Can Blended Help Close the Gap?

Originally posted on Blended Teaching DC:

Through my experiments with blended learning this year, I’m re-engaging my students and revitalizing my practice. And, for the first time, I actually trust that meaningful, targeted differentiation (that’s also sustainable for teachers) isn’t just a myth. In short – I’m a believer. There is the potential for a real game changer here—a game changer our students at the wrong end of the opportunity gap desperately need.

Still, at the margins of that excitement, I’m feeling something uncomfortable creeping in.

Is it coincidence that the majority of the case studies I read about blended learning implementation seem to be taking place in low-income communities, often as part of a school turnaround program? Is it coincidence that most of the schools I’ve visited where blended learning is taking place are schools that serve predominately students of color?

I can’t tell if there’s a real or simply imagined correlation here (I hope others will…

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Piloting Innovation: A Personalized Learning Video Game Design Model

Originally posted on Blended Teaching DC:

As a 2014 CityBridge Education Innovation Fellow, I’ve learned a lot about blended learning and personalized learning during this yearlong fellowship. I’ve come across a variety of education-based technological tools, such as browser-based content sites and digital-based content programs. Some edtech tools are great; while others are not. One program that shows great potential is Globaloria, a scripted video game programming curriculum via Adobe Flash CS 6 Action Script 3.0. Currently, I’m piloting this innovative coding program across two classes, during the first semester of school.

Although we’re still very much in “piloting” mode, I’ve decided to implement a personalized learning model as my main instructional approach. I decided to focus more time creating digital-based lessons, through a four-step digital lesson design process, and not rely upon traditional whole class instruction. This instructional shift has allowed me to avoid teaching to the proverbial “middle.”

The four-step digital lesson design process:

Design

Step 1: Record…

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(Unofficial) DCPS Feeder Patterns & 2013 School Classification (Index Score)

Updated Version:

In order to provide clarity, and thanks in large part to feedback, I’ve eliminated the “Focus” classification, which is a special classification, and not necessarily tied to a school’s index score. Therefore, the new color-coded map (below) accounts for schools’ index scores, alone.

Unofficial DCPS School Boundary & 2013 School Index Score (1)