More and more news articles continue to be written about the flipped classroom. Its popularity stems from more teacher-student interaction and more differentiation of instruction. Districts either are intrigued and researching the topic or beginning to implement it. The goal of this teaching model is to be able to encourage students to be active learners. Lectures are recorded and students can watch them at home at their own pace. Class time is then dedicated to discussion questions which students can answer individually or in groups. Teachers are then able to help students when they have questions about a math problem or a science lab because all work is done in class.
Technology can help your district succeed, or so you have heard. This begs the question: Does our digitally connected world full of computers, mobile phones, and digital lesson plans create success? Technology savvy schools are fun and exciting, but can technology really extend learning time, improve test scores, or increase graduation rates? Answers to these questions may vary, but if you are looking for ways to improve the way technology is being used at your school look no further than the blended learning approach, traditional brick and mortar learning plus online learning.
August has been declared Connected Educator Month by the US Department of Education, and we’ve been actively following the conversation through the first part of the month on Twitter (#CE12).
According to the DOE, the idea behind Connected Educator Month is:
“Online communities and learning networks already help hundreds of thousands of educators by providing ‘just in time’ access to knowledge and opportunities for collaboration, and by reducing isolation. Expanding participation will allow more people to realize the full benefits of this arena for professional learning and collaboration,” (read the full press release).
To commemorate, we thought we’d share five easy ways for you to observe:
I was lucky enough to attend the “Julie and Julie” session at BbWorld 2012! Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, and Julie Young, President & CEO of Florida Virtual School shared their thoughts on Personalized Learning. Both agree that students are looking for ways to use technology in order to make learning more relevant and successful according to their own individual needs, goals, and preferences. And, both mention that children are using mobile phones, social networks, and the internet with such increasing frequency that it is becoming a must for schools to incorporate these tools into a student’s learning, instead of shutting them down.
Can you guess what student profile this describes?
For those of you who weren’t able to get to New Orleans for the Connections Summit, I wanted to briefly share with you some of what we talked about earlier today in my keynote address, and that’s debunking the myths about online learning.
I’m sure that it’s a conversation that you’ve all had with colleagues who fear that online learning is not sufficiently engaging for students. The fear that online learners will be isolated, miss out on non-verbal communication with their instructors and their fellow students, and not have access to the help they need. That their motivation will be low, which translates into poor outcomes. And then there is the fear that the technology that makes online learning more engaging isn’t quite there yet.
Working backwards, I can assure you that the technology is there. As you’ll see in Blackboard Collaborate 12, pretty much everything we do is aimed at making the online learning experience as fully engaging as that of the physical classroom, especially when coupled with your institution’s LMS.
And given how wired in today’s students are, we’re getting to the point where it can be argued that bringing real-time collaboration technology into both the physical and virtual classroom mix is becoming the only way to guarantee full engagement. (I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s seen a couple of kids sitting in the same room texting each other.)
I’m going to make a bold statement here: if you’re using an LMS, you should be using Blackboard Collaborate. Asynchronous courses can be personalized with instructor comments via voice authoring. Students can get the help they need from their classmates and instructors with instant messaging.
Whether a course is delivered asynchronously, live online, or in a physical classroom, project collaboration using web conferencing is an excellent way to engage students and help them build their networks. And for today’s students, who are seldom if ever without their iPhones and iPads, being able to participate in class and meetings with a mobile device is rapidly becoming an expectation.
I’ll end by saying that we’re looking forward to showing off Blackboard Collaborate 12 , and debunking all those myths about online learning.