It is hard to believe that schools are officially half way through the school year. With standardized test on the horizon and preparing for the last half of the school, one of the best ways to get rejuvenated is attending a great educational conference. State, national, and world conferences provide a variety of new technology tools that will promote future ready environments, blended learning tips and tricks for the classroom, personalized learning strategies that will showcase how to allow for student ownership, voice, and choice. They also provide a time to network. Developing a personal learning network is just another way to one to generate ideas and goals for the classroom.
This year, the DSD Professional Development team plans to attend an assortment of educational conferences. At each conference we will be presenting on blended learning, personalized learning, future ready skills, and/or how to develop a balanced classroom. Below is a list a of our sessions at each conference. Please feel free to join us. If you would like to meet up, feel free to send us a message. We would love to get together and share out more tips and tricks.
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Nuts and Bolts of a Blended Learning High School
Elementary Center Activities with a Blended Twist
Blended and Personalized Learning Coaching Strategies
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Nuts and Bolts of the Blended Learning Classroom - Kish
Checkout the following Resources
Written by: Charity Dodd
Today’s global economy and the changing demands on the workforce require workers to be analytical, solve problems, creative and highly adaptable to change. Educators cannot prepare students effectively for their futures through the ‘traditional” teaching model. Schools and educators must change the way they instruct to prepare learners the changing landscape.
How can educators respond to the needs of learners to prepare them for their futures?
Blended learning strategies provides opportunities for educators to respond to the needs of our students and our society. For example, here are five reasons why we should implement blended learning in our schools.
1. It is the way our kids learn.
Kids are coding through minecraft, producing their own videos and interacting with others online. They are using #makerspaces to create and explore. When they want to learn how to do something, they go to YouTube to learn. Our kids are learning in ways that we couldn’t have imagined and blended learning allows teachers to meet them where they are.
2. Prepares learners for real life.
Technology is changing the way we work. Routine tasks are now digitized. Workers in today’s economy must be able to communicate properly through technology, work effectively in teams, create solutions to problems and think critically. Blended learning allows time for collaboration among learners, opportunities to connect globally to other classrooms.
3. Increases learner engagement.
When learners are interested in what they are learning, they stay engaged. According to a Center for Digital Education study, over 70 percent of teachers employing blended learning for their classes saw improved enagement. With the availability of digital tools, teachers can deliver instruction in different ways. Students learn through a variety of activities that meet their learning styles at their pace.
“The world doesn’t care what you know. What the world cares about is what you do with what you know.” - Tony Wagner
4. Improves efficiency, feedback.
Blended learning allows teachers to maximize the time they have with learners. Teachers have access to an abundance of resources. Teachers need to use these resources to analyze data on student learning. This process allows teachers to quickly assess student needs and to provide timely, effective feedback. Once this feedback occurs, students know exactly where they are in their learning.
With the implementation of digital content, teachers can assign adaptive technology assignments to learners to get immediate feedback while working closely with small groups or individual learners. While a small group of learners are practicing skills through digital content, another small group of learners are applying what they learn by creating a product to show what they know. In another part of the room, other learners are practicing skills independently while the teacher focuses on a small group to teach new content, re-teach content or provide feedback.
One teacher we work with was reluctant to try mini lessons with her high school Geometry class. After encouragement and utilizing strategies we shared with her, she tried it. After that class she said how much she loved meeting with each one of her 30 students because she’s never been able to do that through her traditional model of teaching.
5. Makes learning fun and promotes student ownership.
Interactive learning activities, interest-based projects and game-based learning makes learning fun for learners. Choosing where to learn, who to learn with, and how they learn gives learners ownership. Students can begin to track their own learning to be accountable for their own learning.
Continue to learn about Blended Learning through our other blog post.
Written by: Charity Dodd
One of the top concerns for teachers when implementing blended learning strategies is how to manage the students. It is a legitimate concern since students aren’t used to learning in a flexible environment. Students have to be trained to be independent and work in groups successfully. Teachers don’t have to throw out everything they know about classroom management.
There are still rules to follow. Develop the classroom management guidelines as a class so students will take ownership.
Example: Blended Learning Guidelines
Once your class has developed the guidelines, teach them what the guidelines mean. Make sure everyone agrees on what is meant by each guideline. What do they look and sound like?
