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Improving Schools Through Blended Learning

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, 12:30—1:30 p.m. ET
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 Improving Schools Through Blended Learning(10/24/2012) 
7:40
Bryan Toporek: 
Good morning, all, and welcome to today's free live chat, "Improving Schools Through Blended Learning," sponsored by Curriculum Associates. I've just opened the chat for questions, so please start submitting any you have below.

We'll be back at 12:30 p.m. ET with Catlin Tucker and Judy Burton -- hope you can join us!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 7:40 Bryan Toporek
12:29
Bryan Toporek: 
Thanks again, folks, for joining us for today's free live chat,  "Improving Schools Through Blended Learning," sponsored by Curriculum Associates. We'll be getting underway in just a few minutes.

In the meantime, please keep submitting any questions you have below! 
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:29 Bryan Toporek
12:31
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Hello everyone, and welcome to today's chat about improving schools through blended learning!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:31 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:31
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Thank you so much for joining us.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:31 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:31
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
We have two guests who are very experienced with blended learning here to share their thoughts and experiences with you.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:31 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:31
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Catlin, will you go ahead and introduce yourself please?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:31 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:32
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Our other guest, Judy, is having some technical difficulties but hopefully will be joining us shortly.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:32 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:32
Catlin Tucker: 
Hello everyone, I teach 9/10th grade English and have taught online college leve classes. My interest in blended learning grew from these experiences.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:32 Catlin Tucker
12:32
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great! Thanks, Catlin.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:32 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:33
Catlin Tucker: 
I spent last year on leave writing a book for K-12 teachers about how to begin blending online work into their traditional classrooms.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:33 Catlin Tucker
12:33
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Perfect. Let's go ahead and get started with this question from Anne.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:33 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:33
[Comment From anneanne: ] 
I am being introduced to blended learning for the first time. I work with struggling readers K-6. Is there a general scope and sequence that I can follow, with suggested websites, software, that would help my students to learn to read, using the blended learning model?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:33 anne
12:33
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Do you have any suggestions for where Anne can go to get started on this?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:33 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:35
Catlin Tucker: 
Anna,
Reading is a big focus throughout new Common Core Standards. There are several websites that specifically provide support to readers. My suggestion would be to google reading programs for elementary...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:35 Catlin Tucker
12:36
Catlin Tucker: 
I tend not to use pre-created programs. Have you considered grouping students online using tools like Google docs where they can read and engage around a text together...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:36 Catlin Tucker
12:37
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a suggestion from the audience...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:37 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:37
[Comment From jenn p.jenn p.: ] 
Hi, Anne, When I taught a blended learning academy over the summer we used a program called Imagine Learning to differentiate reading skills, ST Math (which develops conceptual understanding), and Myon (an online reading library)-just to name a few programs.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:37 jenn p.
12:37
Catlin Tucker: 
I've found that simply copying text onto a Google doc, then including a small group of readers on that doc to actively ask questions, make comments, and work together to digest the story, reading, etc. can be really powerful.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:37 Catlin Tucker
12:37
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Barb has a good question I think to throw out here in the beginning of our discussion...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:37 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:37
[Comment From BarbBarb: ] 
Do you have a general model for blended learning classrooms? What should or could that classroom look like?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:37 Barb
12:38
Catlin Tucker: 
Anna,
In my work with teachers, I have heard several say they have found success with programs lik Time4Learning or Reading A-Z, but I have not personally used them with students.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:38 Catlin Tucker
12:39
Catlin Tucker: 
Barb,
Blended learning looks slightly different in almost every school. Some schools adjust schedules or using learning labs to create their blend. Teachers, like me, in traditional schools are creating their own blend...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:39 Catlin Tucker
12:40
Catlin Tucker: 
I am using online components to complement and enhance what we do both inside and outside of the classroom. Online discussion, group collaboration, etc. are big pieces of my blended model.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:40 Catlin Tucker
12:40
Catlin Tucker: 
I think blended models that are teacher driven tend to be more well received than those that are pushed from the top down.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:40 Catlin Tucker
12:41
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great. It does seem like the more I learn about blended learning, the more it becomes obvious that it can look REALLY different from one school to the next.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:41 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:41
