which lessons would benefit from the flipped format. Choose the format and introduce it so that students are engaged. Use in-class time to extend content.
Questions to consider:
Summary & Reflection by Denise Oglesby
With technology becoming more common in classrooms, Whole Group Rotation is a model with a linear approach that lets everyone rotate through online and offline activities within one classroom. It’s a transitional step for teachers shifting from traditional whole group to this rotation model. With the use of adaptive technology in regards to content, assessment, and sequence, it should allow students to control the pace and possibly path of their learning. Since students don’t rotate, it saves time when compared to the Rotation Model from Ch. 9 and still allows time for the teacher to work with individual students to better gauge comprehension and mastery. It’s also flexible in that any number of activities can be used.
Like designing any lesson, when you are implementing a Whole Group Rotation lesson begin with the desired skills and objectives and then decide on activities and the length of time needed to achieve these. Blended learning would mean using technology to allow students to pace their own learning and collaborate with their peers. Figures 10.4, 10.5, and 10.6 are sample lessons and a Google Drawing of a Whole Group Rotation template is included. It is suggested to use a mix and match approach of Station Rotation and Whole Group Rotation to match daily available technology and objectives.
There are challenges expected with Whole Group Rotation and Figure 10. 8 gives solutions to help meet them. Since every student has a device, distractions need to be managed. Peer tutors and the teacher could troubleshoot where needed to address the wide range of skills and language proficiency as well as technology issues. Like in any lesson, back-up plans need to be in place and teachers must model flexibility as well as provide next steps or additional activities for early finishers and a plan for slower finishers to complete their work. It’s important for teachers to address how they will make sure students are on-task for online work and where and when they will work with individual students.
First review - Summary by Chas Johnson
The introduction describes a teacher who felt as if she were failing to reach her high school
students. She felt as if she couldn’t get them to engage in her lessons and take an active role in
their learning. After teaching several on-line college classes, she noticed how technology
allowed her learners to fully engage. Students who rarely responded in other venues were
using discussion boards to add their thoughts and their learning. Chapter 9 focuses on
providing models for teachers to use to more actively engage students through the use of
technology as well as face to face interaction.
The Station Rotation Model is defined as “a course or subject in which students rotate on a fixed
schedule or at the teacher’s discretion between learning modalities, at least one of which is
on-line learning” (p. 109). This model allows all teachers to integrate the use of technology into
their lessons. The model allows for small group instruction, offers a variety of on-line learning
activities and opportunities, and allows time for teachers to offer direct instruction to all students
in small group settings. (Figure 9.1)
The next part of the chapter, which I feel was extremely beneficial for teachers, offers an
example of Station Rotation in action in a classroom. It suggests that there be four stations
including a teacher led small group instruction station, a collaborative station, a makerspace
station, and an individual practice station using on-line tools. Figure 9.3 even offers suggestions
for how to set up a classroom for maximum utilization of the model.
The chapter goes on to offer teachers a variety of ideas of lessons and activities for both
elementary and middle/high school teachers. Figure 9.5 describes four possible stations
including a math station where students watch a video and then practice a math skill, a teacher
led reading and comprehension station, an art station, and a draw and write station. In the
Station Rotation Model, the teacher can integrate all curriculum areas into the lessons and
activities offering a variety of ways to engage and peak the interests of all students.
A list of challenges and solutions of using the Station Rotation Model is given in Chapter 9.
*lack of access to technology
*high cost of adaptive software and learning tools
*logistics of managing a large class size
*lesson planning can be challenging for teachers
*physical classroom size
*classroom management when moving through the stations
*wide range of learning abilities and student skill
Possible solutions include:
*a variety of devices can be used, recycled devices can be used
*researching free on-line tools and programs
*larger classes may need to have more stations
*teachers need to be flexible with their lesson planning
*researching furniture and design conducive for station rotation
*using teacher assistants, parent volunteers to aid with management
*including additional instructional tools for students who need support
Questions to think about when considering the Station Rotation Model
*What are the benefits and challenges for your students? I think the benefits are obvious as
teachers are able to instruct smaller groups and groups can be made according to skill level.
Some challenges of course are access to technology to allow the stations to run smoothly. I
also see the challenge of “what do I do when I’m finished” surfacing for higher skilled level
*What support do teachers need to make the Station Rotation Model work? I definitely feel at
the elementary school level, at least a second teacher, parent volunteer would be useful for
classroom management and other issues that may arise.
