Bring Focus to Blended Learning with 12 Starting Ideas, Plus a Free ISTE Webinar

Bring Focus to Blended Learning with 12 Starting Ideas, Plus a Free ISTE Webinar

Welcome to a post where I focus on some simple ways you can begin to blend your learning. I call them starter ideas. I also want to invite you to a very special webinar on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 4 PM EST. First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

As 1 to 1 programs become more popular, educators are talking a lot about Blended Learning. As you might know there are plenty of ways to look at Blended Learning. Feel free to check my past post that focused on this topic. A blended classroom is not an instant event. It comes with time, reflection, and practice. As teacher begin to consider the blended experience I suggest they begin with one simple effort or lesson, and make sure that they focus on the learning target and not just the technology. It is important to always reflect on why the blended experience is being integrated into the learning. In this way an educator can ensure there is a significant benefit supporting the learning because of the blended experience.

Before providing 12 possible starter ideas, I invite you to a very special ISTE Webinar. As you might know I am the president of OLN (Online Learning Network) which is a professional learning network at ISTE. We have the privilege this week to host a very special Blended Learning Webinar with Dr. Kecia Ray, a blended learning expert and President of ISTE. After reading the below pointers please feel free to sign up for the webinar and also share this post with others. Hope to see you at the Webinar and I wish you the best as you become even more focused on your blend.

Bringing Focus To Blended Learning with 12 Starting Ideas

  • Have students participate in an online forum that focuses on discussion of content standards. Develop a rubric that assess online discussion alignment with standards being used. The rubric might include some components of the four C’s such as collaboration and communication.
  • When using the inquiry method… put one of the 5 E’s as an online activity. Remember that the 5 E’s include Engage, Explore, Explain, Enhance, and Evaluate. Many times teachers will flip a classroom with the Explain portion. It is also possible to use any of the others such as engaging the students so they are ready for the exploration in the classroom.
  • Set up a Google Hangout or Skype session with an expert or community member that can help enhance a learning target. Include an online discussion forum to further the event. Always clear any online guests and make sure students understand privacy issues.
  • Include your students in some digital citizenship activities. In order to be part of a blended classroom students need to know the etiquette and expectations of working in the blended world.
  • Take one past successful assignment and reflect how you might bring in a blended opportunity that helps amplify the learning, don’t just substitute for technology sake… reflect on what the technology provides for.
  • Provide an opportunity for your students to publish to the world. Perhaps this could be an art gallery, blog, wiki, video, or their idea. Allow for comments and feedback. Make sure to follow school AUP and remind students about internet privacy and security. A great place to start might be inside your school Learning Management System.
  • Use a collaborative tool in Google Drive beyond a Document. Perhaps it might be a collective spreadsheet, a slide presentation, a drawing, or the use of a form to conduct a survey.
  • Explore a Global Classroom Website such as Iearn or Epals. Is there one possible project you might want to try with your class?
  • Study something collectively with another teacher in your school. Make it simple the very first time and keep it to a couple day activity.
  • Share student productions or creations with another class, or even a community group through a hangout or webinar. A presentation can go beyond the classroom and will provide an amplified learning experience.
  • Allow student to talk with each other during a video clip or short lecture using a back channel employing your LMS (Learning Management System). A back channel is an online open chat room. In fact, have it open during work time or a PBL unit.
  • Talk to your students… what ideas might they have to open up the brick and mortar walls of the classroom.

Welcome To The Webinar

  • Please join OLN at ISTE for this very special webinar with Dr. Kecia Ray
  • Online and Blended Learning Models
  • Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM (Eastern Time (US & Canada)
  • Registration Link

Booking Info – Time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am almost booked through June I am already taking fall dates for 2015 – Mike

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Michael Gorman oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning and is on the National Faculty for The Buck Institute for Education. His awards include district Teacher of the Year, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and Microsoft’s 365 Global Education Hero. Read more at