Fall EDLD 5305
Luis Herrera – Lamar University
Blended learning implementation decisions
Blended learning has the potential to shift traditional instruction to a more sophisticated way of learning that provides students with the opportunity to have more control over their learning (Maxwell, 2016, paras. 1-2). The flexibility the approach provides through the different blended learning models serve as the medium for students to become more self-directed learners. The goal is to pilot the blended learning initiative in my classroom during the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year and continue with a wider initiative during the 2021-2022 school year. As an educator, I want to challenge my students as I meet their cognitive and socio-emotional needs in my Spanish classes.
Phase 1 – October – December, 2021
- A formal proposal describing the blended learning initiative is written and shared with the administration team.
- An implementation outline is drafted and peer reviewed by peers from Lamar University.
Phase 2 – January and February, 2021
- During the month of January, 2021, I will review the vision and mission of the school and align the academic goals to match the district’s larger vision. My goal is for every student in my classroom to consistently experience activities that are meaningful, engaging and relevant to their learning. In addition to that, the blended learning activities will be intentionally designed to develop students’ agency and self-efficacy.
- At the beginning of the month of February, I will select two classes in which students do not seem to be engaged when compared to other grade levels or classes. Some of the questions I will keep in mind are: What do I hope to learn? How will I know whether I have learned it? What will I do once the pilot is completed?
- In February, I will create a presentation for parents and students sharing what blended learning is going to look like and sound like in my classroom. Student and family support is of utmost importance for the pilot program to be successful. I will find ways to include students and their families. This will be done through a town hall meeting for parents in which I will explain the why behind blended learning. Having parents’ support is instrumental due to the ongoing continuous improvement phases.
- In February, I will make sure each student who is enrolled in my Spanish classes has access to the internet and a district-issued device. At this point, due to COVID-19, Harmony School Excellence provided each student with a Chromebook device. If the student does not have access to wifi, the school will assign a district-issued hotspot to them. This means that students have the technology and internet access available to them.
Phase 3 – March, 2021 – May 2021: The initiative will start in March and will stop by the end of the 2020-2021 school year. This short implementation will give me preliminary data to make adjustments for the second and widers implementation of the initiative.
- Transitioning to blended learning takes effort and time. As I am the one implementing this approach, I will engage in a continuous learning process in which I will research the latest trends regarding blended learning in combination with other learning approaches that may benefit student learning. Some of the learning theories that will be included are the social-cognitive and constructive approaches. This learning process will support me in designing activities that will increase student engagement, agency and self-efficacy.
- During the month of March, technology and implementation support need to be identified. In collaboration with the principal of the school, Dr. Fidan, I will identify two people who can support students, families and me in case there is a technical difficulty.
- In May, I will meet with the administration team to discuss my preliminary findings, which will include the changes I want to implement for the 2021-2022 school year.
- In June, the principal, Dr. Fidan, will ask staff members if they would like to join the full year implementation. I will provide a short presentation regarding the process.
Phase 4 – June, 2021-October, 2021 (Quarter 1): The following steps will be repeated every quarter.
- I will start a full year implementation in August 2021. The full year will allow me to collect accurate data and build support from administration and other teachers.
- In June, Dr. Fidan will ask teachers who would like to join the implementation of blended learning.
- In August, I will get together with those teachers who would like to implement the program and start training them. Before starting school, the cohort of teachers will provide a townhall for parents in order to present the initiative and answer any questions.
- During the first week of school, each teacher will explain the type of blended learning model being used. Clear expectations will be provided by each teacher.
- Throughout the implementation, it is important to ask myself key questions such as:
- Is it working? Why or why not? How do I know?
- How could I improve it next year (2022-2023 school year)?
- Has student learning been positively impacted? How do I know?
- Are more students engaged in deeper learning experiences?
- As the pilot program is implemented, I need to shift the focus to measuring the success of the initiative. This process may be done through monthly surveys to students, parents, school administrators and support teams. Another data point that may be used is student attendance, which is done through Skyward. The just mentioned data points will allow me to assess the impact on student learning.
- Once I collect the data and analyze it, I will share my findings with Dr. Fidan. In collaboration with the administration team, I will present the findings of the pilot program to the staff at the end of each quarter. All teachers who volunteered to be part of the implementation plan will showcase their findings.
Phase 5 – April 2022-May 2022 Refine and Reflect
- The teachers who implemented the program and I will present the final findings to the administration team. The data will include the results from each quarter as well as the changes that were made throughout the process. This will allow me to provide a better perspective of the type of blended learning model that worked best for my students.
I know that the implementation process will have different bumps on the road. However, I will definitely stay flexible, and monitor/adjust my implementation plan based on feedback provided by students, parents and the administration team. This process will help me lead to the transformation of my teaching style which will positively impact student learning.
Maxwell, C. (2016, February 19). A deeper look at the flex model [web log].