Innovation Implementation


My innovation plan Motivating Blended Learning Educators (MoBLE), introduces a strategy for creating a more innovative, blended learning environment in my school district. It was inspired by my previous experience in a 1:1 high school environment, and my current position as a technology specialist in (my district).

My Vision

 The motivation for MoBLE comes from a push across the United States toward the inclusion of technology as a learning tool in K-12 classrooms. The district in which I teach has made devices accessible to all classrooms. In my school of 585 K-5 students, 381 iPads and 190 laptops are being used in classrooms. My vision is for our school to lead a blended learning approach in every classroom, by using technology more effectively; in ways that students can take ownership of their learning by choosing tools and pace of their lessons.

My Strategy

Engaging faculty

 As a technology specialist, I communicate often with faculty members in my school about how I can blend what students are doing in their classrooms with the technology skills I’m teaching in the computer lab. While some teachers are open to the idea, others tell me to “just do whatever”. For most of my colleagues, there seems to be a strong disconnect between technology and classroom instruction, and my plan is to eliminate it.

  • I will create a regular publication of what students are learning in computer classes and share it with faculty members twice each month. Along with the skills that are being addressed, I will include suggestions for how these skills can be employed in classrooms, including sites and apps that can be used as instructional tools.
  • I will promote open lab times each week, with an invitation for teachers to reserve time to bring their classes in for blended learning experiences.
  • I will include “featured apps” on classroom iPads via Casper, that work well with the skills that are being learned in computer class.


Educating faculty

  •  I will work with those innovative teachers with whom I’ve collaborated and taught shared lessons in the past, to create blended strategies in their classrooms. At weekly PLC meetings, I will ask these teachers to share successful technology-based strategies with team-members, supporting these experiences with data and student feedback.
  • I will ask to be added to the staff meeting agenda as needed to present features of sites and apps to which our teachers and students have access.
  • I will offer “lunch and learn” opportunities to teachers a minimum of two days each month in the faculty lounge.


Getting administrative support

Based on my literature research regarding the use of technology and blended learning, two major barriers prevent educators from using a blended approach in their classrooms. One of these barriers is a lack of accessible devices. Since that is not the case in my district, I will be focusing on the other barrier, which is the time it takes for teachers to design new technology-based strategies.

The educators in my district were presented with three new curriculum plans this year. Redesigning their lessons and changing their scope and sequence takes a lot of their time. Adding assessments and data collection to their workload leaves little time for learning about new technologies and tools.

  • I will discuss the importance of blended learning with my principal and assistant principal and share my research and findings with them. This will open communication for how we might be able to assist our teachers in becoming more innovative.
  • I will propose an opportunity for teachers to observe innovative strategies in other classrooms.


Getting district support

My proposal to district administration will be presented in the form of a letter, including my research, experience, and action plan.

  • I will share my research, and point out the major barriers to creating blended learning opportunities in schools across the U.S.
  • I will share my experience working with educators in my own school, and present data that supports blended learning.
  • I will propose dedicated time for teachers across the district to work together and discuss what technology-based strategies are being used successfully in their classrooms. This time could replace one monthly School-Improvement meeting during the school year.
  • I will propose that one district-mandated weekly PLC meeting each month be dedicated to technology use in the classroom.



A Plan for Innovation: Motivating Blended Learning Educators

Dear (Administrator),

I am currently the technology instructor at (a school in this district), where I am challenged and rewarded every day as a teacher, a problem-solver, an integrator, a mentor and a manager. I am impressed with the availability of iPads and laptops in our school, and especially in our kindergarten and first-grade classrooms, which are 1:1 this year. I appreciate the opportunities that these devices provide to the students at my school and I really want them to be used effectively.

For a recent graduate course I was asked to read a book called Blended:  Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools written by Michael B. Horn, Heather Staker and Clayton M. Christensen. The book is about the power of technology in classroom instruction and the shift to a blended learning environment; one which combines online work with traditional classroom practice to create a system in which students have greater control of time, pace, and path of instruction.

The concept is not a new one. Globally, blended learning is a trend not just in education, but as a professional development strategy in the business world. Certainly a number of teachers in our district are taking advantage of the opportunities that our devices provide to our students, using technology in their own classrooms to create engaging and individualized learning experiences. But I think that there is much more that we, as a district, could be doing to encourage our students to think more independently and to make learning more meaningful for them with technology.

