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blended learning

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.

This rigorous K5 online math curriculum can be tailored to specific students, and includes manipulative tools and game-like elements. DreamBox’s adaptive learning technology can analyze students’ answers and immediately adjust the lesson, creating a suitable pace for each student.

Year: 
2013

Located just outside Albuquerque, New Mexico, Rio Rancho Cyber Academy (RRCA) is an accredited, diploma-granting enriched virtual learning school that serves 180 students in grades 6-12, and is part of the Rio Rancho Public Schools. 49 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and 14 percent of students receive special education services.

In today’s blended learning environment, an increasing number of students and teachers have access to technology that extends the educational process well beyond the classroom walls. As part of this trend, school districts across the U.S. are implementing practices and policies that transform learning environments into one of participatory learning, for the purpose of improving student outcomes.

Participatory learning is a collaborative student-centered environment in which students learn from both their peers and teachers using digital media resources and other tools.

Educators too often treat instructional software for students like physical therapy for the injured: You get diagnosed for your specific injury, you undergo a physical therapy regimen, and one day you’re healthy again.

To implement blended learning effectively, administrators must gain a thorough understanding of the best tools, training, and processes necessary for teacher and student success. Thesys International offers custom curriculum designed to improve learning outcomes through blended learning. This web seminar, originally broadcast on October 25, 2012, featured Fairmont Preparatory Academy and the Pasadena (Calif.) Unified School District, which are in varying stages of implementing blended learning, with help from Thesys International.

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