Blended Learning: Making it Work in Your Classroom (Transcript)
Kristin: I can say that the things I've been doing the last two years have really made a difference, because my kids have scored the highest in the State on the standardized tests. So what we're doing here is working, and it's helping them be successful.
Julie: We define Blended Learning as the combination of digital content and activity with face-to-face content and activity. It sounds easy to Blend, but it really, it looks very different in every classroom. So if a teacher is using something that works really well in a face-to-face situation, they should continue to do that because it works well. If they can find something else that works better, is more efficient or more effective that's digital, then that would be implemented.
Kristin: What I have online could be completely different than what the biology teacher has online, or what the physical education teacher has online. It just depends on what you need those kids to have in order to understand what they need to learn.
Mickey: Okay, go ahead get the laptops. And actually anybody that's in a small group come over here, I need you to get a iPad. Why I wanted to go to a more Blended environment was so that I could figure out a way to differentiate instruction within the biology classroom, and I wanted a way to be able to work with students in small groups, while other students are still engaged in content learning.
There are three activities. One's assorted sentence activity, one is an online interactivity and one is small group that's going to be working with me.
Okay, slide to the apps, and open up Educreations, because we're going to fill in this chart, because this is going to get us practicing base pairing between DNA and RNA and reading our photon chart. Okay, so what goes G?
Mickey: C. So I'm going to put G and C together like this, right?
Shelton: I've like probably learned more today just by doing this than I have the whole week that we've been doing this.
Kristin: And we looked at the research about Blended Learning. We've defined it, and then we had to figure out what would it look like in my class. And so that's when I went, "Well, I actually want to use it more as a tool for the kids for like supplemental materials." There's always practice problems. Or you can go listen to somebody talk about the topic. But the kids started to say that, "We don't want to listen to somebody else; we want to listen to you. And we need your help, and we want to hear your voice." So I started to go, "Okay, well, how can I do that?" And so our technology person said, "Have you seen this app on the iPad?" And me, not knowing anything about technology, went, "I have no idea what you're talking about. Teach me." So we went through a process of me learning how to use the ShowMe app, and then I started making podcasts and it gives me a chance to be in their homes, wherever they are 24/7. It's Virtual Weller, is what we call it.
"That will correspond to six to nine, like it has in the rest of the problems."
Luis: The podcast like helps so much. It's like as if she's actually there, and she just go through it again, and you can like finally understand it.
Kristin: I see them, they'll plug in, I look over and they have it on their phones. They have it on their tablets, they have it on computers. They do podcasts for me during class time. I will have specific problems I want to see, just like do they understand the basics of what we talked about today?
Student: Forty, all right, 60 plus 60. Divide 40 to get C by itself. And C equals to 45.
Class: Yay! [applause] Oh, yeah!
Kristin: All right.
For me classroom time, direct instruction, investigations, discovery, that's all still part of teaching. It's not all online. A lot of the face-to-face stuff is still the most important thing to me. The online tools are there to help make understanding even better, even more rich of an experienced for the kids.
Julie: We really wanted the focus to be on the teaching and learning part, and on the digital tool as a secondary thing.
Mickey: Kids don't always get it the first time, or the second time, or the third time. And this allows different ways for those kids to get it. The pass rate for my kids the first year was 75 percent; and the second year was 93 percent. The state average is somewhere around 60 percent. So something's working for these kids.