Catlin Tucker: 
Teachers know what works well for them, their subject area and their populations. The trick is weaving together instructional mediums successfully to actively engage students.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:41 Catlin Tucker
12:41
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question that a couple of folks have touched on from Regina.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:41 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:41
[Comment From ReginaRegina: ] 
How are school creating a blended classroom when resources (technology) are limited, in the classroom and at home?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:41 Regina
12:41
Catlin Tucker: 
Yes, Katie. Blended learning is a huge umbrella term.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:41 Catlin Tucker
12:42
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
How were you able to find the technology you need to start blending learning in your classroom, Catlin?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:42 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:42
Catlin Tucker: 
Great question, Regina. It is also a valid concern for many teachers. I teach in low technology classroom. I have had to leverage the technology they have at home (and for some...the tech in our community) as well as the technology they bring into class with them.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:42 Catlin Tucker
12:42
Catlin Tucker: 
Mobile devices have been a life saver. Not every student needs a device to use them effectively.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:42 Catlin Tucker
12:43
Catlin Tucker: 
It has been so empowering for both them and for me to explore how we can use their mobile technology to problem solve, collaborate and create.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:43 Catlin Tucker
12:43
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Good point. A lot of people think that the classroom needs to be a 1-computer-per-child ratio in order to move toward blended... but it doesn't sound like that's the case in your classroom at all.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:43 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:44
Catlin Tucker: 
At home, I have replaced almost all pen and paper homework with dynamic online discussions/debates using Collaborize Classroom, group collaboration using Google docs, and now I am exploring using TED-Ed lessons.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:44 Catlin Tucker
12:44
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Catlin, would you group your version of blended more with the "flipped classroom" model? Or something else?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:44 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:45
Catlin Tucker: 
No, my classroom is fairly low tech. I have a teacher computer and a student use computer that was donated by the computer recycling program in my community. The rest is leveraging their technology.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:45 Catlin Tucker
12:45
Catlin Tucker: 
Katie,
The flipped classroom model is one approach to blending your instruction. I definitely use it, but it is one piece of a larger puzzle.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:45 Catlin Tucker
12:46
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question from Jessie regarding content...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:46 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:46
[Comment From Jessie LaHaie (TechSmith)Jessie LaHaie (TechSmith): ] 
Catlin, you mentioned using online resources. Do you create any content yourself? Videos, recorded lessons, etc.?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:46 Jessie LaHaie (TechSmith)
12:46
Catlin Tucker: 
I flip my classroom so that I can allow students to work at their own pace and to use the beautiful time created in the classroom for dynamic hands on activities.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:46 Catlin Tucker
12:46
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's another resource from Anissa...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:46 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:46
[Comment From AnissaAnissa: ] 
Here is a link to a great website on flipped learning; sharewire.com/flipped there is a video with Alan November which provided great information includes ideas of how to use community and school resources flexibly for students who don't have internet access or tech at home.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:46 Anissa
12:47
Catlin Tucker: 
I do both, Jessie.
For a long time, I grabbed ready-to-use content from PBS.org, History.com, KhanAcademy, etc. then wrapped that content in dynamic discussions or activities. Now I have started recording more of my own stuff so that I can flip more of my instruction.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:47 Catlin Tucker
12:48
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question from Andrea that comes up frequently when we talk about allowing students to use mobile devices in class..
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:48 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:48
[Comment From AndreaAndrea: ] 
How can you control the use of the mobile devices in the class, students could be chatting or sending messages to each other in the class time, how are the rules to use it??
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:48 Andrea
12:48
Catlin Tucker: 
Anissa,
Thanks for sharing that. It is important to connect the kids without reliable access at home to resources in their school and/or community. So often I am asked, "what if they don't have access?"...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:48 Catlin Tucker
12:48
Catlin Tucker: 
Now the question I ask is, "How can I get them access?" They need these skills.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:48 Catlin Tucker
12:49
Catlin Tucker: 
Andrea,
I have strict volume off and screen down policy when we are doing anything that does not require a device. When we use the devices, I say "screen up." Since they know they will get to use them, I think it actually deters them from trying to use them for social purposes in class.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:49 Catlin Tucker
12:50
Catlin Tucker: 
Mobile devices are no longer taboo in my class. It makes using them less of a temptation.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:50 Catlin Tucker
12:50
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Good point.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:50 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:50
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question submitted earlier from Mark:
