Blended Learning is a term that is often misused. Classrooms with students using Ipads and/or laptops are being defined as a “blended learning” environment simply because there is consistent use, however blended learning emphasizes student-centered learning and ensures that students are in control of some aspect of their education (pace, time, location). Blended learning must take place inside a classroom, must be in part online, and must provide an integrated learning experience, meaning the online component must connect to the face-to-face learning to deliver a superior learning experience. I have witnessed several teachers use technology as a means of substituting a worksheet and then refer to themselves as a blended classroom. Once I began to dig deeper into blended classrooms, I discovered a new world of learning that I knew I wanted to be apart of.
This school year, I am fortunate enough to continue working with the same group of students from last year and will move up with them to 5th grade. My students and I have practiced using flipped learning last year, but unfortunately I introduced it later in the year so we only used this method a few times. Flipped learning is having students watch lecture videos outside the classroom and using valuable classroom time to actively work towards goals by using student centered learning activities. My plan is to effectively apply this model of learning throughout the school year in an effort to increase guided learning inside the classroom.
For 2-3 days a week, I will be switching homework time and lecture time for my students. They will be responsible for watching videos from home on those nights as a way to front load the information before applying it. Classroom time will become a time for active learning, which research show is far more effective than passive learning (Horn, Staker, p.43).
The goal of my innovation plan is to increase student success by measuring their growth during guided practice. A flipped classroom increases individualized practice, collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. Lectures will take place online for the students to view at home, respond, and reflect. When the students come together, they will be prepared to collaborate with their peers and apply their understandings with me in a small group rotation.
My guided practice table will be called “Evidence of Learning” station and I will rotate with small groups until I have seen every student that day. It is extremely important to have a lesson plan prepared for guided practice to ensure that we are actively working towards progression. I will also be able to measure understanding, reteach concepts, support student weaknesses, challenge high achievers, and review data for effectiveness. Another component that is important to me is giving students an opportunity to reflect on their learning by posting questions, and giving feedback to their classmates’ posts after our guided time. I always welcome the opportunity for students to be in control of our group discussions because it truly is their classroom, I am merely a facilitator.
The flipped learning model is a great solution for increasing student success through an increase of active learning. I look forward to student progression as a result of implementing this style of blended learning. According to Horn, M. B., & Staker (2015), an integrated learning experience is defined in Blended as the “online and face-to-face components work together to deliver an integrated course,” (p.35). This layer of blended learning uses formal learning (teacher instruction) and an online component to create a student-centered experience.
Horn, M. B., & Staker, H. (n.d.). Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools.