Blended learning may not be a new term to you or your school, but it may be an instructional model you want to integrate into your classroom. Just like anything new you implement, the first question is, “Where do I begin?” Here are six things to consider when getting started:
1) Academic Goals
Before implementing blended learning into your classroom, make sure you understand what your academic goals are. You should ask questions such as: What are your school’s education goals? How will you measure success? What are your school’s intervention strategies? When you know what your end goals are, you can better formulate a plan of action.
2) Student Needs
Every school—more important, every student—has different needs. Which blended learning model you choose to implement should be based on your unique student population. Your student’s ability to self-motivate and their time-management and communication skills are a huge factor when it comes to the success of your blended learning model.
3) Staff and Professional Development
It is important to recognize that blended learning will transform the role of the teacher. And while technology is a major component of blended learning, it is the teacher who remains central to the learning process. Find out the skill level of each teacher when it comes to technology and build your support structure, professional development, and overall implementation plan from there.
The environment that your students and teachers are working in will add or detract from your blended learning initiative. How you decide to set up your workstations within your classroom or blended learning lab will rely on which model you choose. Look to other schools to see how they are setting up their blended learning areas and create something that works for your school and individual classrooms.
Technology—everything from the hardware and accessories you select to your Internet connectivity—is a substantial investment. Take the time to consider the price points, what each device supports, how many students can access the Internet while maintaining adequate connectivity, what set up each workstation will require, and other technical factors, to prepare for your blended learning integration.
Choosing an online education provider for your school involves all of the “things to consider” that are listed here. You have to define your academic goals, identify your student needs, consider your staff and their professional development, create a blended learning space within your facility, and take an inventory of, as well as an investment in, your school’s technology. All of these are factors when it comes to choosing a curriculum that will be rigorous and personalized enough to meet the needs of your unique student body. Consider the courses offered, the efficacy of the product, the student and teacher experience, and your individual state standards before making a decision.