As I’m coming to the end of my graduate work at Lamar, I can’t help but think how appropriate the name of this degree is. I am learning so much about best practices in a digital, 21st century classroom!
When I first started my innovation plan, it felt very shallow. I wasn’t sure what campus I would be working on or who I would be working with. I felt like I couldn’t make my innovation plan REAL yet. At my new campus this year, I love that the teachers almost all have 1:1 devices in their classrooms. They know of amazing ways to use the iPads and Chromebooks, and I’ve learned a lot from them!!
Just recently, our kinder, first, and second grade teachers were given the opportunity to try out an online math program. My principal let me take the lead on rolling the program out to teachers. I knew this was my opportunity to see if anyone had any interest in blended learning. I sent out a video introduction of the program, and at the end of my recording I mentioned the possibility of teachers incorporating the online math resource into a blended learning classroom. Throughout the last few weeks, I have been stopping by classrooms and watching students interact with the math program. The students love it and the teachers are able to get great data about the math skills and concepts that their students are grasping or struggling with.
One teacher asked me to tell her more about blended learning. After our conversation, she has decided that learning more about blended learning and incorporating it into her classroom next year is her goal. She wants to read and learn over the summer, and start the year off using her iPads more effectively in her classroom. This conversation has made my innovation plan have a purpose. I now have a teacher and a classroom full of second graders to plan and work for. It’s no longer just a vision, but a true plan. And I have some work to do!
In reading about blended learning I have discovered that I am on the right track. The research and literature that I have read and discussed in my literature review was helpful in pointing out some things that work well in a blended learning classroom, and some things that have not worked well. I feel lucky to be able to learn from what others around the globe have discovered!
What I’ve learned:
- It’s not just about the technology
- One type of device doesn’t work for all learners
- It’s important to be ready technologically for lots of use
- We need to continue to monitor our students’ learning and behavior
- Students are motivated by blended learning
- Mobile devices can be used for blended learning
- Teachers need training on implementing blended learning effectively
- Professional development can be done in a blended format
- Professional development has the most impact when it is ongoing
I can now begin the work of updating my innovation plan, with a specific teacher in mind. This is where the leading part of the degree title begins!