Friday, June 13, 2014

Blended Learning and Beyond

As educators we never stop growing as instructional leaders. We keep expanding our knowledge and look for innovative ways to reach our students each day. We embrace best practice and share what we have learned through collaboration on the various social media platforms such as twitter and Voxer. As you start to think about what lies ahead for the upcoming school year be thinking about the following topics that could impact your teaching, and learning, in your classroom come August.

1. Blended Learning - Depending on who you ask, it can mean a variety of things. In it's most simplest forms it is combining the learning that takes place through a brick-and-mortar facility and adding an online component. There is a great article via te@chthought with an info-graphic to answer questions you may have. Depending on where you work, Blended Learning may already be a discussion that is occurring. For schools in Ohio, follow Ohio Blended Learning on twitter for what is happening across the state. Also, here is how the conversation is coming together for the Hilliard City Schools for this coming school year with their teachers and students. 

Additional Blended Learning Resources from Te@chThought:

2. Assessment and Grading - Measuring a students retention of information is as hot of a topic as they come in today's academic landscape. With many states heading toward the PARCC we as educators need ensure we are keeping the instructional integrity of the classroom alive. Education experts such as Rick Wormeli and Ken O'Connor continue to lead the charge and share their passion for what is best for students and teachers with grading and assessments. How we assess students learning, the format in which we chose to measure that knowledge and what it is exactly that we are attempting to measure are all found within their work. It is imperative that we evaluate our assessments, our grading practices and how we hold teachers accountable for their instruction. For more, ASCD has some great resources on Standards-Based Grading here to allow you to dive even deeper into the topic.

3. Personalized Learning - As educators we have been working with the term "differentiation" for years. We know about taking each child from their starting point and working to grow them a years worth academically for the year we have them in our class according to the school calendar. Personalized Learning is at our door front. Schools across the world are having rich conversations about each student having their own pathway to success. We are now creating academic portfolios that not only assign a student their work but also have assessments that measure their knowledge in a way that best suits their learning style. Learning anytime, anyway, anywhere is at the core of personalized learning. Check out this article from The Glossary of Educational Reform for more.

Here is a great resource from Barbara Bray as she compares the various terms of Personalization, Differentiation and Individualization:

These three are just the tip of the iceberg. The list can include so much more as you gear up for the 2014/2015 school year. Topics such as the use of social media, the ongoing implementation of the Common Core and school climate just to name a few that Peter DeWitt lays out in 10 Critical Issues Facing Education.

As always, keep the learning alive and be prepared for great things to happen during your upcoming school year. Spend some time now learning and researching about what's great in the world of education and how it will impact your instructional leadership going forward.


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