Learning that combines face to face and online learning is a theory called blended learning. Blended learning is defined by the Clayton Christensen Institute as, “a formal education program in which a student learns:
- at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace;
- at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home;
- and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.”
The first step in creating the blended learning environment is to have a digital workflow. Schoology is the learning management system we use in Bellevue Public Schools which provides a consistent digital workflow for educators, students, and parents. In providing a digital workflow, teachers have the tools to design instruction that is efficient, differentiated, and private.
After being in many classrooms over the years, I know the currency of the classroom is time. Teachers are masters of time management. However, even the time efficient classrooms lose time on managing the paperwork. Handing out papers 21st century style can be done with a click of a button. To turn in assignments, students simply click submit and the work is curated and waiting for teachers to grade. Leveraging Schoology for online grading reduces the assessment feedback cycle. Students love the speedy feedback and teachers enjoy an efficient workflow with more time to invest in planning and delivering instruction.
In any given classroom, there are no two people who learn the same way at the same pace. When courses are designed to give students control of the path and pace of their learning, differentiation occurs organically. When students have the flexibility to interact with the material that best meets their individual learning needs, differentiation occurs and leads students to success.
One efficient blended learning strategy is called the in class flip where teachers create a short video lecture. When students access the teacher created videos, the traditional classroom workflow changes. These teacher created videos allow students the freedom to listen to a lecture at his/her own pace. This sounds like a simple concept, but this is a game changer for students. For the first time students now have the power to rewind, pause, and play their teacher delivering the content as many times as individually needed. Even better, students can control the pacing of a lecture by either decreasing or increasing the rate of speech. Many students find controlling the pacing increases their comprehension of the material and allows them to work independently at their own pace.
Another way Schoology allows teachers to differentiate is the ability to create and distribute multiple assessments so students can have the exam that meets their needs. Teachers can also allow multiple attempts on formative assessments giving students private, immediate feedback on their responses. With assessment data in hand, students can go back to course materials and continue to study and learn exactly what they need.
Do you remember the days in the classroom where you may have had a burning question, but were paralyzed to ask because you didn’t want to embarrass yourself? Or did you wish you could try a quiz again, but didn’t want anyone else to know? How about when papers were handed out and everyone could see your paper bleeding red as it was handed back to you?
When teachers leverage the assignment, assessment, and discussion features students are provided feedback privately. This happens when teachers develop their courses in Schoology and create assignments. Each assignment can be distributed to an individual, group, or the entire class. For example, one group of students may need one assignment, while another group, a different assignment. These are all pushed to students through Schoology and in such a way that Group A doesn’t know they have different materials than group B.
Another scenario that frequently occurs is the need for a student to have a test read aloud. Schoology makes this a simple workflow for both the teacher and student. For example, a teacher can make a recording of a test or quiz and record the audio in Schoology. The student accesses the audio file in Schoology which provides them the assistance they need to be successful.
Crafting instruction that is efficient, differentiated, and private is one of the many reasons we love using Schoology as our learning management system to provide the first pillar of blended learning, a consistent digital workflow.
Written by Ann Feldmann
Blended Learning Definitions. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2017, from https://www.christenseninstitute.org/blended-learning-definitions-and-models/