Online Course Instructional Design

Introduction: In this online course, teachers at my school will read and view information about the importance of creating significant learning environments in their classrooms and incorporating blended learning to engage their students. The teachers will work together online and in person to support each other through the process of incorporating blended learning elements into their lessons. Although I have not participated in a blended learning course myself, I believe that there are benefits for learners, including the ongoing support of classmates and instructors.

Learning Goals: Participants will understand and create significant learning environments in their classrooms and incorporate blended learning to engage their students.

Desired Results: Learners will establish a significant learning environment in their classroom and create blended learning lessons after participating in this online course.

Audience: classroom teachers at my elementary campus

Outline:

  • Learners will identify the key aspects of a significant learning environment.
  • Learners will analyze and evaluate the various blended learning models.
  • Learners will apply their knowledge of blended learning to design a lesson or unit for their class that includes blended learning experiences.
  • Learners will explain how their lesson or unit is improved by the use of blended learning.
  • Learners will observe the benefits of a blended learning classroom.
  • Learners will revise lesson plans to include blended learning opportunities.

Materials: videos, articles, and blog posts related to blended learning for participants to view

Action Research Plan

 

Outline

           

           

           

Topic of Research

The ultimate goal of my innovation plan is to have teachers across my campus fully integrating technology into their daily lessons through a blended learning model. In order for teachers to fully understand what it is I’ll be asking them to do, I believe that they will need to experience blended learning themselves. I will use this format to teach them about how they can structure their classrooms and why they should incorporate technology at such a high level.

Purpose of Study

Many traditional teaching methods are no longer valuable for today’s students. Today’s teachers need to embrace technology and use it to enhance the learning in their classrooms.

Research Questions

How might a blended learning professional development experience impact teachers’ attitudes toward implementing blended learning in their own classrooms?

How many teachers of those that participated in a blended learning professional development experience will implement blended learning in their classrooms?

Research Design

  • Triangulation Mixed-Methods design using both Qualitative and Quantitative data.
  • Descriptive Research using observations.
  • Case studies of the teachers who participate in the professional development experience, including the use of surveys and interviews.

Implementation Timeline

 

Provide Blended Learning professional development to teachers on my campus in a blended learning format. June – August 2017
Collect and analyze the data. Observe teachers as they begin to implement Blended Learning in their classrooms.

Develop the action plan.

August – November 2017
Share and communicate results November – December 2017
Reflect on the process. December 2017
Provide additional training to teachers who would like to implement Blended Learning in their classroom for the second semester. December 2017 – January 2018

Literature Review

Blended Learning Professional Development

In all of my posts about my Innovation Plan, I mention that I want to see teachers using a Blended Learning model in their classrooms, but I have yet to address how I will teach them how to do this. Through Action Research I hope to find the most effective way to explain Blended Learning to the teachers on my campus, in a blended learning professional development format.

action-research

Click the link above to see an outline of my current Action Research Plan.

 

A Plan to Implement My Innovation Plan

Change is hard, and I will soon be asking teachers to make a change that I believe will be important. There will be resistance from the administration at my school, and probably from some of the teachers. I will need to be sure that everyone involved is as knowledgeable about my ideas and research as possible. In order to lessen their resistance to change, I will need to use a variety of strategies.

First, I will focus on my WHY. It is similar to the WHY of most teachers, and gets to the heart of why many teachers go into the profession.

Next, I will work on implementing all of the six strategies of being an Influencer so that I can lead my campus to success. Using skills from the 4DX model will also help me during implementation.

As I progress in the rollout of my Innovation Plan, I will need to have some Crucial Conversations. I will need to work to remember the skills that I’ve learned in order to stay calm and focus on dialogue.

With all of these measures in place, I believe that I can assist and encourage the teachers at my school to implement an instructional strategy that will produce results in the students that we teach.

Crucial Conversations

Conversations that have high stakes, strong emotions, and differing opinions can be tough, but they are also some of the most important conversations to have. In order to be successful in these types of conversations, Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Swizler (2002) give some specific steps and skills to focus on in their book Crucial Conversations.

