Today is part 2 in a 3 part series from Dr. Jenny Hooie, author of Blend: Implement Blended Learning In Seven Days or Less. She also teaches online courses in blended learning. Part 1 can be found here.
Blended Learning: Start With One Lesson at a Time
You may be hesitating to implement blended learning because, with everything else you have to deal with on a daily basis, the idea is just overwhelming. I encourage you to try by implementing one single lesson or strategy. I don’t mean an entire unit, just one lesson.
In order for change to be effective, you must be able to see tangible, positive results. You must also have the motivation to stay with the change without giving up. These are the reasons you should begin small. Of course, if you try to blend your entire math or reading program without trying something smaller first, you may become so overwhelmed that you just give up. By selecting one lesson at a time, you have the ability to see the results, make necessary improvements and try the strategy again with another lesson. If you continue this process two things happen: you learn and you gain momentum. These small steps lead to bigger blended units and eventually the strategies become an integral part of your classroom.
While I caution you to start small, I also caution you to actually do it. If you spend a year planning and never actually implement a blended lesson or strategy, then you have wasted precious time. In education we often “over plan” on projects in which the scope is too large, the result is no change or improvement at all. So please, at least, try one small activity or lesson.
- Identify a lesson or activity to blend. Example: let’s say you are planning a pre assessment
- Next, you should gather the necessary resources. You will need a tool for the assessment and Internet devices for student access. Many blended implementations come to a halt when teachers are faced with gathering internet devices because they wrongly assume that all of the students need the same devices and/or that the students must be using the device at the same time. Instead, introduce the activity the day before and enable students to use any technology in the classroom or the technology they have at home. In our example the pre assessment would be introduced the day before and allow students to take turns with the technology in your classroom or building, or complete the assessment on their own at home using a phone, tablet or computer. Example: let’s give a three question multiple-choice poll on Poll Everywhere.
- Utilize the results prior and during your lesson. This could mean you review the results prior to the lesson and make adjustments based on the results and/or you project the results and share them with students. Example: We ask the students to complete the pre assessment by 8:00 pm the night before the lesson. We provide options in class to access the assessment and also give the option for students to complete at home on their own. We review the results the morning before the lesson and adjust based on the results.
This may seem like a very small start to blended learning. This is by design. By starting small you are able to try blending instruction in a safe, easy way. You will experience success and try another lesson, and before you know it blended learning will be a regular part of your instructional toolbox.
About the Author:
Dr. Jenny Hooie is an educational innovator with over twenty years of experience as a teacher, administrator and professional development facilitator. Her doctorate in the area of Instructional Design for Online Learning combined with her real world experience in classrooms, and her professional development work with practicing teachers make her the perfect guide as you explore blended learning strategies and make them part of your daily classroom instruction. Jenny is currently the Chief Instructional Officer for Tri Rivers Educational Computer Association and Chief Executive Officer of Instructional Design Innovations. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.