Lawrence Public Schools in Kansas is getting lots of attention for its blended learning initiative, and for good reason. A Lawrence Journal-World article describes a scene that might surprise you, when observing one of the district’s 80 blended learning classrooms:
Most notable was the fact that only a handful of the 20 or so students in [the classroom] were watching [the teacher] or paying any attention.
As a stereo was humming rhythmic salsa music in low volume, most other students were off in other areas of the classroom, reading by themselves or huddled in small groups around computers and talking among themselves.
A few textbooks could be seen on desks and tables, but almost none of them were being used.
In the district’s blended learning classrooms, students have options to personalize their learning and work at their own pace, such as independent online activities, breaking up into small virtual groups, or working directly with the teacher. Doesn’t this make you wish your education experience was like this (especially the salsa music part)?
Integral to the initiative is the technology used to deliver instructional material and enable collaboration with peers. We’re proud that Lawrence Public Schools chose Blackboard Learn™ over other systems such as Instructure Canvas. Even though teachers on the evaluation committee were familiar with Canvas from a six-month pilot, they selected Blackboard, unanimously agreeing that Blackboard Learn was user-friendly, customizable and had a mature set of features for K-12.
“Blackboard Learn was the only option we looked at that was drive-off-the-lot ready,” said Angelique Kobler, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for Lawrence Public Schools. “Some of the other options had features still in development. We needed a platform that fully supports the goals of our blended learning initiative now and in the future.”
We’re excited to support Lawrence’s blended learning initiative and its goals to improve student engagement, better support individual student needs and raise the achievement of all students. Salsa on!