Here are some research-based best practices for setting your school or district up for success.
Future Ready Schools, a nonprofit led by the Alliance for Excellent Education, has put out a new report called "Blended Teaching and Technology: Simple Strategies for Improved Student Learning." The report offers a research-based framework for implementing blended learning successfully.
Here are some of our favorite points from the report:
Blended learning doesn't mean simply digitizing traditional instruction.
Blended learning is "a fundamental redesign of instructional models with the goal of accelerating learning.… Blended learning models intentionally integrate technology to boost learning and leverage talent; they don’t just layer technology on top of business as usual."
Districts need instructional goals and a solid plan in place to implement blended learning successfully.
"Effectively implementing a new instructional approach supported by blended learning requires more than online content and fancy devices. District leaders must identify the instructional goals and learning outcomes they want to accomplish to ensure that all students, particularly those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in postsecondary education, a career, and life."
Learning technology is not a replacement for teachers.
"While online learning is one aspect of blended learning, it is not the only focus. Blended learning leverages technology to create new and expanded offline opportunities as well. This could include freeing up time for teachers to work with students individually or providing additional opportunities for students to collaborate with classmates. Blended learning changes the nature of instruction — both face-to-face and online — and should improve, not reduce, the quality of human interaction. The online and face-to-face components of blended learning work together to create a comprehensive and cohesive learning experience for students."
It just so happens that we know a thing or two about research-proven blended learning implementation, and we're thrilled to see this conversation taking place. Many schools find themselves unsuccessful in implementing blended learning because purchasing technology is not enough to transform learning. Nikolas Naumba, director of 21st Century learning and technology at Lindsay Unified School District, advises fellow leaders to "fully develop your implementation plan about the effective use of technology and the path that needs to be built before you just start passing things out."
Similarly, we spoke with four leaders about their efforts to lead transformation in their districts — what worked and what didn't, and what they would recommend to others — and compiled our findings into a comprehensive leader's guide.
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Effectively implementing a new instructional approach supported by blended learning requires more than online content and fancy devices.
Future Ready Schools, "Blending Teaching and Technology: Simple Strategies for Improved Student Learning"