|Photo: Learning & Development Professional|
An article recently published in Edsurge by Stepan Mekhitarian, Blended Learning and Data Coordinator for the Los Angeles Unified School District, outlined the importance of understanding blended learning through innovative professional development.
It suggested that as more educators begin to see the “tremendous impact” that blended learning can have on student learning and engagement, school leaders have begun scrambling to train teachers on how to utilise technology to enhance instruction.
“This has proven to be challenging since many current administrators have limited experience with blended learning given the relative newness of the approach,” the article stated.
It pointed to two common practices used during professional development sessions that are limited in their applicability and effectiveness:
“First, teachers learn about multiple sites or tools they can use in their classrooms and are given time to experiment with them,” the article stated.
“Second, teachers discuss instructional practice for application in a traditional classroom, but are then expected to apply it in a blended setting.”
The issue, it went on to say, was that “neither of these practices melds effective pedagogical practice with educational technology to train teachers on how to offer individualised differentiation and constructivist learning opportunities for students.”
Instead, the author suggested a different approach, which it outlined below:
Start with a pedagogical concept such as questioning or grouping that applies to all teachers.
If your school has access to teacher performance data as it relates to specific pedagogical practices, such as performance reflections using the Danielson Framework, you may consider using it to inform your planning. The objective for professional development should be to improve instructional practice, not to introduce a blended learning resource.
Decide how blended learning can enhance teacher learning during professional development.
As you plan the session, identify an appropriate point in the instruction in which a blended learning tool can be introduced to further advance learning and progress toward the objective.
For example, if the professional development session focuses on questioning, you can use an online collaborative site such as Google Docs to have participants work together to construct answers to given questions and then brainstorm ways to increase the rigor of the questions to result in even stronger responses.
Source: Learning & Development Professional