Heavy emphasis on state standards, high-stakes testing, and college requirements guides teachers on what to instruct, but there is an often-overlooked question that needs to be considered as well: how are you going to teach the concept?
Given that most teachers deliver instruction in the same way their teachers delivered it to them, this can be a challenging question to answer well, especially in blended and online learning environments. Change of practice and shifting mindset regarding the pedagogy and approach to instruction need support, training, and freedom to experiment. The craft of teaching and learning is developed like any other skill, through continuous practice and trial and error, and there are some easy steps to take to ensure you have your own breakthroughs in your classroom.
Here are five things to focus on to bring about a blended learning revolution in your classroom:
1. Seek out blended learning teacher training from experts and plan accordingly.
Start with learning about the pedagogy of blended learning, which is more than gaining access to a new technology or device and taking time to experiment with it in your classroom. You’ll see an enormous difference in classrooms that have technology at their disposal and implement true blended learning that leads to lasting knowledge and student growth. Partnering with a professional development (PD) provider that can assist in the change management and shifts in mindset that are critical to a technology implementation can start with taking a look at our six keys to effective PD sessions to begin with the end in mind and plan for a productive process.
2. Understand the shift in the role of the teacher and teach students expected behaviors and procedures.
Become familiar and comfortable with the idea that your roles as a teacher can shift away from being the single source of knowledge to a facilitator, intervenor, and guide depending on the needs of your students. Experienced PD providers will include the background, mentoring, and advice necessary to offer the blended learning teacher training needed to help educators make these shifts in their instruction. Effective technology use is only as good as the procedures and expectations placed on its use in the classroom. Today’s students typically come in with some digital know-how, but may not understand the effective use of technology for learning. Just like students need to learn the procedure to leave the classroom to go to the bathroom, they also need to learn the do’s and don’ts of using technology for learning.
3. Start a new project face-to-face, then bring in digital components to support exploration.
Efficacy of a technology implementation in the classroom must include equity of access and differentiation to meet the needs of all students. Like the strategies used with traditional curriculum implementations, workstations, rotation stations, and flexible grouping can all be utilized as starting points with technology in the classroom. Be sure to partner with a PD provider that offers more than a one-size-fits-all solution, and can offer blended learning teacher training that grows and changes with the pace of teachers involved.
4. Research and take advantage of digital tools that save time.
Giving teachers the gift of time by automating the more time-consuming tasks can lead to more time for collaborating with students. There are a lot of advantages to integrating technology in the classroom, including freeing up time to individualize and personalize instruction so you can reach every one of your students on the level they need. Pay attention to the little everyday things that chip away at time and limit progress, like broken equipment, empty toner cartridges, or Wi-Fi that’s repeatedly down, and plan accordingly.
5. Do NOT try and do it all at once.
Education is more than just the transfer of information, and there are incredible digital tools to be leveraged in the classroom to expand knowledge growth. Start with the use of technology for one part of a lesson and perfect that before moving on to adding another. Don’t be afraid of failure here; your students are learning information and new procedures along with you. Blended learning has the potential to fill in the gaps of a traditional approach to teaching, but only if treated as the means or a solution, and not the goal. Blended learning isn’t just about the use of technology; your focus should be on the pedagogy of instruction using technology to deliver on that pedagogy.
Ready to Blend in Your Classroom?
Unlock teacher-powered technology by incorporating personalized blended learning teacher training to manage the change and shifts in instruction that incorporating technology in the classroom brings on. With additional training and suggestions from the experts, you can leverage existing investments to see additional student success.