1. Develop technology guidelines. Teachers should have guidelines for technology use. Have students help develop these guidelines. Guidelines might include:
2. Classroom setup. Arrange your classroom so that you can easily monitor student devices, especially when you are working in a mini lesson.
Below is an example of a first grade classroom setup from Fairbanks Elementary School in Milford, Ohio
3. Develop a routine for transitions and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Let students know how much time they have at each station and allow them to be aware of remaining time so they can monitor themselves. Turn on and off lights when it is time to transition.
One method I’ve seen is a teacher uses a 1-2-3 method
4. Use everyday tools to support classroom management.
Incorporate push lights for students who have questions and who are not working with the teacher. This will eliminate interruptions and distractions. Once students have exhausted their resources for help and still need the teacher, they push the light to turn it on. The teacher is then aware that the student needs help. You can purchase these for $1.00/light at places like Dollar Tree. You can even write on them with dry erase markers!
5. Implement digital tools for classroom management.
7. Assign Roles to students in the classroom such as a Lab Manager who can help students with minor technology issues for example.
8. Plan B Option for those times when technology isn’t working.
9. Be flexible. If something isn’t working, change it up. Try something new or different. Ask the students what they think might work.
10. Student Contracts. Create contracts for students to take ownership of their behavior. For example, a contract can be created for flexible seating. If a student isn’t successful using flexible seating, the teacher and student can agree on next steps.
Practice classroom procedures in the blended learning classroom. Remember that a loud classroom doesn’t mean loss of control.
Checkout our other blog post on blended learning
Implementing iPads into the classroom setting
As an instructional coach, I get asked a lot about different types of technology that can be implemented into the classroom. One of the schools that I am currently working with, Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, asked me to put together a list of iPad applications and how to use them in the classroom. Of course, there is so much to share out with the teacher that I decided to put together a Six Part video series that will showcase...
Part 1: Implementing the iPad into the Blended Learning Classroom
Key Take Aways
Learn more about Blended Learning
What is the difference between a checklist and a choice board in a blended and personalized learning classroom?
The difference is simple. A checklist is something that you have to complete. For example, think about when you are packing for a trip. You make a list of all of the items that need to be packed as well as all of the chores that need to be complete before leaving the house. That is a checklist.
A choice board are 5C's activities (creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and connectedness) that can be used to showcase understanding of the content. For example, you are on vacation, you generate a list of activities that you would like to do while at the resort. You don't have to complete all of the items on the list but rather you get to pick and choose which ones would work best for you.
Below are samples of a checklist and a choice board.
Learn more by visiting our other blog post
Last week, while working with a team of educators from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, a couple of educators came up to me and asked if there were any new presentation tools that would replace PowerPoints. I quickly went to my Edshelf and showcased twenty-five new presentation tools that they could use within the classroom setting. Each one of the teachers took a different tool and they started to explore and learn more about how to use the online program as a way to showcase understanding of unit, theme, or standard.
Below is the sample list that I provided to the teachers. If you would like to follow or save the list to share with your classroom, just follow me on EdShelf by clicking on this link.
Want to Learn More?
Written by: Charity Dodd
DSD Professional Development
In Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk - How Great Leaders Inspire Action, he shares his Golden Circle. The Golden Circle has three rings. The outer ring is the WHAT, the middle ring is the HOW and the center of the circle is the WHY. He states that everyone knows WHAT they do, some know HOW they do it, but very, very few know WHY they do what they do. By WHY he means what is your purpose, what is your belief. Why do you get out of bed everyday and why should anyone care? He says inspired people think from the inside out. Inspired people start with WHY.
DO YOU KNOW YOUR WHY?
Think of Balanced Learning as the big umbrella that captures the process of blended and personalized learning by adding in the time for Maker Space, Coding, STEAM, Project Based Learning, and 20% time. The transformation of the classroom will in return start to produce students that are ready to take on the Innovation Era.
Jeff Kish - I.T. person determined to help deliver technology into the classroom.
Marcia Kish - Blended and Personalized Learning expert that has been working with schools across the world to transform the traditional classroom into a Blended and Personalized Learning environment.
Charity Dodd - Blended and Personalized Learning coach with the passion of preparing students and educators to be future ready.