Join us, as our staff shares their expertise in 500 words or less. A quick read with lots to consider and ponder when establishing, maintaining, and evaluating blended learning programs.

Does Blended Work? – The 4Ps of Evaluating Your Blended Program’s Effectiveness

When seeking a return on investment (ROI) for blended learning, one must first have a vision for what blended classrooms should look, act, and feel like. When attempting to answer, ““How do we know blended learning is working,” consider breaking the measures of evaluating blended learning effectiveness into four different data sources, which I like to call the 4Ps: Performance, Pedagogy, Perception, and Partnerships.

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Hiring for Jobs to be Done 

Understanding the “job” for which one is hiring for will benefit the client in selecting the right product and service in need and maximize its fullest potential. Using online content and tools has become a regular appearance in the nation’s K-12 classrooms. Many different deployment methods have been utilized – often lumped into a single category of ‘digital learning.’ However, in the landscape of the classroom, when technologies are brought into the fold, not all programs are created equal.

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Curriculum Mapping for Blended

When partnering with digital curriculum, think through the process of how to best utilize the digital content. One way of doing this is creating a curriculum map that outlines the standards and objectives. Then align the digital curriculum that will help you meet these goals. Start small. For example, look at one unit of study at a time, rather than the whole semester or school year. Partnerships are never easy, but they can make our lives better. Remember the true focus here is not the adult in the room – but the student learner. Their world is filled with technology advantages. Our classrooms must model this by providing learners with the best of both worlds: the teacher they love and the ability to drive their own learning with digital curriculum and authentic assessments.

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Partnering with Digital Content

It’s that time of year again, when students are excited to meet their new teachers and staff are busy preparing classrooms. It’s important to kick the school year off on the right foot. One that can lead to excitement, innovation, and higher student gains. As the saying goes, “We can’t keep doing the same thing, and expect different results.” It’s a new school year. Time to reflect and start fresh. Set some goals. Look for a digital partner you can share instruction with in your classroom. Make a new year resolution to distribute the load and change your instructional approach to a blended personalized classroom. Partner with a quality digital curriculum.

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Paving a Path to Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is a word that is thrown into every educational conversation, yet does it have a single meaning, or is the definition determined by the individual who hears or uses it. There is a four-part “working definition” that includes competency-based progression, flexible learning environments, personal learning paths, and learner profiles. Imagine doing all of this without technology. Blended learning, coupling the best of face-to-face instruction with the best of digital learning, capitalizing on both human and technology resources, is the road most travelled.

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Expanding on the CIA of Blended Learning

The CIA of blended learning; digital Curriculum, guided Instruction, and authentic Assessment, has grown since the December 2016 debut, as we’ve present this concept as a framework when adopting blended learning. The circular relationship of the three elements demonstrate the one-third relationship and circular flow for program design and professional development that can shift teacher mindset for partnering with digital content to establish a blended personalized learning environment.

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Fostering an Environment for Blended Personalized Learning

As teachers gain expertise through blended rotational models, they become better prepared to implement a more disruptive model of blended personalized learning. The implementation of such will occur on a continuum for each teacher, classroom, and school. All are at a different starting point and potentially a different ending point. It’s important to create precise messaging and scaffolded steps to guide teachers, classrooms, and schools along their journey.

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Growing Up Digitally in High School

Allow students to grow up digitally. From the early freshman year to college ready senior year, digital learning can open doors for high school students. Use the CIA model of blended learning, where teachers have a full understanding and embrace a balanced approach to digital curriculum, guided instruction, and authentic assessment in blended classrooms that introduce students to taking ownership of their own learning, in a nurturing environment. Building on success, year after year, in a slow roll, students and staff become familiar with partnering with digital content. Begin in the early years and gradually release responsibility to students for their own learning.

