How to get started with Blended Learning: Part 6

Step 6: Is it working?

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:

Now that you've got the foundation in place (technology, established baseline, some learning data) it's time to take the next step, which is to see for yourself if your new instructional model is making a difference with your teachers and students. 

In other words... is it working?

Not only do you need to answer this question but your teachers also want to know what impact their new methods are having on their students?

Observing classrooms is an obvious way to go about answering that question. 

An even better way is to observe classrooms and teachers in an objective way

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The Teaching Learning Process

There are three key aspects of the teaching-learning process:

  1. Inputs/resources
  2. Teachers interactive competencies
  3. Outcomes (i.e. student learning)

Inputs are those resources that support teachers' acheivement of a set of competencies that then render improved learning outcomes for students. 

Unfortunately many observation tools do not provide clear indicators of observable behaviors and a judgement or subjective based approach emerges. 

This approach is (understandably) frustrating to teachers which causes them to fear observations and the subsequent reviews instead of viewing them as an opportunity for professional growth. 

Download the whitepaper

ClassGather

ClassGather is an observational tool that addresses the problem and encourages continual professional growth. 

It is aligned to research based standards in order to obtain both objective and subjective data that is reliable and valid. 

It can be used as an administrator evaluation tool as well as a peer to peer collaboration asset. According to the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning:

Finding ways to embed observations of effective teaching practices into exisitng systems for evaluation and feedback can help motivate teacher change.

ClassGather allows admins or peers collective objective data on teaching practices and student behaviors. Any observable behavior in the classroom can be tracked, thereby providing data that supports productive and collaborative discussions with teachers. 

The observation data can also drive meaningful professional development to teacher needs while also assessing the effectiveness of the new blended learning model. 

Asking yourself the question 'Is what we're doing effective?' and then taking the time to answer that question will allow you to indentify areas of improvement and continue to adjust and make your new model better for your teachers and students. 

Want to know more about how to figure out if blended learning is working for you?

Download the Blended Learning Puzzle whitepaper

 

In part 7 of our 'How to Get Started with Blended Learning' series we'll take the final step and put all of the pieces of the blended learning puzzle together. 

WRITTEN BY

Barbra Thoeming Director of Education Strategy at Thrivist, LLC