Getting started with blended learning

5 steps to introduce blended learning to your students

2. Start with Google Classroom.
Google Classroom is easy to set up and lets you send materials and instructions to your students immediately. Also, most educational apps connect with Google Classroom to import rosters and post assignments. Start simple; post your daily agenda only on Google Classroom and make it part of your students’ entrance routine to check for the agenda and a “Do Now” activity online.

3. Investigate different learning models.
Blended learning is going to look different in every classroom since each teacher will blend technology in their own way. Assess your comfort level by looking at some models used in successful classrooms. Check out:

  • Station Rotation: Great when device availability is limited. Students rotate through stations that include small-group instruction, collaborative paper-and-pencil tasks, and independent practice on the computer.
  • Flex Model: Students work through content and course material online while the teacher takes the roll of facilitator and guide. In the flex model, the students are in charge of their own learning.
  • Flipped Classroom: Students learn new concepts at home for homework while class time is freed up for hands-on learning and guided practice.

4. Assign something.
Get started by giving your students a list of online assignments in the form of a playlist or hyperdoc. Playlists and hyperdocs flip the responsibility of learning from the teacher to the students in the form of a self-paced list of assignments and resources. I like teaching this way because it frees me up from the front of the room to help individual students and provide more meaningful instruction in small groups.

5. Ask for help.
Coming into this school year, I had huge plans on how our school’s one-to-one was going to transform my classroom. I had good ideas, but I was overwhelmed with finding the right mix of technology and traditional teaching that worked best. Luckily, we have a fantastic technology integration coach; also, our district offered blended-learning coaching from a local non-profit.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from administration, coaches, and other teachers who are successful in blending their classrooms. Remember, you’re just getting started. Keep in mind that technology shouldn’t be used just for technology’s sake—everything you do should be for the benefit of your students.

Next time: Why DIY videos are easier than you think

[Editor’s Note: See previous Blending My Practice columns here.]

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