If we teach today’s students’ the same way we taught yesterday’s, we will rob them of tomorrow (Dewey, n.d.). As an educator, the challenge is finding a way to keep up with these technology advancements while meeting the demands of 21st century learners and increasing the level of student learning. The model that has been widely successful in accomplishing just that, is blended learning.
Blended learning with station rotations combines both online learning with traditional teaching methods. This provides students options and access to educational tools both during school and at home (Clayton, Horn, & Staker, 2013). This access to technology allows students opportunities for differentiation through a wide array of learning activities. When providing choices for students, this allows students to take control over their learning. When students are given control over their learning, they are more engaged and their learning increases. Students can watch content videos at their own pace, collaborate with peers, and receive individualized teacher assistance (Aspire Public Schools). This gives students a more personalized approach to their education, allowing the students learning to be flexible and without boundaries.
What do we do now?
My innovation plan is to pilot a blended learning model with station rotations. Based on my extensive research in my literature review I have discovered not only how beneficial blending learning is, but how critical implementation of this model is in providing students success. Many schools make the mistake trying to keep up with the technology trends by cramming it in the current model, which does not improve learning (Staker, 2015). Technology is only beneficial when the use elevates the curriculum. This is when technology provides added benefits, or you can do something different that you could not do before (November, 2017).
In order to implement this strategy successfully, goals need to be established, specific technology appropriate for the learning environment needs to be selected, and time for training (Hochleitner & Lautzenheiser, 2014). To create the proper foundation for a seamless transition I have developed an implementation plan with five phases. These phases include; developing content, consideration for technology, continued growth and feedback and teachers training. With the implementation of these phases, I believe Ford Middle School has the perfect school culture and resources to allow for this transition.
We have to continue to push the envelope not only for our students but ourselves. When we stop learning as educators we stifle our opportunities for growth, which directly impacts students. The piloting of this model is only the beginning. Through my continued research and reading, I will continue to develop my plans to transform my classroom in the hopes to lead others in change. I will be attending professional development this summer to deepen my understanding of how to use technology to assess student achievement and increase engagement. I am interested in reading books (annotated list), targeting leadership skills and tools in the classroom. I want to remain connected to any and all innovations that can benefit teachers, students, and staff.
Aspire Public Schools. (n.d.). learningaccelerator.org, blended learning 101:handbook. Retrieved from http://learningaccelerator.org/media/3d90f736/Blended_Learning_Handbook_6713_Final.pdf
Clayton, C., Horn, M., B., & Staker, H. (2013, May). Christensen Institute. Retrieved from https://www.christenseninstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Is-K-12-blended-learning-disruptive.pdf
Dewey, J. (2017, May 9). Retrieved from Azquotes: http://www.azquotes.com/author/3918-John_DeweyHorn, M., B., &
Hochleitner, D., & Lautzenheiser, T., (2014, January). How one district is reinventing its classrooms. Blended learning in DC public schools, 3-4. Retrieved from https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/-blended-learning-in-dc-public-schools_084713921628.pdf
Horn, M. B., & Staker, H. (2015). Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools. San Francisco: Josey-Bass.
November, A. (2017, January 23). November learning. Retrieved from http://novemberlearning.com/educational-resources-for-educators/teaching-and-learning-articles/crafting-vision-empowered-learning-teaching-beyond-1000-pencil/