A League of Innovative DC Teachers in the Making

Originally posted on Blended Teaching DC:

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The CityBridge Foundation and NewSchools Venture Fund’s Education Innovation Fellowship provides DC teachers with a yearlong professional development program in blended and personalized learning instructional approaches. Throughout the yearlong program, twenty DC educators (“fellows”) observed several best practices and bright spots within several blended and personalized learning school-wide, and classroom-specific, models throughout the Bay Area and Los Angeles California, Detroit, Michigan, and Washington, D.C.

The valuable lessons learned, throughout this professional development experience, were on display during the December 6th Education Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. This summit provided the platform for twenty DC public and public charter teachers to share their experiences with blended and personalized learning. Through “breakout sessions,” each fellow shared their advice, best practices, bright spots, and challenges with leveraging education technology within the classroom.

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If you use twitter as a professional development source, or you want to learn more about blended and personalized learning, particularly from…

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How #blendedlearning can upgrade the traditional public education “operating system.”

Originally posted on Blended Teaching DC:

The traditional education operating system has remained relatively unchanged for over one hundred years. The way we “do” school – one teacher and twenty-five plus students within a classroom for a fixed amount of time – is still the primary instructional model used throughout the American public education system. Worse still, we rely heavily on printed materials, such as textbooks and worksheets, for instruction, as if the information age doesn’t exist. Although all of us live, play, and work within a technologically dependent world, we’ve yet to modernize our public education system. It’s almost as if we’re still “stuck” in the past.

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The traditional public education operating system depends heavily upon a twentieth century business management practices. For example, at the top are the district leaders, followed by superintendents, administrators, instructional coaches, and finally, the teachers. Although the teachers are the most important actors, in terms of delivering instruction and assessing student…

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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:

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Step 1: Record…

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