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.