How to get started with Blended Learning: Part 3
Step 3: Next level Professional Development
The decision to adopt a new teaching approach is both exciting and angst inducing. Blended learning offers a new way to reach students, so it makes sense that districts want to harness it's potential. As school districts explore the possibilities of blended learning they are also faced with challanges and obstacles that must be acknowledged and planned for. If you are thinking about how to get started with blended learning, this 7 part blog series will explore the steps you should consider as you adopt this new methodology.
It's helpful to read these posts in order, so before continuing:
We're likely all familiar with the push for personalized learning in education (if not...well now you know). There should be just as big of a movement, if not more so, for personalized professional development for our teachers.
Too often PD is disconnected from expectations for teachers in the reimagined classroom/Classroom 2.0.
Heather Hill, professor at Harvard puts it a bit more bluntly, "The professional development 'system' for teachers is, by all accounts, broken." She goes on to say that PD tends to be "short-term, episodic, and disconnected from teachers in-class practice".
If teachers are expected to help implement blended learning via, say, an LMS, shouldn't the PD given to those teachers be delivered, at least in part, with that same technology?
It's not rocket science by any means but the point is worth making that by delivering professional development in an LMS environment, teachers will become familiar with the technology and will be far more likely to adopt it within their classrooms.
Providing real world examples of how to 'blend' instruction in a sound way is a defining factor in the success if blended learning.
Professional Development should involve:
- Creating choice in student learning
- Becoming a facilitator (instead of the old 'sage on the stage')
- Utilizing technology to support learning among other learners
Creating an environment that encourages teachers to take chances will instill confidence in the new program.
Beyond the strategies and methods, teachers should have practice using the various tools of the LMS as part of their PD.
These tools can include:
- Online discussions
- ...and so much more.
Teachers should have practice creating content and activities that are pedagogically sound in the blended/online learning environment.
All of the new technology that is currently available to educators today will be utterly useless if our teachers don't know how to use it.
Interested in seeing all the steps to implement blended learning in one place?
In part 4 of our 'How to Get Started with Blended Learning' series you will learn the importance to selecting the right LMS for your learners. How important it is to get teacher buy-in and how the technology should meet the needs of your learners above all else.