Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Best Way to Blend a Classroom.

Class, Student, Classroom, Learn  The last time I attended a talk on blended classrooms, it turned out to be one of those "Oh we use this program", it does this and this and this and its how we do our blended classroom.

After I heard the talk, I wondered exactly what is the definition of blended classroom.  I've heard the term bandied about but I wasn't sure about it.  It is defined as the mix of technology with face to face instruction.  In other words, it combines classroom learning with on-line learning.

It turns out the flipped classroom is one model of blended learning. There are other models but the one thing advised is for teachers to look at the way they are currently doing things and decide what works best for face to face instruction and what might be better for digital content.  These are very good words.

Education Week has a great article on a 5th grade teacher who integrated blended learning into his classroom.  The blended learning allows him to spend less time teaching because students are spending more time on computers and in small groups.

A general lesson might look contain a mini-lesson focusing on a specific skill or standard based on the results from Khan Academy. If a student has not mastered the skill, they participate in the warmup and mini lesson while the students who have mastered the skill move on to another topic. 

At the beginning of each unit, the teacher posts the list of lessons associated with the standards being addressed.  This way students know exactly what will be covered and can monitor their own learning.  At the end of each class, he has students give a shout-out or a pat on the back for something they worked on.

Based on the description, I would say I have a blended but not flipped classroom because I use technology in the form of apps that work on scaffolding skills.  Most students in one class have trouble solving basic one and two step equations, so I have them work on a game that has them practice this skill while I move on.  Students in my Algebra II class have difficulty rewriting standard form equations into point slope form so I have them working on that skill as we move on to solving systems of equations by substitution. 

I sometimes have my College Prep math class bring their headphones so they can work their way through a unit at Khan Academy.  I use this resource a lot when it comes to solving Trigonometric equations and verifying identities.  It is a great resource for improving understanding and skills. 

So Blended does not always mean you have to rely on a paid platform.  It just involves an online component that helps students learn.  Have a nice day.