To go blended, these teachers take the driver’s seat
May 30, 2018 |
May 30, 2018 |
Although much of our research has focused on U.S. trends in blended learning, over the past year we’ve taken an increasingly global lens on how schools are going blended. This month we sat down with Jacob Rosch, head of educational technology at Collège du Léman in Switzerland, to hear about his team’s teacher-customized blended-learning adoption process.
This international school for two to eighteen year-olds is part of the Nord Anglia Education group. Teachers here take their blended-learning training in many directions, adopting a variety of models depending on their students’ needs and personal teaching styles.
Each academic year, Collège du Léman teachers can opt into a blended-learning professional development program run by Rosch in partnership with his counterpart Matthew Roberts at another Nord Anglia school based in Switzerland, Collège Champittet. The program includes three complete days of in-person training sessions over the course of the school year, as well as ongoing implementation support and a series of classroom observations (by Jacob and Matthew, administrators, and peer teachers both in and out of the blended-learning cohort) throughout the year. Each of the 15 Collège du Léman teachers in the program are granted structured planning time to support them as they adapt their practices to a blended-learning environment. They also participate in an online discussion forum among both the current cohort and previous cohorts of blended teachers.
The aim of the program is to arm each teacher with knowledge of different practices but ultimately offer them freedom to try out model(s) to discover the right fit for their classroom(s). The result? Although many schools adopt consistent blended approaches across their grade levels, Collège du Léman has a plethora of customized blended models under the same roof.
It’s worth noting that all online curriculum is teacher-created and -curated. Here we highlight three of these teachers’ models, which include Flipped Classroom, Station Rotation, and Flex.
Anja Werthenbach’s Flipped Classroom
Anja has been flipping her high school math classroom since 2013, creating all of the course videos herself and uploading them onto iTunesU. Students are tasked with watching these videos at home and writing down any questions they have. They are encouraged to also practice assigned exercises in the textbook until they get stuck.
When students come into the classroom (sitting in tables of six), they quickly summarize the video lesson from the night before as a whole class and Anja checks to see that they’ve taken notes. Then, students start exercises out of their textbook. While the students are working, Anja gives more targeted support to certain students – they have a traffic light system with colored blocks so that she can simply scan the room to locate who needs help. The targeted support she gives can be 1-on-1 or in small groups. Students can also work with each other to troubleshoot their own issues.
If students finish all of their exercises early, they can go onto the next lesson. Anja uploads video lessons of up to three chapters ahead of where they’re at, which can be challenging to manage, but allows students to more freely work at their own pace.
Antony Pryke’s Flipped Classroom and Station Rotation
Antony uses a Flipped Classroom model for most of his fifth-grade lessons. He is also experimenting with a Station Rotation model for math lessons.
For the Flipped Classroom, Antony first uploads to the paperless classroom app called Showbie all of his self-curated curriculum pieces, which include videos and presentations explaining a concept, as well as activities for students to test their knowledge. Students are expected to watch the lesson videos and go over the presentations for homework. While in class, students work in pairs on activities at their own pace. The activities are of varying difficulties, and Antony helps direct each student to an appropriate level. While students are working on their own, Antony supports students as they ask for help.
For the math Station Rotation, Antony splits his students into 3 to 4 groups. Groups then rotate to different stations, one of which typically is to use the MyMaths program on iPads.
Amy Lu’s Flex model
Grade 6 through 8 students in Amy’s intermediate math courses learn their lessons through videos and exercises that Amy has created for them. At the beginning of class, students watch a video of Amy explaining a concept – during the video, there are times when students are prompted to pause the video and complete exercises online for practice. Then, when they are done watching the video, they have more exercises to do on their own to drill down their understanding. There are easy, medium, and difficult questions, and students select which set of questions they think is right or challenging for them. Students are also given freedom to move at their own pace, with some students working up to four chapters ahead of their peers and others working a bit more slowly.
While the students are watching the videos and completing exercises, Amy floats around the room, answering individual student questions as they arise. Alternatively, she looks at the exercises that they have completed and then helps a student who she notices needs more support.
How are the teachers in your school implementing blended learning? Share your team’s story(ies) in a BLU profile.