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blended learning

More and more districts are pairing digital resources with classroom instruction. The variety and number of available curricula is also growing, which may leave administrators confused about how to evaluate their options for tools that help to meet Common Core and other standards, boost achievement, and more. This web seminar, originally broadcast on November 7, 2014, featured interactive, adaptive technology expert, Tim Hudson, and his tips for selecting the appropriate digital curricula for your district’s blended learning program.

Blended learning holds significant promise as a cost-effective and egalitarian means to help higher numbers of students accelerate their learning, graduate, and meet challenges in a competitive world. In this web seminar, orginially broadcast on September 18, 2013, education technology expert Tom Vander Ark shared the keys to making personalized learning work for the greatest number of students through adaptive digital instruction, particularly Intelligent Adaptive Learning.

Snow days are melting away as schools increasingly take advantage of online curriculum to keep students learning virtually during weather closures.

A blended learning approach to English Language Learner instruction has been demonstrated to produce better results, and more quickly than classroom instruction only. Thesys International has developed an Acquired English Proficiency program that utilizes blended learning to improve reading, speaking, and writing skills for ESL students. The program emphasizes academic English and better prepares them for mainstream courses in much shorter time than the national average.

Though just 19 percent of California’s elementary schools are using blended learning, another 20 percent are planning implementation.

Blended learning is becoming entrenched in California schools, but elementary schools and high schools are taking different approaches when integrating this learning technology.

Elementary schools are using the “station rotation” model, in which students in small groups may spend 20 minutes in a reading center, followed by 20 minutes at a computer using an online learning program, and an additional 20 minutes of small group instruction with the teacher.

Districts interested in implementing blended learning sometimes turn to teachers rather than outside providers to create online curriculum to integrate with in-class instruction. This method may save costs, but requires continuous professional development and access to devices for all students. Here are two districts just beginning to create blended learning solutions with teachers at the helm.

Students take control of learning

Students at Lewis and Clark High School in the Vancouver, Wash., work in small groups as part of their typical school day. 

School administrators overwhelmed by the idea of blended learning need not fear: many districts have successfully implemented one of four models now widely accepted in K12 education. Even more encouraging, some of these schools are seeing increased achievement, lower dropout rates, and other positive results.

A math lesson using ST Math is part of the new blended learning program at Ketcham Elementary School in the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Administrators often get excited about the possibilities for technology and personal devices to enhance learning. But education technology experts offer a warning: Don’t buy devices without a plan for how they will enhance learning.

Innovative and progressive blended learning strategies are being implemented in school districts across the United States. What started as an alternative to face-to-face instruction, blended learning programs have provided students the opportunity to have more control of their learning. Research by the Innosight Institute found that in 2000, roughly 45,000 K12 students took an online course and, by 2010, over 4 million students were participating in some kind of formal online learning program.

Project Tomorrow’s 2012 Speak Up National Research Project provides insight into what parents, principals, and other stakeholders would like to see in terms of technology, in and out of the classroom. These results can inform administrators’ plans and decisions. This web seminar, originally broadcast on July 11, 2013, addressed the respondents’ different views on the benefits of digital content in the classroom, the importance of personalized learning, and how specific technologies can be used to individualize instruction.

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