Blended Learning

CREATE! Conference

This week, I’ll be presenting at the CREATE! Conference at Anthony Wayne High School.  My topic will be using and evaluating Google Chrome Apps and Extensions.

Presenting is always a wonderful experience and an honor to share any information that I have that may help others.  When preparing to present, I always ask the following, “How will this information impact students?”  I believe that everything we do should benefit students in some way.  That could be making a teacher’s task to organize and present lessons easier and less time consuming, allowing a teacher to aggregate data quickly or making evaluations more meaningful.

Utilizing apps and extensions in the Google Chrome browser and on a Chromebook will allow for greater emphasis on student creation, research simplification and more meaningful evaluation.  There are so many options to choose from, it is difficult to sometimes find just what one is looking for.  Everyone has a favorite or useful choice.  My presentation for the conference is below.

CREATE! Conference Emaze Conference Presentation

Google Apps I like:

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Google Extensions I like:

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Love it or List it?

One of the shows that I watch on occasion is Love It or List It.  In the show, a couple works with two professionals – one to renovate the current house and one to find them a new house.  In the end, the couple gets to decide whether to stay (Love It) or go to the new house (List It).

Education is becoming much the same.  Love It or List It?  Renovate or leave?

The amount of change that has happened in education in the past 5-10 years is dramatic.  In my opinion, unprecedented.  Over the years, there have been many reports documenting the problems with education.  It all started with A Nation at Risk and continued with international reports of math and reading scores of American children.  Check out these reports:

The National Assessment of Educational Progress

A Nation at Risk

Center on Educational Excellence

No Child Left Behind

Teachers have been slammed by government, business and parents in various reports.  Just do a Google search for “Educational Progress Reports” and you’ll see what I mean.  So how is a teacher supposed to manage all the changes and still maintain sanity?  It’s not easy and sometimes not possible to do everything.  Administrators want one thing, parents another and the State Board of Education another.

Education is in flux.  Do we hold onto the past or move onto the future?  Love it or List it?  What we’re actually trying to create is a hybrid.  Kind of like the transition from gasoline engines to all electric cars.  The current thought is to create hybrid.  Think Prius.  What does that look like in education though?  Blended learning.  A blend of the past and infusion of technology and 21st century skills.  For now, this is the present and future.  This is really a disruption of the current educational environment.  To have a much clearer understanding of disruption in education, read the following book, Disrupting Class by Christensen, Horn, and Johnson.

So, what will you do?  Love it or List it?

Blended Learning and Educational Reform

One of the new buzz words in education is Blended Learning.  I’ve been trying to pin down exactly what that team means.  Of course there are the books and seminars that describe a formal plan for establishing a Blended Learning program.  A recipe to follow that will undoubtedly lead to higher test scores, happier students and contented teachers.  However, I don’t believe there is any one silver bullet to educational reform.  We don’t all drive the same car, why should we all insist that one educational theory is better fitted for everyone than another.

When starting to investigate Blended Learning, the following books may be beneficial to starting the conversation and getting a grasp on the totality of the movement:

Books

Anytime, Anywhere – Wolfe, Steinberg, Hoffman

Blended Learning in Grades 4-12 – Tucker

Brain Gain – Prentsky

Disrupting Class – Christensen, Johnsson, Horn

Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools – Horn, Staker

Creating Innovators – Wagner