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:50 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:50
[Comment From MarkMark: ] 
Appears many school districts are jumping into blended (and online) learning from a fiscal motive rather than a pedagogical one. What are your thoughts?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:50 Mark
12:50
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
What are the "right" reasons for exploring blended learning?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:50 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:51
Catlin Tucker: 
Mark,
I think the only reason to embrace a new approach to teaching and learning is to improve learning outcomes for students. Period.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:51 Catlin Tucker
12:51
Catlin Tucker: 
If blended learning is a cost cutting tactic, I am not supportive of it.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:51 Catlin Tucker
12:52
Catlin Tucker: 
As teachers we are working with increasingly diverse populations. I believe blended learning allows us to better meet their needs, while arming them with the skills they need to be successful in an increasingly global economy.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:52 Catlin Tucker
12:52
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
By the way, I am seeing that the link Anissa shared is coming up "not found". Anissa, if you have a replacement link, please send it along!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:52 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:52
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Another question from Jessie..
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:52 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:52
[Comment From Jessie LaHaie (TechSmith)Jessie LaHaie (TechSmith): ] 
Have you gotten much feedback from parents on the blended method? How do they feel about it?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:52 Jessie LaHaie (TechSmith)
12:54
Catlin Tucker: 
Parents react differently. Most are happy I am including technology as they themselves are being asked to use this same technology in their work lives. Others are less comfortable with technology because they do not have much experience with it. Definite divide.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:54 Catlin Tucker
12:54
Catlin Tucker: 
I try to communicate the WHY with them...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:54 Catlin Tucker
12:55
Catlin Tucker: 
I want parents to understand my motivation and the goals of using technology. At my Back-to-School night, I included many pieces of tech that I use with their students so they could better understand what their kids are using.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:55 Catlin Tucker
12:55
Catlin Tucker: 
I created an Animoto video of their kids working in my class, I opened a back channel using TodaysMeet and I gave them a virtual tour of my class website. They responded very well to that. I think it lowered their anxiety.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:55 Catlin Tucker
12:56
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question from Matt H -
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:56 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:56
[Comment From Matt HMatt H: ] 
What are some improvements in student learning outcomes you've seen as a result of blended learning, Catlin?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:56 Matt H
12:56
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
What kinds of positive results from blended learning have you seen in your classroom?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:56 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:57
Catlin Tucker: 
Not sure where to start on that question, Matt : )
So many improvements. They are better communicators all around. Because so much of their work online requires both reading and writing, they naturally become better at articulating their ideas...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:57 Catlin Tucker
12:58
Catlin Tucker: 
Our classroom community is stronger. Because they engage asynchronously online all of the time, they use each others name and learn so much from each other. This really builds a class culture and a community of learners.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:58 Catlin Tucker
12:58
Catlin Tucker: 
My kids come in talking about the work they do online. They are more active in terms of our in class conversations and activities because they have gained confidence via their interactions with their peers online.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:58 Catlin Tucker
12:58
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Melissa Smith says she's seen similar results ...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:58 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:58
[Comment From Melissa SmithMelissa Smith: ] 
Positive results - The students are more active and engaged, truly motivated to participate in their learning.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:58 Melissa Smith
12:59
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Barb wants to know about blended learning and differentiated learning..
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:59 Moderator: Katie Ash
12:59
[Comment From BarbBarb: ] 
Can you explain some ways that you can differentiate your teaching using blended learning?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:59 Barb
12:59
Catlin Tucker: 
I also use things like Google docs where I can give much more formative feedback than ever before. I really see their progress and can support them the entire way through a writing assignment or project.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:59 Catlin Tucker
1:01
Catlin Tucker: 
Hi Barb,
It is easier to connect students with resources that speak to their ability level when they do some work online. I can Google search topics and find informational texts on the same topics at different reading levels. When I flip my classroom, they can pace themselves so that strong students watch a video clip once and struggling students can pause, rewind and re-watch...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:01 Catlin Tucker
1:02
Catlin Tucker: 
The questions I present online are also layered for different levels. I have content-rich challenging questions for those kids at the top, but I also have reflective questions that allow struggling students to engage in a meaningful way. What i love about online discussions is the embedded modeling. They learn so much from what their peers say...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:02 Catlin Tucker
1:02
Catlin Tucker: 
Often other students articulate ideas in a way that makes more sense than the way I would say it. Those little things help too.

