The passion and hard work of the team that assisted in developing programs to assist and encourage students in Filipinos are inspiring (UNESCO Bangkok, 2009). This was an enormous task that was undertaken to provide more educational opportunities to students. It is evident that by breaking this huge undertaking into five components they could address foreseen obstacles to bring the goal to completion. I believe getting the community involved was an important piece. Providing the community with information about the program was essential to get students involved. This is an example of how education through technology can bridge the gap between all ages and diverse students in an effective and more affordable way.
I have started out my innovation plan of blended learning with just my classroom, and hope to expand this plan campus-wide soon. Several teachers at my campus have already provided blended learning opportunities to their students, so it has been helpful to collaborate with them. I have started researching case studies, but putting the plan in action has allowed me to uncover what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve. My idea was to allow students to choose between watching a video or teacher-led instruction. This would allow me to work with small groups of students to check one-on-one their understanding of the lesson.
Initially, I used the eBook videos to provide students with another resource to learn the material. This did not work at all, the videos were much longer than the lecture, boring, and without sound. So, I decided I needed to create my own videos to embed into the LMS. This has been time-consuming but has been worth it. I would often create videos when students were around, and they would pop in which has added a level of excitement for my students. Another challenge I have undergone is even though students have a choice, they are primarily working at the same pace. My next plan is to create more established pathways so that students can advance even further, or struggling students can spend more time working on challenging topics. Moving forward I see the biggest obstacle with going campus-wide is getting other teachers to buy-in to the idea. In other districts, I have seen technology bought without teachers committing to using the technology. When teachers are not motivated or trained to use the technology it sits on shelves collecting dust. Or even worse teachers use the technology but in a way, that does not add value to the lessons.
When teachers can create their own vision, and take ownership of their plan, they are likely to use technology in a powerful way. When districts or administrators force technology on teachers, without any explanation as to how and why this is beneficial to students learning, they lose interest and revert to how they were teaching before the technology integration. If teachers are involved with planning and creating their own vision, they will be able to see the important opportunities that they can provide to their students with technology.
ReferencesUNESCO Bangkok. (2009). eSkwela: Community-based e-learning centers for out-of-school youth and adults, Philippines. Innovative ICT in Education Practices, 1-23. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001833/183307e.pdf