In last week’s blog post, we highlighted updates to our website. Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a closer look at some of the new elements mentioned. We’re kicking things off with a deeper dive into our Blended Classroom Design Learning Domain.
Blended Learning is not a new concept in K-12 education. Over the past decade, an increasing number of districts have “gone digital” with their curriculum and instruction resources — many looking to drive student growth with the new levels of personalization afforded with the integration of technology. To date, many of the promises of technology have not come to fruition.
While the overall use of technology is up, we have yet to see a correlating rise in student outcomes. U.S. NAEP and PISA scores continue to trend downward with increasing inequality between the top 10% and 90% of students. Some studies have even found an inverse relationship between instructional screen time and student performance. These results don’t mean we should give up on instructional technology. Instead, they’re indicative of the need to take a closer look at how digital resources are used.
When looking at technology initiative rollouts, there is often a gap in the type of professional development provided for teachers and leaders when bringing in new technology. Most PD is focused on using and understanding the tool’s features. This type of training often overlooks how to design lessons that use digital tools to drive towards specific learning targets. Without explicit planning, practice, and support, most educators won’t have the time to dig in and find meaningful, student-centered ways to integrate technology.
From our work with schools and districts across the country, we’ve seen how investments in human capital have greatly improved the efficacy and impact of technology use. Our coaches have supported thousands of teachers and helped them develop student-centered instructional practices that leverage technology to personalize learning for students effectively.
The new Blended Classroom Design Learning Domain builds off of the experiences of our team and unpacks the structures and processes needed to create this instructional approach. Each growth area represents a core component of a high-impact blended classroom. Below is a list of the Blended Classroom growth areas with links to corresponding instructional strategies:
- Digital Literacy: Support students to demonstrate digital literacy skills and effectively engaging with digital content by learning how to examine primary and secondary sources and also how to think like a historian.
- Using Digital Data to Provide Feedback: Leverage digital data to provide students with timely, actionable, and personalized feedback using a strategy such as microgrouping to provide feedback.
- Using Digital Data to Set Goals and Track Progress: Support students to utilize digital data to gain awareness of their strengths and areas of growth and set actionable goals using strategies such as Fill in the Gaps and Goal Setting and Reflection. Equip students to track their progress in achieving their goals by using the Progress and Mastery Tracking strategy.
- Employing Digital Tools: Support students to use digital tools to build their knowledge and solve complex problems by trying a strategy such as Genius Hour. Then, have students produce digital artifacts of their learning using strategies such as Digital Journaling or Student-Produced Videos to Reflect and Give Feedback
- Demonstrating Competency by Employing Digital Content and Tools: Support students to choose and leverage digital content and technology tools to achieve and demonstrate competency in their learning goals by trying strategies such as Battling the Boss or by implementing a system of self-paced assessments to demonstrate mastery.
The promise of blended learning is not dead. We just need to make the shift from focusing on what to how. The next decade is a new opportunity to learn from past mistakes and build on today’s promising practice. The next big innovation in technology isn’t going to transform education for kids, but how we use it just might.
To learn more about Blended Classroom Design Learning Domain and featured strategies, visit the domain page.