I'm a big fan of using grouping strategies online and in class to also meet various ability levels.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:02 Catlin Tucker
1:03
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
We should define "flipped classroom" for Carol.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:03 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:03
[Comment From CarolCarol: ] 
I hate to ask this - what do you mean by flipping a classroom?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:03 Carol
1:05
Catlin Tucker: 
Carol,
My apologies. To flip your classroom is to present information online (lecture, tutorial, video clip, reading, etc.) then use class time to build on that information...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:05 Catlin Tucker
1:06
Catlin Tucker: 
The point of the flipped model is to use class time to engage students in the "practice" phase of work, which is typically given as homework. This way there is a subject area expert in the room to support them if they have questions or need help...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:06 Catlin Tucker
1:06
Catlin Tucker: 
I think it creates a wonderful opportunity to create a student-centered classroom. You can tap into the collective potential of the group and have collaborate and work together.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:06 Catlin Tucker
1:07
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a link to a paper from the Innosight Institute that classifies and defines blended learning (including the flipped classroom model)
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:07 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:07
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
OK, let's talk about some of the challenges...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:07 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:07
[Comment From Gregg AlpertGregg Alpert: ] 
What is the biggest or the several biggest challenges or obstacles for teachers to get started with blended learning? Is it lack of resources (people and money), knowledge, implementation?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:07 Gregg Alpert
1:07
Catlin Tucker: 
For example, I have students watch a 10 min video on "How to Write an Introduction Paragraph" as we write our first essay. They take notes, then I actually have them do the writing in class where I can field questions and act more like a tutor providing one-on-one help.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:07 Catlin Tucker
1:08
Catlin Tucker: 
Greg, I honestly thing the answer is tIme, time, time...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:08 Catlin Tucker
1:08
Catlin Tucker: 
Teachers are so overloaded with work that it is hard to know where to begin.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:08 Catlin Tucker
1:08
Catlin Tucker: 
I do have some advice to this end...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:08 Catlin Tucker
1:09
Catlin Tucker: 
1) Start small. Find a web tool you like that complements your class or does something that would help you to engage students
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:09 Catlin Tucker
1:10
Catlin Tucker: 
2) Start slow and be patient with yourself. Starting anything new takes time. Use your students. Many of our kids are very tech savvy. They can be fabulous resources.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:10 Catlin Tucker
1:10
Catlin Tucker: 
3) Don't add technology as something additional. Instead, replace and improve what you already do so that it does not end up adding to your work load.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:10 Catlin Tucker
1:11
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Melissa has some similar advice...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:11 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:11
[Comment From Melissa SmithMelissa Smith: ] 
If a teacher takes on the blended learning he/she must let go of some other stuff in the classroom and accept and believe that the kids are getting the knowledge from the online portion of the class. So not add on to the teachers work load but shift what exactly the work is.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:11 Melissa Smith
1:11
[Comment From Melissa SmithMelissa Smith: ] 
Start a class blog where the homework would be to comment - building a discussion.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:11 Melissa Smith
1:11
[Comment From Melissa SmithMelissa Smith: ] 
Edmodo is a great place to start too.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:11 Melissa Smith
1:11
Catlin Tucker: 
Great point, Melissa.
This is what I love about the shift to the Common Core. There is more emphasis on depth instead of breadth and there is a focus on what kids can do instead of what information do they know.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:11 Catlin Tucker
1:11
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question from Melissa...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:11 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:11
[Comment From Melissa SmithMelissa Smith: ] 
Catlin - What skills would you want early elem school kids to have mastered in order to successfully learn through a blended learning environment in middle - college years? (I know that elem teachers use blended already. But do you think that there are foundational skills that elem teachers should make sure that they teach to build on in later years?)
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:11 Melissa Smith
1:13
Catlin Tucker: 
I think Edmodo and other LMSs are great tools, but many feel more like "teaching management systems" instead of "learning management systems." If a blended program is to be successful long term, I believe we must move beyond using the online space to disseminate and collect information. We need to use it to engage students in active learning.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:13 Catlin Tucker
1:14
Catlin Tucker: 
Melissa,
As technology continues to permeate society, I expect most kids leaving elementary school will have basic keyboard and online navigation skills. I'd love to see them leaving elementary school with a better understanding of how to respectfully and substantively communicate with their peers for academic purposes.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:14 Catlin Tucker
1:15
Catlin Tucker: 
They are communicating via social media at younger and younger ages. I want to "teach" them how to communicate to drive learning. Not sure many understand the difference, even at the high school level.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:15 Catlin Tucker
1:16
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Good point - as you mentioned, Catlin, lots of kids are pretty tech-savvy, but it may be more around knowing how to interact with friends, social media, etc. vs. actual skills for learning
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:16 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:16
Moderator: Katie Ash: 