The elementary technology instructors in (our district) are incredible. Their combined experience makes them an amazing resource for innovative learning strategies and our teachers need to be encouraged to ask them for help in using technology in their own rooms.  In my own school,  my offer to help teachers in their classrooms has been well-received by many of my colleagues. But there is a noticeable reluctance among many other teachers to make a shift from what has been traditionally working in their classrooms.

In my research of literature regarding blended learning and today’s teachers, I’ve found significant evidence that (our district) is not alone. A new curriculum and the pressures of gathering data and meeting standards leave teachers across our country with very little time to disrupt their traditional classrooms for blended learning strategies. But there are things that we can do as a district to motivate and support these teachers. For that reason, I am proposing the following:

  • Currently, while weekly PLC’s are meeting by grade level, the technology instructors are all meeting at one school. I’m proposing that once a month, PLC meetings should be dedicated to technology. On those Tuesday mornings, technology staff should remain in their own buildings where they can meet with grade level teachers to discuss the implementation of technology in their classrooms. I have learned through research that small group discussions and collaboration are a much better forum forum for helping teachers employ innovative technology-based instruction in their rooms than one-size-fits-all professional development instruction.
  • I also propose that at least one monthly SIP meeting during the fall semester should be dedicated to professional development in the area of technology. This does not have to be a formal presentation with a pre-planned agenda. Instead, an “unconference”, would allow attendees to determine the topics of discussion and share what’s working and what’s not. If district teachers of the same grade level were to gather to share the strategies for innovative learning that they find successful in their schools, social influence may motivate their colleagues to try it as well.

With so many devices available to our students, it makes sense that we should use them effectively for education. Our teachers struggle to find the time to create new technology-based lessons, which are proven to be more engaging and effective for our students. The district could send a message of commitment to effective blended learning by providing dedicated time for teachers  to work together and share strategies. For many, that may be the only motivation they need.

Thank you for your consideration.

Motivation to Innovation

I’ve been working on a proposal for improving professional development in my district. The blended learning trend is one I fully support, and devices are easily accessible in my building. But many of the people I work with are reluctant to create new strategies. It’s understandable. My co-workers have been presented with a new curriculum, a second SLO, and assessment data requirements that are occupying a majority of their attention. They just don’t have time to redesign their lessons, especially when it demands using technology with which they are not yet comfortable.

The first draft of my innovation plan was reviewed last week and I agreed with the feedback I received.

  • I need to model blended learning, and find 2-3 other teachers in my building to work with me in modeling it in their own classrooms.
  • I need to remove the disruptive learning references, as the word “disruptive” is unnerving to an administrator. (so true)
  • Lead in to the PD part of the proposal with my own blended learning experiences, and that of others I’m working with.

The problem is that although I am a technology instructor, I only have 30 minutes each week to work with students from any class. I’ve come from a 1:1 high school, where I’ve flipped classrooms, created online collaborative environments, and used video tutorials with my students. In my current K-5 environment, I blend learning where I can. But even logging in to O365 with my 2nd-5th graders often takes more than a third of my dedicated class time. I’ve made my open lab times available to them and their students, but they take advantage of the opportunities only to research and type reports or spelling words. I’ve made myself available to classroom teachers, with whom I’d love to “push in” and help integrate technology in with their students. Responses are typically “I don’t have time”, or something along those lines.

My literature research supports my experience. Teachers across the U.S. are spread too thin. Many are frustrated by professional development opportunities that include one-size-fits-all instruction. To some, it’s a waste of time, and time is an extremely valuable commodity among educators. In fact, time may be the one thing that a school district can offer teachers to promote a transformation in the way they teach.

Dedicating release time to teachers would go a long way in motivating them to transform the way they teach. Providing them time to collaborate with co-workers to share what’s working in their classrooms, and to develop new and innovative lessons would be more productive than telling them or showing them how to do it. For that reason, my proposal will be one for re-purposing our regular PLC and SIP meetings. One PLC meeting each month, and one SIP meeting each semester should be dedicated for teachers to work together to focus on blending technology into their lessons. Doing so would at the very least start a conversation about which strategies are working and which are not. One teacher’s experience could inspire another, and meaningful learning would take place in the discussions and collaboration between educators. Best of all, such a decision would be a great way for administrators to send the message that they are committed to improving education through the use of technology.