*What are some of the lesson planning challenges teachers will face when implementing this
model? The chapter suggests breaking the individual tasks into stations. I think initially, the
planning would be very time consuming for teachers, but once established planning would get
*What are some classroom management strategies you would use to be sure this model runs
effectively? I think “training” the students of the rotations work and conveying your expectations
of them are both crucial. I could foresee spending quite a bit of time at the beginning of the
school year “practicing” how the Station Rotation Model works.
At my school, Grades 2-5 are trying a block reading time this year. I took much of the
information presented in this chapter back to my team just last week when we met. We are
going to run four stations in each classroom: a teacher directed interactive notebook station
where students practice given reading skills, a technology stations where students complete
activities on IXL and Readworks, an independent reading station where students will read
appropriate books (print or reading on a device), and a grammar practice station. We are
excited to implement this in our school and we are confident it will help us reach all of our
learners and allow them to learn and succeed at their own pace.
Second review by Sharon Kennedy
Station Rotation Model is a great way for teachers to incorporate blended learning in the classroom. It "offers a clear avenue for traditional schools and teachers to integrate online learning into the classroom..." (pg. 109). This model helps foster independent learning, allows the teacher more time to focus on smaller groups of students, and helps students learn to navigate the online world.
*What are the benefits and challenges for your students?
Benefits - individualized learning, small group focus, cooperative learning skills
Challenges - lack of technology skills, lack of technology in the classroom
*What support do teachers need to make the Station Rotation Model work?
In the beginning stages already created stations would be helpful, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. Extra support in the classroom from another adult would also beneficial.
*What are some of the lesson planning challenges teachers will face when implementing this
Creating stations will be challenging and well as grouping. Students should not always be group homogeneously, there needs to be variety in who children are paired with.
*What are some classroom management strategies you would use to be sure this model runs
Model, model, model. I am a huge proponent for building routines in the first 6 weeks of school. Once students know a routine, things run much smoother.
I am excited to try this in my own class. I've done rotations for many years now, and am going to really work on the technology component. I plan on using technology to flip the classroom rather than having kids use the technology to practice skills.
Summary & Reflection by Mandie Farre
As teachers, we may believe that students know more about technology than we do. There is a belief
that they have grown up in a tech world and therefore are “experts” and can handle whatever
technology programs are given to them. We, the teachers, are being asked to incorporate the use of
technology into the learning environment which is not the way we were taught. We need to step out of
our comfort zone but also need to understand that the students are not experts in the use of technology
in the academic environment. At the beginning of Chapter 8, it states “Rather than viewing ourselves as
‘Digital Immigrants’ and our students as ‘Digital Natives,’ it would serve all of us well to accept the fact
that we all are, in our own ways, ‘Digital Explorers.” (Pg. 95) We need to recognize that students will
need to learn how to use technology for academic purposes and that it is not the same as how they
respond and use technology for social and recreational purposes. “Onboarding practices include
training activities, outlining of expectations, and structuring ongoing support.” (Pg. 104) Schools will
have to develop school wide activities and set school wide expectations to get students onboard with
using technology in the academic setting. Figure 8.1 (P. 97) Onboarding for Primarily Face-to-Face
Experiences explains the three objectives (Train, Define and Support). Majority of students will not
hesitate to use technology in the classroom; the gap is in understanding the purpose of the technology
and how to effectively use it for academics. There are two suggestions made in Chapter 8 regarding
schools onboarding and supporting students: Buddy Program and Academic Bootcamp (Pg. 101/102). I
like both of these ideas to help get students onboard with the technology and blended approach but the
question that continues to arise for me is Parental Support. Yes, we need to instruct students on the
correct use of technology in the academic setting but how/when do we get the parents to be a partner
in this journey?
Reflection by Christine Zisa
As educators we know assessments help us gain an understanding of where students are in their learning paths. Both formative (progress oriented, check in, low stakes) and summative (evaluative, higher stakes) assessments are important to understanding what (and how) students are learning. This chapter discusses how assessment can drive student learning and how we can incorporate this in a blended learning environment.
The key components of this chapter include:
-Student motivation and learning
-Different forms and strategies for using assessment data
-Learning Management System assessment resources
-Higher order thinking and creative learning in a blended environment
-Different forms of formative assessment
-Strategies for planning
-Challenges and how we can overcome these
Teachers are busy! How can blended learning environment assessments help?
