One of my goals for this year is to become more transparent about my own personal growth. In my role as a developer of professional development, I often try to think of ways educators can explore and reflect on their own learning especially in regards to blended learning.
Along with my passion of learning, I also have a love of food. One of my favorite shows is Chopped which can be found on the Food Network. Chefs compete against each other to create a dish using mystery ingredients found in a basket. This got me thinking about how we could add an element of fun to professional development.
In one of our workshops we asked participants to be transparent about their learning, we asked them to create a blog to share ideas and reflect on their experiences. One of the requirements is to write a post about blended learning, but with a bit of a Chopped twist. We asked participants to use items from a mystery basket we provided (see picture) to write a blog post describing what blended learning means to them using all of the “ingredients” from the basket.
Last week I had the opportunity to listen to a keynote from the Global Read Aloud creator Pernille Ripp. One of the big take-aways for me was to do the homework you assign to students, to see what works and what doesn’t. So with that in mind, here is my attempt at doing my own homework.
Blended Learning, Recipe for Success
Mystery Basket Items: Marshmallow, Legos, sunglasses, string and pencil
When I’m asked what blended learning means to me, I think about the importance of building on what you are already doing in the classroom. Similar to Legos, we start with our basic blocks, the things that have stood up over time. We don’t throw things out that are working, but think about how you might modify or change things that are challenging and are not working for our students.
There will always be traditional ways of teaching that work best, just replacing a pencil with a device doesn’t change the learning, using a device doesn’t mean the experience is any better.
Blended learning also challenges us to be pliable, think of a marshmallow, sometimes you will try an activity and it will go well, but at times you may need to manipulate and change that activity- make a Smore! For those students that need a challenge, push them to think deeper.
Finally, blended learning challenges us to make learning applicable and authentic. How can we string together all of our content areas and experiences in a way that has students deepening their own thinking as well as challenging other’s ideas?
Blended learning is a journey, sometimes things will be messy, but in thinking about how blended learning is personalizing and supporting all students, I have to say, the future is so bright, I think I might need to wear shades.