General Blog Posts

Blended Learning-Our Future

Blended Learning is a trending learning model to help students succeed in their learning.  Today, as educators we are tasked with engaging the 21st century learner. Direct instruction and lectures are not enough. We don’t get rid of those traditional models, we enhance them with technology and other tools that we now have access to. I have ascertained that LEARNING is the primary focus for students. There are many tools out there to help meet this goal. Dr. H has drilled this concept and I think I finally got it! 🙂 Thank you! Check out this short video to peak your interest!

I am proposing some pretty innovative concepts for my school. I believe these models will be extremely beneficial to our students, parents, and teachers. I hope you enjoy reading this proposal.

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Because I really believe in this proposed project and this is something that I want to see happen at my school, I really dove into researching supporting articles for the Flipped Classroom and Station Rotation. These are concepts that our school has been interested in for awhile, but had’t had success in follow through. My goal is to make sure this project is carried out and given time to be successful. Click on the image below to experience my Literature Review. The information provided in the review is a mere piece of the supporting information for Blended Learning. Enjoy!!!!

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Of course with any project, there must be a plan to follow to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Planning must be thorough and include steps to monitor goals and adjust if necessary. With all that said, we must keep our eye on the target, which is student learning. Of course there will be hiccups and readjustments, but a well thought out plan will have room for growing pains. Check out my plan to implement the Flipped Classroom, Station Rotation, and Individualized Homework. Implementation Plan-Final


NEXT STEPS…..

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Once I began researching, I felt like I couldn’t stop. I am amazed at how much information is out there about blended learning and the insane results that are being generated. My goal is to be a resource to my campus as we implement this project. How can I do this? This is only possible by keeping myself knowledgeable of the vast amounts of information that is available at my fingertips, whether it is from videos online or more literature.

Here are some more videos about blended learning and how elementary schools are currently using the flipped classroom and station rotation.

This video focuses on the why and how of the flipped classroom model.

This video shows you how the flipped classroom has worked in an elementary school.

Another model of blended learning, focusing on station rotation.

I like to learn from others, there is so much research out there about blended learning. I am learning that this is really not as new of a concept as I originally thought. Here are some books that I plan to read or listen to the audiobook if available. I have become a audiobook fanatic!

Blended Learning in Action: A Practical Guide Toward Sustainable Change

I am really intrigued about this book. Tucker is also featured in the youtube video about blended learning above. She discusses the station rotation model. This book focuses on increasing student engagement through the use of blended learning, using technology as a tool.  

 

 

 

 

Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World– October 18, 2011

Who doesn’t want to get smarter? Ark discusses why students should be exposed to digital learning. This is where our world is headed. We need to be on the side of preparing our students for the future. It appears he shares stories of success as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Ask Us: Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement (Corwin Teaching Essentials) 1st Edition

What better way to find out what students expect in school! This book is full of student quotes and what they want in a learning environment. It will be interesting to see the different perspectives of the many students surveyed. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Professional Developments I would like to experience:

ISTE 2019: https://conference.iste.org/2019/ 

JUNE 23-26, 2019: This conference seems like a digital educator dream. ISTE is responsible for digital learning standards and is a great resource in the digital education world.

Blended and Personalized Learning Conference: https://blendedlearningconference.com

APRIL 4-6, 2019: An entire conference on blended learning! This would be a great opportunity for the pilot teachers of the blended learning program to get some valuable information and exposure to how blended learning is working across the nation.


We have the ability to truly engage our students with authentic learning experiences. Keeping our focus on student learning will greatly benefit all stakeholders involved. We want to be able to plant in students the capability of true problem solving and critical thinking. We also want to prepare them for the future. Technology or school are not going anywhere anytime in the foreseeable future. Let’s use these two tools to increase student learning! 

 

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Implementation Plan-Final

Step One-Plan with everyone in mind

  1. Form a committee and present proposal to help support stakeholder buy in
  2. Survey Teachers on comfortability with instruction online
  3. Survey Parents to identify their technology capabilities at home-internet and devices available.
  4. Committee will review and analyze results from surveys.

Step Two-Investigate Platforms for Station Rotation, Flipped Classroom, and Individualized Homework

  1. Committee will review current online platforms teachers have access to that are part of curriculum subscriptions.
  2. Review these platforms capability of meeting the requirements of the blended learning program.
  3. Investigate other platforms such as Istation, IXL, and Reasoning Minds
    1. Grade levels served
    2. Device compatibility
    3. Cost

Step Three-Present findings to Principal and Business Manager

  1. Committee will discuss the platforms we are proposing to use.
    1. Benefits
    2. Case Studies
    3. Cost, if any

Step Four-Create presentation for teachers

  1. Presentation will include benefits of blending learning.
  2. Demonstrate the use of the selected platforms.
  3. Presentation will feature a Q&A session.
  4. Evaluation tool of presentation from teachers.

