Process for implementing blended learning

I am approaching the end of my Coursera blended learning course, and now it is time to put the theory into action!

Here is the process that was recommended.  It is based on three models of innovation and design, mainly:  ‘Design Thinking’, ‘Lean Startup’ and ‘Discovery-Driven Planning.’

–       1) Get clear on objectives (focus should be on learning, not the technology)

–       2) Decide how to measure results (not just test scores or quantitative data, can also look at time, student engagement, qualitative observation from peers or using a camera; student voice feedback)

–       3) Commit to action (not just a theory – get you hands dirty and try with students!)

–       4) Create mini-tests (like the ‘minimum viable product’ in business – a quick, cheap easy way to test out a part of something before doing the whole thing; prototyping, small batch testing)

–       5) Collect feedback (test scores, observations (another teacher or camera to monitor what happens; also focus groups and surveys from students)

–       6) Keep iterating (look at what worked and do more; looked at what didn’t and either address the concern or back away; continue this process!)

At the moment I am just beginning step 2.  After having decided my goals (I want to use ideas of dynamic grouping and mastery to effectively differentiate for the students: identify students who need particular help on a certain topic while creating a ‘challenge playlist’ for the advanced students to extend their learning on a particular topic.  I need to decide how to collect the data on this…

Work in progress!

Choosing Software for Blended Learning

This week in my Coursera course they outlined four types of software that need to be distinguished for blended learning:

1) Four types of software
Whole course: replace an existing course.  Software does most of teaching/learning.  Teacher is purely to drop in and check progress.  Examples: Apex Learning, K-12, Edgenunity.  Easier to use, but less personalised.

Supplemental: support core course.  Teacher still designs and delivers main learning experiences.  Examples: ST Match and Dreambox Learning (is adaptive).  Khan Academy (called ‘the gateway drug into blended learning’) – free resource for mastery.  English language arts: Achieve 3000 (current event topics and rewrites at different lexile levels); Accelerated Reader (quizzes on books that they read based on lexile level; creates virtual book shelf).  Gobstopper, lightsale – ebooks for schools; providing opportunity for teachers to embed quizzes or notes.

Teacher tools: help administration in a school to be more efficient.  E.g. Edmodo used to communicate with students and parents (‘Facebook for teachers’); ‘Class Dojo’ merit and demerit points for classroom behaviour.  Exit Ticket, Socrative, Poll Everywhere.  Also LMS (Moodle etc…)

Learning apps: length, frequency of use very different; depended on unit and child.  App: Poetry – search and display on mobile phones.

2) Process of choosing software

–       What do you already have?  Existing subscriptions?  Start here.

–       Choose based on criteria:
a) actionable data
b) adaptive
c) efficient with the student’s time
d) engaging
e) research
f) cloud based option (work anywhere, using any device)

3) Additional resources

Online ‘map’ of software initiatives (a nice resource!):
http://www.newschools.org/entrepreneurs/edtechmap

Basic ingredients for Blended Learning success (article):
https://www.edsurge.com/n/2013-09-17-basic-ingredients-for-blended-learning-success