On Friday we looked at many of the aspects of your teaching practice that will change regarding student learning, communication with other stakeholders, etc. But you’ll also want to change the way you grow as a teacher moving forward and here are some avenues to facilitate that growth.
Changing your PD
If you are going to take this plunge, you’ll want to be looped into the latest professional development surrounding blended learning. This is a new area within education, so this list is sure to expand rapidly in the near future. Here are some options I have either experienced firsthand, or have reason to believe are worth considering:
- Lausanne Learning Institute (three years ago when I went it was called The Laptop Institute- it’s crazy how not so long ago we were focused on the technology instead of the learning)- The guys from the Lausanne Collegiate School do a great job with presentations/workshops modeled around best practices/research around all types of progressive learning models, including blended learning.
- Coursera has two Blended Learning MOOCs in its course catalogue as of this writing. One is titled Blended Learning: Personalizing Education for Students and it ran last semester and the other is called K-12 Blended and Online Learning run through the University System of Georgia and Kennesaw State University and began on January 6.
- The Teacher Training Center (TTC) runs an online blended learning course for $400 that is designed specifically for international school educators and starts on February 3. I took a different course with the group that runs these workshops last summer and the reputation that they are of a high quality was supported by my experience.
- The Online Educational Symposium for Independent Schools (OESIS) is running a symposium in Marina del Rey, CA, in February. They say they are the only organization “focused exclusively on the opportunities and threats of online and blended learning for independent schools”.
Changing your bookmarks
There are a growing number of blogs dedicated to blended learning. Here are some of the ones that I have found to be the most useful:
- Blend My Learning is a site dedicated to furthering the dialogue around blended learning through 44 blog authors who are current blended learning practitioners.
- The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation has a Blended Learning Universe page (still in beta testing). It has links to blended learning research and a directory of blended learning schools that is quite comprehensive.
- The Getting Smart blog (this one) has a 125 Top Blogs on Blended Learning post with a variety of subjects and themes represented.
- Blended Learning Now, sponsored by the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust), posts the most current articles about blended learning from a variety of different sources.
- The Learning Accelerator is on a mission to change K-12 education through support of blended learning in school districts across America.
- Twitter– follow Michael Horn-@michaelbhorn, Alex Hernandez- @thinkschools, and Tom VanderArk- @tvanderark to get started. Search #blendedlearning to find out what is currently being discussed regarding blended learning.
My final thought would be to please be patient with this process as it will take many iterations before you feel you’ve gotten it right. You are going to want to change and tinker with the different learning experiences for months and maybe even years moving forward and that’s a fantastic reality. It is important to keep in mind that of the many learning journeys that will be happening in your classroom… one of them will be yours.
Mark Engstrom has 18 years of experience teaching in public and independent schools on three different continents. He is currently a Geography Teacher and the Middle School Assistant Principal at Graded- The American School of Sao Paulo. He can be reached through Twitter at @markaengstrom or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.