Step Five-Parent and Community Meeting

  1. A parent meeting will be conducted to inform them of the blended learning program.
  2. Benefits will be discussed as well as prospective results.
  3. Q&A session will be held during parent meeting.

Step Six- Choose Pilot Grade Levels

  1. STAAR testing grades will pilot the program in Math and Reading.

Step Seven-Begin Program

  1. Students will take assessments to determine individualized paths.
  2. Begin Station Rotation in Daily and Friday RTI time.
  3. Use platform to assign student instruction via videos.
  4. Students and teachers will recieve instantaneous feedback on progress.

Step Eight-Monitor and Differentiate

  1. Monitor student progress from individualized reports.
  2. Assist teachers with differentiating instructional activities.
  3. Assess students with bi-weekly CBA’s.
  4. Meet with students to assess their feedback and the feedback they have received from the individualized learning reports.

Step Nine-Support and Collaboration

  1. Meet with pilot teachers weekly to receive feedback on the program.
  2. Set aside time for pilot teachers to meet weekly to support each other.

Step Ten-Observations and Collaboration

  1. Set-up classroom observations for teachers not in the pilot.
  2. Teachers will have the opportunity to observe how the program works.
  3. Set-up collaboration meetings so pilot and non-pilot teachers have an opportunity to discuss pros and concerns of the program. This will be an opportunity for non-pilot teachers for questions and answers.

Step Eleven-Report

  1. Send home bi-weekly progress reports from individualized learning reports.
  2. Report findings to Principal.
  3. Report findings to Committee.

Step Twelve-Analyze, Review, and Update

  1. Surveys will be issued to pilot teachers, students, and parents.
  2. Surveys will target feedback for ease of program, student progress, as well as open ended questions for other comments or concerns.
  3. Results from surveys will reviewed by the committee and the Principal to make necessary changes for the upcoming school year.

Blended Learning Implementation Draft

I look forward to your comments and suggestions. This is a very rough draft of what I was thinking.

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Implementation Draft

Step One-Plan with everyone in mind

  1. Form a committee and present proposal to help support stakeholder buy in
  2. Survey Teachers on comfortability with instruction online
  3. Survey Parents to identify their technology capabilities at home-internet and devices available.
  4. Committee will review and analyze results from surveys.

Step Two-Investigate Platforms for Station Rotation, Flipped Classroom, and Individualized Homework

  1. Committee will review current online platforms teachers have access to that are part of curriculum subscriptions.
  2. Review these platforms capability of meeting the requirements of the blended learning program.
  3. Investigate other platforms such as Istation, IXL, and Reasoning Minds
    1. Grade levels served
    2. Device compatibility
    3. Cost

Step Three-Present findings to Principal and Business Manager

  1. Committee will discuss the platforms we are proposing to use.
    1. Benefits
    2. Case Studies
    3. Cost, if any

Step Four-Create presentation for teachers

  1. Presentation will include benefits of blending learning.
  2. Demonstrate the use of the selected platforms.
  3. Presentation will feature a Q&A session.
  4. Evaluation tool of presentation from teachers.

Step Five-Parent and Community Meeting

  1. A parent meeting will be conducted to inform them of the blended learning program.
  2. Benefits will be discussed as well as prospective results.
  3. Q&A session will be held during parent meeting.

Step Six- Choose Pilot Grade Levels

  1. STAAR testing grades will pilot the program in Math and Reading.

Step Seven-Begin Program

  1. Students will take assessments to determine individualized paths.
  2. Begin Station Rotation in Daily and Friday RTI time.
  3. Use platform to assign student instruction via videos.

Step Eight-Monitor and Differentiate

  1. Monitor student progress from individualized reports.
  2. Assist teachers with differentiating instructional activities.
  3. Assess students with bi-weekly CBA’s.

Step Nine-Report

  1. Send home bi-weekly progress reports from individualized learning reports.
  2. Report findings to Principal.

The Wrap-Up (5303)

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I am not sure where to begin! This class has really had a dramatic effect on me. I guess that is the point of the class. In our last class, 5302, I was introduced to CSLE and COVA. Now I can truly say, I appreciate these concepts. I feel like I have learned so much in a short period of time. The guidance provided seemed a little challenging initially. Being given a choice in how I demonstrate my learning is priceless. Failing Forward, the book by John C. Maxwell, was not a required read for this class, but it was referenced in either the 1st or 2nd class conference. The ideas that were shared from this book, inspired to me actually read it. I am glad I did. The principles discussed in this book help embrace the COVA model. When I began, I was unsure of how I was going to accomplish creating an Eportfolio, especially because I didn’t know what it was or how it would benefit me. Fast forward a few weeks later, I am constantly thinking about what I can blog about or what I can add to my site.