Patterson et al. (2002) recommend that we Start with Heart and remember that the only person we can control is ourselves. The following questions are good to keep in mind:

What do I really want for myself? * What do I really want for others? * What do I really want for the relationship?

I will probably need to think about all three of these during conversations about my Innovation Plan. It will be important for me to stay focused on my goal of implementing my plan, and not shift into competitive mode in which I just want to win the situation for winning’s sake. Instead of thinking of choices as either/or choices, I need to find ways to clarify what I WANT and what I DON’T WANT with an and question. Is it possible that there’s a way to accomplish both ideas?

The next step is to Learn to Look. Instead of just focusing on the content of a discussion, we need to be aware of other conditions, including physical, emotional, and behavioral signals that show that we’ve moved from a discussion into a Crucial Conversation. If this occurs, we need to move back into a safe area where all parties feel like they can say anything. When things are unsafe in a conversation, people can move to either silence or violence; withdrawing from the conversation or controlling the conversation, usually by attacking the other person. To self-monitor, it is important to ‘pay close attention to what you’re doing and the impact it’s having, and then alter your strategy if necessary.’ (Patterson, et al., 2002).

In order to Make it Safe in any conversation, it is important for everyone involved to have mutual purpose and mutual respect. When things get unsafe, it is important to step back, apologize if necessary, and then get to mutual respect. Patterson et al. (2002) suggest using the following four skills to do this: Commit to seek Mutual Purpose, Recognize the purpose behind the strategy, Invent a Mutual Purpose,, and Brainstorm new strategies.

Often, even in safe conversations, things can become emotional. Our instinct at this point might be fight or flight, but with the step of Master my Stories we can explain what’s going on with our feelings. Then we can refocus the dialogue to get back to the facts.

Many times, Crucial Conversations require some persuasion. It is important that we don’t let our persuasion become abrasive. In order to do this, we can STATE our Path and use these five tools: Share your facts, Tell your story, Ask for others’ paths, Talk tentatively, and Encourage testing. These tools can guide us through the what and how of talking about sensitive topics. We also need to remember to listen and Explore Others’ Paths. In this way, we can let others know that they are safe and that we want them to share their Path. In order to do this it is important to be sincere, curious, and patient. These four power listening skills can help: Ask to Get Things Rolling, Mirror to Confirm Feelings, Paraphrase to Acknowledge the Story, and Prime When You’re Getting Nowhere. If you have listened to another’s path and disagree with some or all of what they’re contributing to the conversation, remember to Agree, Build, and Compare your stories and paths.

The final part of having a Crucial Conversation is to Move to Action. It is important for all parties to have clear expectations about how decisions will be made: this needs to be part of the dialogue. To make decisions, there four methods to consider: Command, Consult, Vote, and Consensus. The method to be used in each situation needs to be defined. Some things to consider when choosing a decision-making method include: Who cares? Who knows? Who must agree? and How many people is it worth involving? Once a decision is made it needs to be put into action. The following elements need to be considered: Who? Does what? By when? and How will you follow up? These decisions should be put in writing in order to have documentation of the conversation.

When working to implement my Innovation Plan I will most likely have some Crucial Conversations. One Crucial Conversation I will need to have with administrators is about teachers using an online learning format in their classroom as part of the Blended Learning station rotation model. I will need to convince the administrators at my school that this plan is a good idea, and there are parts of it that I believe they will be hesitant about. Before each conversation I will need to prepare and be ready when things turn crucial. When reading the book, I took the quiz in the Learn to Look section and discovered that I especially need to focus on Start With Heart (which surprised me) and Move to Action (which didn’t surprise me). When reading more deeply about Start with Heart, I realized that I often don’t have specific goals in mind, and therefore it’s hard to stay focused. I need to begin with a goal, and when a conversation gets tough, I need to stop and remember that goal. Move to Action is always tough for me. I can have great ideas, but often don’t know how to get started on them or how to move forward. All the steps in between these two I feel like I could do, if only I could get better at the first and last! I think the key for me is to plan ahead and keep focused on more than just content when I’m having a Crucial Conversation.

