Blended Learning at Roots Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.
It’s Here to Stay!
This school year marks fourteen years of service in education for me and “WOW!” is the word that comes to mind when I consider how much the field has evolved! In the classroom, I have gone from chalkboards to smart boards and many of us have gone from using landlines to using smart phones as teaching tools.
One creative and innovative approach to learning that has allowed me to evolve as an educator is blended learning. It’s a new wave in education that’s getting more and more attention as increasingly more schools and districts across the nation embrace this approach in their classrooms. There are several online providers and content developers rolling out beta products and management systems at a rapid pace. Khan Academy and Learn Zillion have become household names in the world of educational technology and, this is just the beginning.
In the context of blended learning, students are exposed to online content that is rigorous, self-paced, personalized AND offers immediate feedback. There are smaller groups designed to teach and reach, as well as personalize and intervene; and instruction is truly data driven each and everyday. What teacher could ask for more? Blended learning sounds like a panacea to me! Quite naturally, I want in!
In July, during summer bridge session, I piloted a math station rotation lab for four weeks and introduced 4-8th grade students to online content that motivated, challenged and connected them to a world of math that was different from previous experiences. The students LOVED it! They appreciated the novelty of the content, and the freedom of pace and choice. Students were able to build on concepts that were previously introduced and develop a deeper understanding and connection. They enjoyed knowing what was expected and being held accountable for completing their playlists. With the start of school year 2013-2014, I am happy to announce that blended learning is here to stay at Roots Public Charter School. Won’t you join us?