- Help relieve the daunting task of administering frequent formative assessments
-Collect data in a manageable way
-Determine best starting points for student learning
-Create multidimensional lenses to see evidence of learning
-Provide ongoing, immediate feedback
Prior to administering assessments, it is imperative that school leaders and teachers determine what motivates (and demotivates) students to learn in their school. What is working to engage? To inspire? What is in the way? These school-wide discussions then become a platform for how best to create goals for motivating learners. As schools design their visions, there are a variety of digital platforms that offer tools (some align with incentive and reward programs, some creativity, some communication driven). Other thoughts to keep in mind is the use of extrinsic or intrinsic motivators. Research suggests that extrinsic motivators work best for simple tasks which can be accomplished quickly without much creative thought, and the opposite is true for complex tasks or those requiring creativity.
We know that motivated students are key to a successful learning environment. Our job is to help motivate them. We can do this in a variety of ways. We can do this by relevant and purposeful learning. By doing this, students will be more motivated to engage in higher order thinking. Another motivator is presenting real world problems that students can relate to and are passionate about. This will help produce intrinsic motivation. We also want our students involved. Students that are engaged, are agents of their own learning, are able to help to set own goals, and have choice learning experiences with their teacher are able to achieve an age appropriate level of autonomy. Another key motivator is social motivation and authentic audience. Another important motivator is teacher/student relationship. Students are more motivated when they feel their teacher validates them as learners, connects and believes in them. These relationships, and knowledge of our students as learners can help us align motivating experiences in a blended learning environment.
Be aware! We may understand how each student learns best, know how to motivate them and have determined a variety of digital practices for them to access, but high student engagement does not necessarily indicate student learning. We need to make sure we are aligning learner outcomes, instruction and using digital tools that enable students to move at their own pace while encouraging them to challenge themselves. Adaptive learning platforms help guide this. These platforms are becoming more popular because it provides a data narrative for students. This helps guide instruction and define learning. It increases motivation because students see progress and instant feedback. Research shows a link between performance gain from immediate feedback as compared to delayed.
Taking these aforementioned components, we can further maximize our chosen LMS by using it as an assessment hub. The following are features of an LMS that empower assessment and provide feedback:
Individual and Small group assignment (and mastery of)
Another dimension of assessments are project and discovery learning. These allow students to collaborate, work at their own pace (given a timeframe), and explore in multidimensional areas. The Pedagogy Wheel developed by Allan Carrington provides several digital tools teachers can use to increase their project based creative learning. This was organized using Bloom’s Taxonomy and SAMR (Substitute, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition). Rubrics are essential tools for students in a project-based environment. Students need to understand what is being measured, how and what the intended expectations are.
To best lead a class of learners, it is essential to know and understand them. By using frequent lower stake assessments, you are able to gauge a variety of indicators (including interest, interest, grit, preference, disposition). This helps educators plan and guide learners on a more defined path. Doing this can create challenges. If teachers are working towards student personalized goals, they may find that they are met with many differences, and that can be overwhelming. To help alleviate, teachers can use formative assessment templates. These templates help anchor and unify class expectations while keeping personal learning styles/goals in mind. Choice boards, good form, and a rotation station are some examples of how teachers can implement. By providing a rubric (with these templates), students are able to have choices, but there is evidence of learning and teacher expectations are clearly stated. By placing student ownership on formative assessments, you are empowering and engaging your students learning.
When assessing in a blending learning environment, make sure you are selecting specific tools that will provide the majority of the data, don’t get caught up in trying to “use it all”. If you need to track turned in work, keep it simple, and use one drop box to hand in assignments. Communication with parents and other teachers is essential. All stakeholders need to understand expectations and how they are to obtain access to these tools. It is also important to be sure that parents understand how to use and support their child with any/all digital tools you are using in the classroom.
By providing a blended learning environment, where students feel empowered and motivated, you are able to more easily reach a student’s potential. Assessing in a blended environment that students understand their expectations, see results and can track their progress invite learners to feel comfortable, challenge themselves and reach their potential.
Moving toward personalized learning. Reflection by Catherine Tobin
"Digital curriculum can be a simple entry point for modifying lesson delivery in a blended learning classroom as teachers can replace existing offline resources with adaptive, multimedia curriculum."
Four categories of digital curriculum:
We talked about tools in the previous chapter but digital curriculum is different because it provides the content for effective digital learning. Teachers have many options to consider in choosing a digital curriculum, not the least of which is cost. Many of the options out there are free or have a free version or trial. This is great for initial evaluation when trying to determine if the cost of the paid version is justifiable. The book suggests a process of a pre-pilot for teachers, then for students, then a pilot and finally, a post-pilot committee. This is a great idea if you are considering a whole school move to digital curricula. However, for most of us, we are looking to start small, in our own classrooms.