References

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., & Swizler, A. (2002). Crucial conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high. New York: McGraw-Hill.

4DX and a WIG

Last week I really enjoyed reading Influencer and couldn’t imagine finding a plan that fit together more easily. But I did! I really like The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) plan! I feel like it is just a different perspective on the same goals, but the combination of the two helps me to think through my Innovation Plan in a focused way.

I will need to meet with my team to implement the changes in my plan. 4DX has 5 specific stages that I will work through in helping the teachers at my school become as effective as possible.

Stage 1: Getting Clear

In this stage, my team and I will need to focus in on one or two wildly important goals, or WIGs, based around using the blended learning station rotation model for implementing a district required reading program. We will then brainstorm and choose two or three high-leverage lead measures to focus on. We will brainstorm about a good way to monitor our progress with a simple scoreboard, which will be in a location where we can all see how we are progressing toward our goal. In stage 1 we will also plan a time and place for our weekly WIG sessions. By planning ahead and having clarity in our purpose, I will be setting the team up for success!

Stage 2: Launch

Executing our plan and focusing on our lead measures will be difficult to do within the whirlwind of our school. If we can trust the process and implement our lead measures with fidelity, we should make progress. During our Launch stage I will be looking for teachers who are modeling our measures smoothly. I will also keep my eye out for those who are resistant to the change.

Stage 3: Adoption

Often times, when a new plan doesn’t work in the beginning, it is abandoned. This is why so many new plans are implemented, which causes feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed. By keeping my team and the teachers at my school focused on the WIG and the Lead Measures, I believe that we will see results more quickly. When teachers make commitments each week and hold each other accountable, they will be able to push through the initial phase of feeling overwhelmed and begin to see the scoreboard moving forward. We will need to keep in mind the idea that we can adjust as we notice what is working and what isn’t. Our weekly WIG meetings will allow us time to review and adjust as needed. As an instructional coach on my campus, I can put effort into mentoring and training teachers along the way. Focusing on those who aren’t resistant but are not necessarily models will encourage them to make progress.

Stage 4: Optimization

It will be exciting and interesting to see what creative ideas my team will come up with to optimize the their performance and the lead measures. Teachers often have amazing thoughts, but no time or permission to implement them. WIG meetings focusing on WIGs will give them the opportunities to try new things. To celebrate these ideas and innovative ways that they are being implemented, WIG meetings will need to include recognition and encouragement both from me and from other team members to each other.

Stage 5: Habits

When my team reaches the WIG that we set, which I’m sure we will, there will need to be celebration. This will encourage the teachers to move on to a new WIG and keep making progress. I will enjoy seeing people who started as resisters become models on the campus, and teams celebrating each other for their progress. The ideas of 4DX will become habits, and guide us through WIGs each year. Our school will make great gains.

My Innovation Plan focus on improving student engagement and attendance rates through blended learning will benefit from the implementation of ideas from the Influencer model and the 4DX model.

Six Sources of Influence

Focus, Measure, and Vital Behaviors

I hope to achieve more student engagement and higher attendance levels across my elementary campus by incorporating a district-mandated online reading program into a blended learning model.

I will measure student engagement by using time on task data from classroom observations as well as surveys for students and teachers to complete. Weekly attendance data will also be collected and analyzed.

The organizational influencers who will be involved are myself, teachers, campus principal and assistant principals, ACTION director (superintendent), parents and the community.

The vital behaviors that I plan to implement are:

  1. Educate the teachers on my campus about blended learning and the benefits it can have in their classrooms.
  2. Assist teachers with planning and implementing blended learning lessons and incorporating a schedule conducive to the station rotation model.
  3. Help teachers set up Google Classroom to make the station rotation model possible in their classrooms.

Sources of Influence

By incorporating all six sources of influence, I hope to put a positive twist on a difficult situation and help teachers feel that they are still impacting their students’ lives.

