Strategies to help develop the right environment for blended learning.
This article, along with a video on New Mexico's statewide hybrid learning program, NM-IDEAL, originally appeared in T.H.E. Journal's August 2012 digital edition.
Jan Fletcher reports, "Blended learning exists at the intersection between traditional face-to-face instruction and online learning, although to what extent each component is employed is open to interpretation. The ratio between offline and online instruction can vary widely from school to school, but both elements must be present to qualify as true blended learning."
|Photo: THE Journal|
1) Assess Student Learning Goals Through Collaboration
Since schools traditionally measure student progress by seat time, a model in which part of the learning happens outside the classroom presents new challenges, requiring districts to figure out both how to assure that learning is really taking place and how to stay accountable to state systems. One solution: Bring stakeholders at the school together regularly to collaborate on how students are progressing.
Elaine Manicke, principal of Rio Rancho Cyber Academy in Rio Rancho, NM, and her team build this collaboration right into their schedule, meeting every Friday to review the previous week's student activities, catalog specific student goals achieved, and ensure that all the activities teachers and students undertake are documented in order to meet mandates. "We have done this in such depth, we know the program, we know the curriculum, and we have a governance model that provides for collaboration," she says.
Heidi Parnell, program manager of the Rio Rancho Cyber Academy, says her district's first LMS provider took up to two weeks to process grade changes, which caused some in the district to lose enthusiasm for the program. A change in vendors, however, rekindled their dedication.
Specifically, the new vendor provided educators, students, and parents with separate system log-ins, allowing them to share documents and information among themselves. "That information is being shared with all stakeholders now," Parnell says. "That helps those students be accountable for what they're doing, and it helps the school to know that everything is being documented--that beyond the shadow of a doubt the data is there for everyone."
The relationship between the district and the vendor should be viewed as a long-term partnership--one that fosters cooperative problem solving throughout its life.
Source: THE Journal