10 Steps to Build Support for Blended Learning

Photo Courtesy of QueensJournal.ca

To build support for a blended learning initiative, start by inventorying  hardware and widely used apps, testing broadband, and identifying blended learning programs and strategies.  Consider the following ten strategies over the course of six months to begin to lay the groundwork for development and adoption of blended learning models.
1.Exhibit superintendent and cabinet support for blended learning in weekly staff communications.  Model mobile technology leadership in meetings.
2.Conduct a board workstudy on the Innosight Institute report Classifying Blended Learning and visit (at least using video) leading blended learning models.
3.Build teacher support by featuring flipped classroom examples.  Visit with every faculty to learn what’s working, find leaders, and identify priorities.
4.Build union support by reviewing Opportunity Culture models, discussing differentiated staffing, and the potential for improved working conditions and career opportunities.
5.Build principal support by supporting a blended professional learning experience like Abeo’s Innovative Principal Network.
6.Develop a network of leadership schools like NYC iZone.  Build a local philanthropic partnership using the Next Generation Learning Challenges criteria for new and conversion schools.
7.Help every staff member build a learning plan (using a platform like Bloomboard).  Support individual and school based learning opportunities.
8.Launch a community conversation. Visit every PTA, Rotary, Kiwanis, and Chamber meeting.  Ask them what they are excited about and concerned about to surface issues that need to be addressed.
9.Build program management capacity. Find a capable internal project manager. Add external capacity if necessary.  Schedule regular meetings with senior leadership. Plan for weekly stakeholder communication.
10.Develop a three year budget plan reallocating resources to support a high access environment. (See Funding the Shift to Digital Learning.)
Blended learning implies a big complicated multifaceted project. It requires a lot of support building before and communication during implementation.  Start a regular blended learning email blast and at least a month community communication.
If the district doesn’t have a staff advisory group, the shift to blended learning is a good time to develop one. Build a community advisory committee of influential parents and business leaders. It may be worth developing an edtech committee including community experts.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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