The connections that have been in this class, I feel are going to be professional collaborators and partners even after we finish this class and program. I only wish other classes focus on collaboration and networking, I believe this component made all the difference. We were able to share thoughts, fears, give advice, and just be an ear to each other. We were also encouraged to give each other meaningful feedback, this was quite beneficial. Reviewing other Eportfolios gives me inspiration and new ideas.

There are things in my Eportfolio that still need fine tuning. I am still trying to figure out how to add tags and I just learned that I don’t have the capability to add videos directly from a file. In order for me to add a video, I have to upload it to YouTube and then share it to my page. Not sure how I feel about that yet.

I have designed and established a place that belongs to me where I can share, document my learning, and revisit ideas. This is definitely just the beginning!

Failing Forward

This is a phenomenal overview of the principals shared by John C. Maxwell in his book Failing Forward. I recently finished listening to the audiobook and was blown away. Maxwell shares some fundamental ideas of overcoming your fear of failure. I relished in the stories of well known individuals and their journeys to success. One of the most significant ideas I took away was to separate yourself from the act of the failure. You are not a failure, but failed at something. I truly believe people have a difficult time separating the two. If you have not read the book, I admonish you to either read it or listen to the audiobook. It is quite eye opening. Until then, enjoy the overview of the 15 steps to overcoming failure.

References

Mental Reach. (2016, January 31). Overcoming Your Fear | Failing Forward Animation Notes. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://youtu.be/htk6DQKzN0w

Importance of Viewing Other Eportfolios

Over the course of creating my Eportfolio, I have learned a lot about myself and my capabilities. When I first began, my thoughts were, “Oh my gosh…. I don’t know anything about creating a website!” Now, I have embraced it and quite pleased with what I have created. I really appreciated viewing the examples of the Eportfolios as well as reviewing my peers Eportfolios. It is evident, no two Eportfolios are the same. Each one is unique in its own way, highlighting the owner of the Eportfolio showcasing their learning and reflections. It also gave me an opportunity to learn from them, professionally borrow. Lol! There is so much that I would like to add to my Eportfolio, now it’s just figuring out the best way to accomplish that. Levi Harapnuik’s Eportfolio is impressive and it made sense when he said his Eportfolio is “helping him develop his brand.” This is so true and is exactly what we are doing…. establishing our own brand. There were some very appealing sites with lots of color, images, videos, and items that draw a person in. I also noticed all the detail and how well organized these sites are.

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The platform I decided to utilize was WordPress. It took a little bit of toying with before I found a theme I was happy with and establishing a flowing navigation. I also began with the free version, but after several reviews from my peers, it was conveyed to me there are quite a bit of ads all over my pages, which was extremely distracting. While designing the site, I was unaware of the ads, but then viewed the site as a spectator and not the creator. I discovered they were right! The ads were very distracting, diminishing the context of the site. I then paid for the domain and now I own it without any ads. It looks so much better!  I would like to add more pictures and videos to my Eportfolio, I would also like to add a lot of content to my Math and Science pages. I love Math and Science, this is a major component of job. I want to be able to add pertinent content. I have not figured out how to add without adding a bunch of different pages. I don’t know if the page is static or not. I need to find a tutorial to help with the development of these pages. I would also like to do a voice over for something, not sure what yet, but I think it’s pretty neat.

So, my next feat will be how to bring people to my site. I am little scared about this, but I am confident I have crafted something that people can learn from and appreciate. I welcome feedback and thoughts from others. I can’t wait until I get my first comment on my site!

Importance of Owning Your Eportfolio

This idea of who owns the Eportfolio is quite interesting. In my opinion, the learner owns it depending on the platform. This is discussed thoroughly in the article, The Web we Need to Give Students. Watters argues when students use Eportfolios owned by the school, student work is not genuinely theirs. In many cases the work is archived or deleted in the summer or when the student graduates, they are not able to take the work with them. This is disturbing because all of the reflections and learning that occurred never really belonged to them and is lost to a digital trashcan. Dr. Harapnuik revealed this same tragedy in one of his discussions, he lost years of work when transitioning from one entity to another. In this same article, Watters discusses how UMW launched Domain of One’s Choice and how it allows students to own their Eportfolio. This is amazing and doesn’t keep students work, it belongs the student. The COVA model is alive and well in this project. Students can decide the presentation of the learning, choosing from a plethora of ways to address their audience.