 

Motivation

Ability

Personal

Teachers on my campus are being required to implement an online reading program with their students.  A blended learning model of station rotation will help them get the most out of the time they have with their students each day, as well as allow the reading program to compliment their teaching instead of replace it. Teachers will appreciate focusing on the benefits of blended learning rather than on the online program that they feel is replacing their teaching. Scenarios and videos will help teachers see examples of what blended learning can look like in an elementary school. I will be on campus to model lessons or assist in classrooms as teachers begin to implement blended learning. In this role, I can talk through situations in real-time with teachers, and give them feedback about what is working and what is not working.

Social

Through an online poll, I will find out who the opinion leaders are on my campus. Enlisting them to be some of the first to incorporate the station rotation model into their classrooms will be encouraging to other teachers. It will also be powerful if some teachers allow me to video examples of blended learning working well, and show them to the faculty. Our campus has a Google Community to post pictures and affirmations. Teachers can post pictures of their students engaged in any aspect of blended learning, and I can encourage administration to post pictures and affirmations as well. I will facilitate weekly meetings with the teachers so that they can discuss with each other what is happening in their classrooms and work through problems together. This will also be a time of celebrations, to give teachers opportunity to acknowledge what is working well. For any professional development that I provide on campus, I will attempt to use a blended learning model to give teachers ideas and examples.

Structural

Our campus is expected to implement an online reading program. There will be ACTION directors and supervisors checking to see that the program is used with fidelity; they are taking personal responsibility for the progress that they believe they will see. Confirm that teachers have the computers and headphones needed to allow their students access to the online program, as well as making sure that their classrooms are set up in a manner conducive to a station rotation model of blended learning.

 

Resources

Grenny, J., Maxfield, D., Shimberg, A. (2013). How to 10X Your Influence. Provo, Utah: VitalSmarts.

Harapnuik, D. (2016, January 28). It’s About Learning: 4 Effective Ways to Find and Test Vital Behaviors. Retrieved from: http://www.harapnuik.org/?p=6253

Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

What is my WHY and why is it important?

WHY – I believe that all children have a desire and an ability

to learn and to succeed.

HOW – As adult role models and leaders we foster

curiosity and creativity in our students.

WHAT – We expose our students to questions and tasks that

encourage them to love learning.

When I run into former students out in the real world, they remember me. Not because they did well in my class or because I taught them every ounce of the curriculum. They remember me because I listened to them. They remember me because I laughed with them and got messy with them. They remember me because I learned just as much from them as they did from me. And I made them feel like they did amazing things. Because they did.

“They may forget what you said but they will never forget

how you made them feel.”  – Carl W. Buehner

What are we waiting for? The time is now! If we are going to guide the next generation to becoming the leaders of tomorrow, we need to start setting the right example and encourage them to become lifelong learners. It’s not enough to make the grade. It’s not enough to get high test scores. It’s not enough to comply with rules. We need to show them how to be thinkers and problem solvers and innovators. They need to have opportunities to take risks and make mistakes and ask questions. We have to make them believe in themselves and to feel successful. They need to see that they can change the world.
why-what-how

Growth Mindset

When working on creating a significant learning environment, it is important to have, and to encourage in your students, a growth mindset. When you understand how your brain learns, you can see that there are many ways for it to grow and increase its ability.

As I said in my learning philosophy, I believe John Van de Walle (Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally, 2004) explains this best with his dot theory. ‘Consider the picture to be a small section of our cognitive makeup. The blue dots represent existing ideas. The lines joining the ideas represent our logical connections or relationships that have developed between and among ideas. The red dot is an emerging idea, one that is being constructed. Whatever existing ideas (blue dots) are used in the construction will necessarily be connected to the new idea (red dot) because those were the ideas that gave meaning to it.’ (p. 20).

blue-dots-and-red-dots

Without allowing our brains to make connections between ideas, we won’t learn. With a growth mindset we see that our abilities can grow through practice and perseverance, while with a fixed mindset we think that if we don’t have natural talent, we’ll never be good.

