Have you ever understood one of our educational "buzz words" to mean something completely different than one of your coworkers? This happens all the time, especially when we mention Blended or Personalized Learning. Some people think of them as the same thing.
They can be used together, but they are not the same. So, how are they different? How can they be used together to enhance our classrooms today?
If someone asks me about Blended Learning, I always share the Blended Learning Universe site.
They describe 7 models "in action" as well as some videos and visuals to help you understand what they look like. Below are the definitions of each of the models from the Blended Learning Universe site, make sure to check it our for more details!
7 Models of Blended Learning
1. Station Rotation: allows students to rotate through stations on a fixed schedule, where at least one of the stations is an online learning station. This model is most common in elementary schools because teachers are already familiar rotating in “centers” or stations.
2. Lab Rotation: like a Station Rotation, allows students to rotate through stations on a fixed schedule. However, in this case, online learning occurs in a dedicated computer lab. This model allows for flexible scheduling arrangements with teachers and other paraprofessionals, and enables schools to make use of existing computer labs.
3: Individual Rotation: allows students to rotate through stations, but on individual schedules set by a teacher or software algorithm. Unlike other rotation models, students do not necessarily rotate to every station; they rotate only to the activities scheduled on their playlists.
4: Flipped Classroom: flips the traditional relationship between class time and homework. Students learn at home via online coursework and lectures, and teachers use class time for teacher-guided practice or projects. This model enables teachers to use class time for more than delivering traditional lectures.
5: Flex: lets students move on fluid schedules among learning activities according to their needs. Online learning is the backbone of student learning in a Flex model. Teachers provide support and instruction on a flexible, as-needed basis while students work through course curriculum and content. This model can give students a high degree of control over their learning.
6: A la Carte: enables students to take an online course with an online teacher of record _in addition_ to other face-to-face courses, which often provides students with more flexibility over their schedules. A La Carte courses can be a great option when schools can’t provide particular learning opportunities, such as an Advanced Placement or elective course, making it one of the more popular models in blended high schools.
7: Enriched Virtual: is an alternative to full-time online school that allows students to complete the majority of coursework online at home or outside of school, but attend school for required face-to-face learning sessions with a teacher. Unlike the Flipped Classroom, Enriched Virtual programs usually don’t require daily school attendance; some programs may only require twice-weekly attendance, for example.
In the beginning of this year, I started a new job as a Reading Coach for a K-8 school. I asked about how PLC's ran, what worked, what didn't work, etc. During that discussion, my Principal asked how we could improve the communication between administration and the teachers asking questions or needing feedback during PLC's if they weren't able to attend.
In previous years, the Reading Coach had a great PLC agenda/notes template, but knowing when they were filled out or even if there were questions was hard for administration to keep up with. Our Principal really wanted to know if she could get a notification each time a PLC was held, but using a Google Team Drive, she'd have to just check the folders every day or watch the activity panel. We all know that is a time consuming task and not very productive. I knew we could use our GSuite tools to do it, just needed to figure out the best way to use them effectively! I'm sure there are add-ons and extensions for this, but we needed to keep it simple to be productive.
I racked my brain and searched for easy solutions, I knew there had to be a way!
I guess I never really stopped thinking about it, then it literally came to me first thing the next morning as if I was still working on the problem in while I slept! Here's what I did...
I'm an Instructional Coach at Daniel Island School in Berkeley County South Carolina.