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).
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.
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.
- 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.