We all have experiences or times in our lives when we have a fixed mindset, and the key is to work our way to a growth mindset. One of the best ways to develop a growth mindset is to listen for you fixed mindset ‘voice’ and think about the choice you’ll make in how you react. When you talk back with a growth mindset ‘voice’ and take a growth mindset action, you can change the way you view the situation. Carol Dweck explains these steps to turn around our mindset on her website, mindsetonline.com.

As a teacher, my mindset can influence many people around me. I want to model a growth mindset for the teachers and students at my school. When I crouch down and have a conversation with a student about their writing, I try to focus on pointing out what the student has learned. When I watch teachers during a math lesson, and they feel like their students didn’t grasp what they wanted them to, I help them see the positive, and then we discuss what the teacher could do differently tomorrow to make things work. Sometimes teachers feel like there isn’t enough time in a day, week, or year to ‘get through’ all of the things they’re supposed to teach. But by encouraging their students to work through challenges, learn from feedback, and always try their best, their students will be able to learn so much more! Watching a class of students who are excited to solve a problem or research the answer to a question they have is very powerful. Students WANT to learn!

When I implement my innovation plan, I will need to encourage teachers to have a growth mindset. Things won’t always go well the first time they try, and I need to make sure they understand that it’s ok. Learning to teach in a different way needs to be a process, not an overnight change, and there will be challenges along the way. I’m excited to create a significant learning environment in which the teachers will know that I’m there to support them and guide them, and to model a growth mindset for them.

Understanding by Design

As a classroom teacher, I like the UbD design template better than Fink’s 3 Column Table. Backward Design is something that I’ve heard about, learned about, and planned with as a teacher, but this was my first time to read this book and really apply the concept in detail. When sharing a course goal with students, however, Fink’s Table seems to be a better choice. As a learner in EDLD 5313, I don’t need to know every detail that the UbD template requires; the 3 Column Table is adequate for my information.

Thinking through my lesson/course design in multiple ways has helped me to really define my course objectives and solidify what it is I want teachers to be doing. I’m excited to implement my innovation plan and watch teachers learn!

 

Stage 1 – Desired Results
Established Goals:

·         Learners will establish a significant learning environment in their classroom.

·         Learners will create lessons in a blended learning format to use in their classroom.

 

Understandings:

Students will understand that…

·         A significant learning environment is essential when implementing a blended learning format.

·         A blended learning format is beneficial to student success.

 

Essential Questions:

·         What will your classroom look like when you begin to implement technology for learning?

·         How do students in blended learning classrooms differ from those in more traditional classrooms?

 

Students will know…

·         What a significant learning environment is

·         Various models of blended learning

Students will be able to…

·         Identify key aspects of significant learning environments

·         Analyze and evaluate various blended learning models

·         Write a lesson/unit plan that involves blended learning opportunities

·         Explain how lessons/units are improved by the use of blended learning

Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence
Performance Tasks:

·         Create a lesson/unit plan incorporating blended learning experiences for their students.

·         Implement blended learning in their classroom.

·         Create videos or blog posts about blended learning in their classroom.

 

Other Evidence:

·         Participation in online class discussions.

·         Self reflection about using blended learning in the classroom, and the changes they’ve seen as they’ve implemented it.

·         Blended learning opportunities in many lesson plans throughout the year and ongoing.

Stage 3 – Learning Plan
Learning Activities:

·         This course will be implemented using an online format to model blended learning for teachers.

·         View videos and read articles about significant learning environments and blended learning models. Use strong videos to show teachers examples of how these things can be very positive for students.

·         Reflect on their current classroom and the changes they wish to see.

·         Participate in online discussions with classmates about what they are learning and how they’re working to implement it.

·         Create a lesson/unit plan that includes blended learning opportunities.

·         Participate in lesson planning sessions throughout the year to facilitate the implementation of blended learning.

·         Revise existing lesson plans to find ways to improve them with blended learning opportunities.

·         Create blog posts and/or videos about blended learning in their classroom.

·         Self-reflect about individual learning and the improvements in their students’ learning.