Another title for today’s blog post could be “Blending Learning Effectively.” I have been deeply interested in blended learning for the past two years and I must say that I have come a long way in my understanding of how to craft engaging lessons that will help my students think deeply and learn successfully.
At first, I was reactive in my efforts to flip lessons. I had a student that was going to be absent for a significant amount of time due to a major surgery. My principal suggested flipping lessons to help her keep up with the work of her peers. The only thing I could think of was to tape the lessons that I was teaching the rest of the class and later post them on my classroom website. It quickly became apparent to me that I was missing something because as I reviewed my videos, I could see that my lessons tended to “wander.” Could I, let along a student, sum up the learning target in 1 or 2 sentences afterwards?
I began to experiment with different platforms to deliver content. I learned that opportunities to interact to the lesson and draw upon prior knowledge resulted in increased student success. I learned that students performed better when they had the chance to work in cooperative learning groups. I used to think that the sky was the limit in my potential to provide individualized instruction for my students with the use of technology. Perhaps one of the biggest “aha” moments was when I read in John Hattie’s “Visible Learning” book for the first time that individualized instruction has a low effect size (translation-didn’t give much bang for its buck).
I have included some resources here today that I will be sharing with my colleagues that are interested in learning more about blended learning. One of the most powerful and influential books that I have been reading this year is “Visible Learning for Teachers Maximizing Impact on Learning.” If you are familiar with Hattie’s work, you will recognize some of the suggested instructional elements in both the SlideShare and the notes to accompany the presentation.
Click on the following link to access notes that support learning activities that go along with this session: Blended learning notes
Click here to access examples of K-12 flipped lessons to evaluate.
You’re almost done! I first delivered this presentation at the 2014 MN TIES Educational Technology Conference with my co-presenter, Mike Henderson. Click here to access our resources page. You will find a brochure to accompany the presentation in addition to examples of student lessons. (Note: the Layar science and social studies activities are time sensitive and are no longer “active.” If interested in experiencing the lesson through the eyes of a student, just email be at email@example.com and I will send you current campaigns.)
Enjoy and, as always, if there are any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me or comment below.
Reflection time…that’s what today offers me. The last month has been bursting with new iPad applications and my students have been loving it. I have been loving it. Our first snow day was the first week of December and I couldn’t help but feel let down. After the roads were plowed and school was back in session, I was greeting my students in the hallway at 8:15 a.m. “Mrs. Rengo,” one little boy said. “There was no school yesterday.” “I know,” I replied. “It was a snow day.” The boy went on to say, “I was so disappointed.” I could relate and that is when I knew that technology not only increases student engagement but teacher engagement as well.
What has been happening in my classroom to keep me so engaged? The answer is simple. AR (Augmented Reality). I had the privilege of attending an iDesign workshop by Naomi Harm. As usual, she delivered a rich presentation. (A link to her blog is found in my blog roll.)
As a first grade teacher, I am accustomed to teaching a skill to a group of 6 and 7 year olds and having some of them “get it” the first time and some not. (Some need even a second, third, or fourth exposure). Aurasma is the perfect remedy for this. I learned that I could transform my word wall and math vocab wall and make it interactive. My students could record videos of science experiments, word work lessons (anything really) and watch them again later.
Once you understand the process, Aurasma is simple to use. It involves capturing a short video, pairing it with a “trigger image,” and then publishing it to a channel to later view on demand. I began by making my own Aurasmas and then moved on to teaching my students how to make their own because I just couldn’t keep up with the demand. Teaching my students how to make their own was one of the best things I have ever done (instantaneous ownership).
Another favorite app of mine is Layar. Layar allows me to take posters that I create using the app Pic Collage and move beyond 2-D. I can add links to YouTube videos and pictures to reinforce a concept.
What was the first thing I made with Layar? Several years ago I made a poster to teach different letter sounds to help students understand bossy e, double vowels, etc. in reading. It was a hodgepodge of hand drawings and clip art but I was pretty proud of it. I thought “What a great way to teach sounds in reading.” That was then and this is now. Now, my students take the amped up version of my sounds poster and use Layar to view different YouTube videos that show reinforce the spelling rules though song. How engaging!
The bottom line is that I now have the tools to help my students practice important skills independently (making the best use of their time AND mine. Yeah!)
(Pictured below: A sound chart and reading strategy poster that I created using Pic Collage on the iPad. I then used Layar to add various videos to illustrate important concepts.)