If we start with the understanding that we are trying to find new ways to engage our students and work toward the goal of redefining our classrooms, the search for the right digital curriculum should be a process of trial and error. Find a digital curriculum you think fits your needs, and give it a try. Get feedback from your students and be sure to assess to see if learning goals were achieved. Get the students involved in the process. Ultimately, we want to move to the student-driven learning model and getting there can be fun!
The 3 suggestions in the book for digital integration models are the whole-group, station-rotation and flipped classroom. Each has its upsides and downsides and much depends on the subject, grade level and space. The vignettes in this chapter offer a peek at how digital curriculum is being implemented in real classrooms. This has given me some ideas I want to take to other teachers in my school.
Question: Which subjects do you think are the best candidates for digital curriculum? Do you think there are subjects for which it would not work? Have you ever tried it? Would you like to?
Deciding What to Put in YOUR Toolbox and Then... Summary by Shannon Norris
"As you embark on this blended learning journey, think strategically about the tools you and your students needs, how to measure your progress, and ow best to support your students in their new learning environments... so the key is to have a growth mindset and a great team."
Devices and Digital Tools, things to remember:
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
1-Do you and other teachers in your school have experience using Google Classroom for Education or Office 365? IF so what have you seen as the pros and cons ?
2- Do you use or plan to use a LMS? If so what factors are most important for you. What would be most important for your school and can a school ensure that all stakeholders get involved in selection/ use?
3- How can a school or district deal with giving stakeholders the freedom of choice in the selection of digital tools yet provide a consistent digital environment for students or PD for educators?
4- What is your favorite tool(s) in your digital toolbox and why?
Summary & Reflection by Steve O'Shaughnessy
Chapter 4 focuses on preparing teachers for blended learning. The chapter opens with data and quotes from Stanford University’s Dr. Arnetta Ball and the model for generative change highlighting the idea that teachers are not objects of change but instead need to act as the agent of change. A study by Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is referenced, highlighting the fact that most teachers do not believe professional development is effective or meaningful. The chapter then goes on to focus on suggested best practices, guiding principles and framework for planning, providing recommendations for differentiated and personalized professional development. It suggests to the reader we rethink professional development, examining duration and distribution, coaching and collaboration, simulation of practice (modeling), and the technology we expect our teachers to use. CHOMP is introduced the valuable criteria for effective professional development:
Collaborate- Coach and create meaningful communication
Hands On- Gamer and Tinkering methods
On-going- Must have structure and environment fostering continued learning
Mindset- Why not the what?
Personalize- Differentiated plans acknowledging the individual learning needs of teachers
The chapter closes referencing a book by Malcom Gladwell called Tipping Point. Which focuses on the ideas, products, concepts, and technology going mainstream and capturing the minds and hearts of society. The author further suggests that to achieve full buy in for blended learning and technology by teachers that a tipping point needs to be achieved within our schools and the way to do this is to differentiate for the needs of the teachers.
The vision in my school is of data driven, project based learning, students should be leading lessons and working in stations the diversify learning. Teachers are devoted to the faith and exude gospel values, are continuous learners, fostering mercy and humility and kindness, who hold students to high expectations while conveying a sense of caring and understanding. Does my vision sound similar to yours?
The skills required for this vision include piety, empathy, compassion, a love for learning, teaching, and students, growth mindset, grit, strong classroom management skills, fearless experimentation, an understanding of project based learning, technology, data driven learning, and differentiated instruction. What other skills would you include?
Professional development as highlighted in this chapter is essential but is not a one off deal. It is a marathon not a sprint. Some skills I mentioned can certainly be improved or achieved through effective professional develop plans (ie. Data Analysis, Responsive Classroom, Differentiated Instruction, Data Driven Planning and Teaching, Project Based Learning, even Spiritual Development to focus on our vocation) My greatest struggle has been imparting empathy to staff. How do you teach kindness and understanding in your schools?
Teachers engage actively in their own professional development when given the opportunity to choose how and when to engage in PD. The ADW does a great job acknowledging this offer book studies, classes, and courses at different times, intervals, sessions, both online and in person on a number of topics and issues beneficial to educators. Survey teachers to determine the needs of the staff as well as what PD topics the teachers want to engage is essential to providing them PD opportunity. I believe demonstrating humility and taking the same classes and actively engaging in teacher professional development also adds meaning to the course and leads by example. Have you ever had an administrator not participate in PD with you?
I will measure the success of my initiatives by analyzing effectiveness feedback from all stakeholders (students, parents, teachers.) Observations, evaluations, and walkthroughs should also be clear indicators if each classroom is living up to the vision of the school. What do you believe is the best way to measure the success of professional development?