This Google Slide presentation and accompanying Google Doc were created demonstrate my ability to incorporate the theory and logistics of blended learning into an ideal learning environment.
I began with a vision. The vision was a k-12 school infused with First Nations principles of learning and values that incorporated the benefits of blended learning and open to learners regardless of ancestry.
The assignment forced me to think critically about different blended learning models to determine which was most suitable given my vision. So many options! While I was familiar with the terms station rotation and flipped classroom, lab rotation enhanced virtual and flex models were new to me. In the end I decided upon two models. The station rotation model’s ability to incorporate targeted small group instruction within a large class setting by utilizing technology to complement in-class lessons appealed to me for elementary students while the ability of the flex model to accommodate the complicated schedules of older students seemed a good fit for secondary students. While the flex model was new to me and I became intrigued by its potential applications, particularly with vulnerable demographics.
This assignment demonstrates my familiarity with the different models of blended learning and my ability to critically assess and evaluate resources for best practice in an online learning by determining the best blended learning models and online instruction resources for my proposed learning environment as well as my ability to plan learning opportunities suitable to the strengths and challenges of a variety of environments. It also highlights my ability to design inclusive learning environments by incorporating aboriginal teachings, values and customs, using technology to further personalize instruciton and creating a schedule that accomodates the needs of the community.
Creating this mock proposal gave me pause to consider the constraints that exist in my current teaching and learning environment. I had not really considered how limiting the school calendar, bell schedule or a building could be. I was fascinated by blended learning's potential to eliminate, or at least work within, these constraints to improve instruction. In my proposed ideal blended learning environment I opted to create a year-round blended schooling model, something our current calendar precludes. The station rotation model selected for primary students, however is something that can easily be implemented in the existing system.
Blended learning capitalizes on the benefits of a connectivist approach to learning by allowing students to network with experts and peers online and to broaden their knowledge base and providing a wider audience for their own work and benefit from the audience effect. I certainly benefited from sharing this project with others and by being invited to view the work of my colleagues.
My chosen artefact, a narrated Google Slide presentation, addresses many learning styles much in the same manner blended learning does. It has an audio track for auditory learners, and graphics for visual learners, While it has limitations, the ability to include graphics, text audio, video and a question and answer back channel makes it a powerful tool.
My mock proposal for a blended First Nations school demonstrates my ability to identify a need, or area of non-consumption, and design a plan to address this need. It highlights my ability to address the complexity of creating a comprehensive plan by considering a variety of elements such as a composition of an implementation team, timeline, bell schedule, daily schedule, budget and building design.
In general, the school system has missed opportunities to design more inclusive learning environments and has defaulted to a traditional model. With so many models of blended learning it is feasible to redesign our instructional model, even when we cannot necessarily control most elements of the physical learning environment.
Incorporating blended learning into one’s instructional design can reap academic, classroom management and financial benefits. With technology being so embedded in the lives of our students it makes sense to tap into their interest and proficiency with these tools using a blended learning model.
I have already added an online instruction element to my existing station rotation model in the form of access to Lexia using three (3) devices during our Daily 5 routine. I am hopeful that its effectivess will be proven through administration of standardized reading assesments and other authentic assessments throughout the course of the year.
I chose to use Videoscribe to present my assignment on implementing a blended learning model into my current learning environment. Videoscribe is a fun tool one can use to animate text and graphics.
Creating this project made me evaluate the different blended models and assess which one would be most feasible to implement in my classroom. With access to a computer lab, a class website and an existing station rotation mode I opted for a station rotation model supplemented with some lab rotation and flipped lessons. This required selecting an appropriate provider online language arts instruction, updating the class website and repurposing some existing technology.
The inclusion of online instruction reduced the size of groups at existing stations, offered more variety to students and increased engagement The data provided by my selected online resource provides reports on student progress and lesson plans that target specific skills. The intention is to use this information to provide more effective small group instruction while other students are occupied in other learning activities.
I learned that incorporating blended learning does not necessarily require a large budget or major changes to teaching practices. It simply requires deliberate thought on how to use existing resources more effectively.
This artefact demonstrates my ability to plan learning opportunities most suitable to the appropriate environment and learner in a format which should appeal to visual learners with its animated text and graphics.
Competency with design and implementation within a variety of learning environments and tools is an essential school for online educators or educators striving to bolster student achievement through blended learning. A wide variety of models of blending exists and each model has inherent benefits and challenges. Critically assessing each model to determine its suitable for the needs of the students and educators is vitally important.
I have already implemented online instruction into my practice and have seen an increase in student engagement. I look forward to assessing its effectiveness in accelerating student achievement when testing is administered.