In the article, Do I Own My Own Domain If You Grade It, Rikard shares,

“I want to shift the emphasis from data possession to knowledge production. Gaining ownership over the data is vital—but until students see this domain as a space that rewards rigor and experimentation, it will not promote student agency. Traditional assignments don’t necessarily empower students when they have to post them in a public space.”

This is a profound statement. I have struggled with this same notion. I know these blogs are a part of an assignment that I must complete and will be judged and graded on. I want to be successful with the creation of my Eportfolio as well as adhere to the expectations. I am proud of what I have created thus far, however don’t feel that I have met all the necessary requirements. There are several interesting topics out there and glad that I have the choice to discuss them and share my learning and thoughts. At this point I am battling with the feeling of just publicly posting my assignments. I know that I will continue to build my Eportfolio for me and my audience. The learning curve for me is surreal because I know how to use different medias, such as videos and pictures, I believe the real struggle is finding the time to create something that has a good design, flows, meets the requirements, and most importantly showcases who I am and making sure I have something I feel good about and will continue to use.

 

References

 

Rikard, A. (2018, March 13). Do I Own My Domain If You Grade It? – EdSurge News. Retrieved September 14, 2018, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-08-10-do-i-own-my-domain-if-you-grade-it

Waters, A. (2015, July 15). The Web We Need to Give Students – BRIGHT Magazine. Retrieved September 14, 2018, from https://brightthemag.com/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713

I’m Not a Math Person

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Mindshift published a fascinating article. In this article it connects mindset and Math. Many kids and adults are afraid of Math. It has been ingrained in them that Math is hard and only a Math person can be successful with Math. I must admit, while in primary and secondary school, I experienced these same fears. Reading and writing always seemed to be easier. My first spark for a passion of Math did not occur until I took Statistics in College. Yes, STATISTICS! This was probably one of my favorite courses. So what made the difference? The professor was amazing and inspired the class from onset. He gave clear instructions, gave us tons of practice, and his general positive mindset that we will be successful transpired to the class. I earned an A in this class because he shifted my mindset of what was possible in Math. I did not have to be a Math Wiz, I just needed to stay focused, drive myself, and open my mind to learn. I had to let that fear go. This culture he created was felt widespread, he was the most recommended Stats teacher.

When I began my teaching career, I fell completely in love with Math and Science. I remembered the environment for learning that professor created and wanted to create that same feeling for my learners. This article epitomizes how to do just that. Schwartz summarized a key concept of how learners can feel intimidated in their environment and the detrimental effects that can have.

….if a classroom climate is one of fixed ability, it will override a student’s own beliefs about his brain plasticity. This effect was even more pronounced when stereotype threat was present. Students were less likely to feel belonging and were less likely to engage with content. That, in turn, led to lower achievement and lower grades.

-Katrina Schwartz, 2016

Schwartz lists several ways to create the growth mindset in the classroom. Check out the article here:

https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/46905/how-to-integrate-growth-mindset-messages-into-every-part-of-math-class

References

Schwartz, K. (2016, December 06). How to Integrate Growth Mindset Messages Into Every Part of Math Class. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/46905/how-to-integrate-growth-mindset-messages-into-every-part-of-math-class

COVA-Choice, Ownership, Voice, and Authentic Learning

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The COVA learning approach has tremendously impacted my learning in this program. This learning approach allows you to customize your own evidence of learning. This learning approach needs to become the new traditional learning. At first, it can be intimidating if you are accustomed to being told exactly what to do. On one of my first week’s assignment, I challenged myself to present my evidence of learning differently than I normally would. I love doing PowerPoints and is my first go to for presentations. This time I chose to do a Prezi presentation. This was the first time I ever used this online program. I had no clue what I was doing and was quite frustrated in the beginning and almost gave up and went back to do a PowerPoint. I told myself this was the point of challenging myself, so I stuck with it and glad I did. I plan to continue to challenge myself and use other digital platforms for presenting my evidence of learning.

This model does appeal to me and what’s funny is I did use this approach when I was a teacher, I just didn’t know there was an actual model of this learning approach. I always wanted my students to learn from each other and meaningful learning experiences. I never saw value in assigning everyone the same project, such as the solar system. Having 22 models of the same information didn’t increase their knowledge of the solar system. Instead, I would assign students different planets or other objects in the sky. Students were given the guidelines for necessary information and then they could choose how they decided to present it.

I believe the most beneficial part of the COVA learning model is the ability to choose how you deliver your evidence of learning. Clear expectations are key in this learning model. Students must know what the finished product must include. I also think the choice component is a little challenging as well. Because I have the opportunity to choose, I am tasked with deciding on which digital platform I will use and make sure that my learning is clear and can be understood by my audience.