Happy New Year! I am very excited to start 2013 with an exciting blended learning project I designed for a 3rd grade math class in an urban school district. This project started as an assignment in my Educational Technology master’s program through American College of Education. This is not just a project for me; but rather a passion and mission.
I am an instructional technology coach for three elementary schools in an urban district in the Midwest. The district educates over 9,000 students kindergarten through 12th grade. Access to technology has increased dramatically over the past 5 years. Every kindergarten through eight grade class is equipped with Promethean Boards and ActiExpression/ActiVotes. The district has also rolled out over 1,500 iPads in the past two years. Recently, the district created five instructional technology coaching positions to provide job-embedded technology support and professional development for the elementary teachers. I was blessed to have been placed in one of these positions. While the positions have only been around for one semester, we are receiving wonderful feedback from teachers and students regarding technology integration.
The Common Core math standard for this unit is Number & Operations – Fractions 1 and 2 (3.NF.A.1 & 3.NF.A.2). Based upon the Common Core Standards, third grade is the first time students learn about fractions (Common Core Standards, 2012). It is critical that the foundation for fractions is strong. In my experiences teaching middle school math, students lack fractional understanding, not at the fault of any teachers. Society has spent too much time playing the blaming game, educators, blaming parents, and students on why students are not learning. This is a waste of energy and resources. I am going to focus on my energies creating a fraction unit using research based methods and strategies. This unit encompasses two research-based teaching strategies; differentiation and blended learning.
Blended learning is defined as a shift from lecture to student-centered instruction that increases interactions among student-instructor, student-student, student-content, and student-outside resources (Watson, 2008). Formative and summative assessments are integrated through the course to guide learning for students and teachers (Watson, 2008). The flipped classroom usually comes to mind when discussing blended learning. Students watch short video clips at home in the evenings, return to school the next day, and use class time as tutoring sessions. Rather the teacher is the mediator that the holder of the knowledge.
My goal through this blog is to share my experience and start conversations surrounding blended learning. I hope I have caught your attention and desire to follow my blog throughout this journey. Tomorrow, I will post a detailed description of the unit. I welcome any comments or feedback.
Watson, J. (2008). Blended learning:The convergence of online and face-to-face
education. Vienna, VA: North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL).
Core Standards (2012). Retrieved on December 4, 2012 from