Let's move to a question from Nora...

Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:16 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:16
[Comment From NoraNora: ] 
How do you balance time online and time providing face-to-face instruction? Does your administration monitor this?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:16 Nora
1:16
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
How has the administration in your school responded to your blended instructional techniques? Have they been supportive?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:16 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:17
Catlin Tucker: 
Katie,
I think too many teachers assume that since kids are firing off text messages and updating FaceBook pages that they know how to engage online. I've found that they need to be actively taught these skills. They have no idea how powerful their words are. They don't see the faces of the people receiving these messages most of the time. This needs to be embedded into our curriculum.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:17 Catlin Tucker
1:17
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Definitely - I hear this from the teachers I speak with over and over.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:17 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:18
Catlin Tucker: 
My administration is supportive. They have not supported me with technology as budget cuts don't allow for much on that end. They are cautious, which I understand. They also trust that I am doing the foundational work.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:18 Catlin Tucker
1:18
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a related question from Jim...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:18 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:18
[Comment From JimJim: ] 
How much training is suggested for teachers before they begin blended learning. Is there an age from k-12 that blended learning is best for?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:18 Jim
1:19
Moderator: Katie Ash: 

What did you do to get started? How did you prepare for a shift to blended learning?

Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:19 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:19
Catlin Tucker: 
So much of my work, which led to my book, was focused on just teaching kids how to communicate online. It was amazingly successful though. Students will stun you with their insights and depth when they know HOW to contribute in a meaningful way and when they realize that online work drives the work done in the classroom.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:19 Catlin Tucker
1:21
Catlin Tucker: 
I had no training, Jim.
I'd love to see professional development offered to support teachers. That said, if it isn't readily available, any teacher can shift to BL model. It takes time, but slowly integrating technology to replace pieces of what you do is really the key. Weaving the work done online back into the classroom is another very important piece of the puzzle.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:21 Catlin Tucker
1:22
Catlin Tucker: 
Katie,
I asked myself...what am I not able to do that I want to do more of? Discussion, student-centered class activites and project based learning were at the top of my list...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:22 Catlin Tucker
1:22
Moderator: Katie Ash: 

I think some teachers are intimidated by the term "blended learning" and it helps to remember that just starting small and integrating technology where it makes sense is a great step towards it.

Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:22 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:23
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question from Odell, clarifying a statement you made earlier, Catlin..
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:23 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:23
[Comment From Odell KOdell K: ] 
Can you elaborate on the differences as you see it between a true LMS and a "teaching management system"?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:23 Odell K
1:23
Catlin Tucker: 
I figured for PBL or student-centered activities to be successful, I better tackle discussion first. (Again, teach them how to communicate.) Then I started engaging them with online discussions outside fo class. In less than 6 weeks, those online discussions began transforming our in class conversations.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:23 Catlin Tucker
1:24
Catlin Tucker: 
I built from there. I had all my kids create a gmail account. I began building in PBL work with a nonfiction focus to compliment our literature titles. It evolved very organically from there. The results have been unbelievable.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:24 Catlin Tucker
1:26
Catlin Tucker: 
Odell,
I'm not sure I can answer that question well. A Learning Management System has attendance, calendar, assignment and discussion features. Typically, I see them used to facilitate quizzing, collecting assignments and sharing information. For me the piece that is missing is the student engagement and connectivity. It is an area of concern for me.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:26 Catlin Tucker
1:26
[Comment From JenniferJennifer: ] 
What is PBL?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:26 Jennifer
1:26
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
PBL = project-based learning
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:26 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:26
Catlin Tucker: 
Sorry for not being more clear, Jennifer!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:26 Catlin Tucker
1:26
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Well, we are almost out of time here. Catlin, do you have any closing thoughts for us?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:26 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:27
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Also, please let us know how we can find you! I know that you participate in Twitter chats... if you'd like to share your Twitter handle, please do!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:27 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:27
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here are some thoughts from the audience as Catlin wraps up.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:27 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:27
[Comment From Matt HMatt H: ] 
Bingo: "In less than 6 weeks, those online discussions began transforming our in class conversations." For me, this is a key rationale for using blended / online learning approaches. They can *improve* f2f learning...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:27 Matt H
1:28
[Comment From Melissa SmithMelissa Smith: ] 
@edutechsmith
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:28 Melissa Smith
1:28
Catlin Tucker: 
I want teachers to claim the term "blended learning." Don't let anyone tell you it has to look a certain way. It does not have to equate to less face time or using pre-canned content. It can be individual teachers selecting technology that complements their classes to be empowered and to empower students. I hope one day that blended learning will be the norm.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:28 Catlin Tucker
1:28
[Comment From JustJust: ] 
I run an initiative introducing 'the world' to kids through a cross curricular range of subjects and I'm looking at 'blended learning' techniques to enhance the absorption of material. It's an interesting subject area to say the least!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:28 Just
1:28
[Comment From Matt HMatt H: ] 
I like creating a "7 tips for online discussion" document and giving it to students. Adults need them too ;)
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:28 Matt H
1:28
Catlin Tucker: 
@CTuckerEnglish is my twitter handle
www.catlintucker.com is my education technology blog
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:28 Catlin Tucker
1:28
[Comment From JimJim: ] 
thanks for making this potentially intimidating topic so accessible
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:28 Jim
1:29
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Thank you so much Catlin for answering so many questions! It's obvious that you have thought a lot about this topic and that you are experienced in participating in online chats as well!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:29 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:29
Catlin Tucker: 
Technology can be transformational in the hands of great teachers. In the blended learning model I advocate for teachers are the ones designing the blend!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:29 Catlin Tucker
1:29
Catlin Tucker: 
It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:29 Catlin Tucker
1:29
Moderator: Katie Ash: 

And thanks to all of you who submitted questions and participating in the discussion. 

Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:29 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:30
Catlin Tucker: 
Thank you to all the educators on today! Great conversation. I know your time is valuable.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:30 Catlin Tucker
1:30
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
We had a really lively chat this afternoon, and I really appreciate everyone's involvement!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:30 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:30
[Comment From RickTNRickTN: ] 
Thank you all for your participation today!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:30 RickTN
1:30
Bryan Toporek: 
That about wraps it up! Thanks, Katie & Catlin, and to all of you folks for joining us for today's free live chat, 
"Improving Schools Through Blended Learning," sponsored by 
Curriculum Associates.

A special thanks to our fantastic guest, Catlin Tucker, and our moderator, Katie Ash. We're sorry that Judy Burton was unable to join us today -- she's catching a flight and couldn't log-in using the airport's WiFi.

We'll have a transcript of today's chat up within the hour on this same page. Thanks again, and have a great rest of the day! 
Wednesday October 24, 2012 1:30 Bryan Toporek
1:30
 

 
 
 

Improving Schools Through Blended Learning

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, 12:30—1:30 p.m. ET

More schools are embracing blended learning, or combining online learning with face-to-face instruction, as a way to personalize learning for students and boost student achievement. Although each blended learning program varies widely—from the flex model where students choose what they learn online supported by in-person teacher interventions, to the rotational model where students rotate from face-to-face instruction to online learning—certain key factors contribute to the success of these programs.

As more research and best practices emerge, the blended learning approach is evolving to incorporate a variety of different forms and strategies. Our guest discussed how blended learning has changed from its inception, what we have learned throughout its evolution, and what factors create successful blended learning environments for students.

Guests:
Catlin Tucker, English/language arts teacher, Windsor High School, Sonoma County, Calif., and author, Blended Learning for Grades 4-12: Leveraging the Power of Technology to Create a Student-Centered Classroom

Katie Ash, staff writer, Education Week and Education Week Digital Directions, moderated this chat.

Related Story:

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