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Book: Think Outside the Box

I’ve spent the last year accumulating and assembling program advise and deployment designs for secondary schools into a new book. I’ve gathered these words of wisdom, (nearly twenty years’ worth in the digital learning front) from working with hundreds of schools and thousands of classroom teachers in Nevada’s Clark County School District, the fifth largest in the nation. Below are a few excerpts from my new book titled: Think Outside the Box: The CIA of Blended Learning and 10+ Designs for Secondary Schools. Not only will schools of the future need to think outside the box, they must think differently about the relationships of curriculum, instruction, and assessment (CIA). In blended and personalized learning, that’s: digital Curriculum, guided Instruction, authentic Assessment.

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Creating a Five Year Plan

August is a wonderful time of the year. The new school year is upon us. The energy level is high. Excitement fills the air from parents, students, and teachers. How will you capitalize upon this? Who can you reach out to support your dreams and desires? Earlier this month, I had the pleasure to share Clark County’s path of success in a recent podcast.

Listen to the 30 minute Podcast #40

Take inventory. Where are you today? Where do you want to be? How will you scale the great divide?

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Four Mindsets for Digital Learning

Teaching is a craft, an art, and the core values stem from seeking instructional methods that better serve students’ understanding and growth. The digital learning environment requires teachers to re-think their place, their role, and the needs of students when digital curriculum aides in the delivery of content. Four different educator mindsets arise when deploying digital curriculum:
See Mindset Infographic
1. Online
2. Blended
3. Innovator
4. Designer

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Path to Digital Learning

On April 1st, I had the pleasure to enjoy and present at the Blended Personalized Learning Conference in Rhode Island. In preparation for the sharing of the 10 Digital Learning Models (book coming this summer), I was interviewed by Nick DiNardo in a “Meet Education Project” Podcast.

Listen to the 30 minute Podcast #173

In the podcast, you will hear my passion for digital learning. The passion that drove me to create i3DigitalPD with a desire to share all that I have learned over the past fifteen plus years. Each of us are at a different place in our journey to digital learning. There is no one road to travel, however there are many paths that will lead us to success.

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The Cost of Change

When you think of the words “blended learning” what image comes to mind? I ask this because blended learning models are not just one thing. It’s like the words, “vehicle” or “home.” You have a mental image of a vehicle and a home, but your mental image is probably not the same as the person next to you. Vehicles and homes come in many different shapes, sizes, colors and prices. A pickup truck, compact automobile, and luxury sports car are all very different vehicles. As are a two-story, ranch, and apartment homes. Sadly, for some of our students their vehicle is home.

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The CIA of Blended Learning

Every quality classroom is built upon three components – curriculum, instruction, and assessment, or CIA for short. In a digital learning world the CIA is the same, just with qualifiers.
See CIA Infographic

C = Digital Curriculum
I = Guided Instruction
A = Authentic Assessment

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A Messy School-wide Digital Plan

Without a complete understanding of the changes in education too many administrators lead into the digital age with making teacher requirements, without understanding the ramifications. Most building administrators have the foresight to know that each and every teacher needs to have a digital presence. But without leadership and guidance this can become a train wreck – very quickly.

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Keep the Human Touch in the Online Learning Environment

Too often we hear talk about teacher-absent online courses, where someone made the decision that the digital curriculum was enough, but is that what we really want? The human touch is so important. When a teacher shows that they care about their students, the student in turn cares about the class. Many times over we have seen students who showed that ‘mean and nasty’ teacher a thing, by failing their course. Student can also rises to the occasion and achieves more than possible because the kind heart of the teacher coached the student to believe in their abilities, grew self-confidence, and pushed them to success.

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Changing Mindsets

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Instructure Canvas Learning Management System staff about preparing teachers for a digital learning classroom. Over the last five years working with Nevada’s Clark County School District, with over 25,000 teachers, in this area we’ve seen the full scope of educators from early adopters, to middle meddlers, and the slow to change. Moving to digital learning takes a mind shift in pedagogy and philosophy that embrace technology as a tool for instruction.

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Hybrid Model: Thinking Differently

Budget cuts and staff reductions have hit many schools hard. It’s time to look “outside the box” when trying to deal with growing student populations and fewer quality teachers to serve them. Digital content is ideal for building foundational skills. We need to look closely at how schools can use digital content to support student learning and reduce the teacher workload, yet increase teacher reach (e.g. caseload).

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