Training Teachers on blended learning
Multiple definitions of blended learning exist, some of which have led various groups to become skeptical that teachers will no longer be needed, or that students will be glued to a computer screen all day long. Brandywine has clearly defined blended learning lessons and units as a blend of three components: direct instruction (teacher providing face-to-face instruction), digital learning (students using devices to access information, receive instruction, and gather, store, and present information), and collaboration (working with others – face-to-face and/or virtually to share ideas and problem solve). The design of a blended learning lesson or unit provides the student with the (monitored) flexibility to decide not only the where and when certain learning tasks will take place, but, at times, greater variety in demonstrating the knowledge and understanding acquired.
This approach to learning is much different than the traditional “lock step approach” of all students completing the same learning task at the exact same time that has been used as the educational model in schools for centuries. Training teachers in this new pedagogical approach that heavily relies on the purposeful use of instructional technology will require intense professional development, coupled with follow-up coaching and support. Like students, teachers are at various levels of understanding and proficiency when it comes to understanding how to design, deliver, monitor and assess student learning in a blended learning environment. Educators will need to demonstrate their own “love of learning” in challenging themselves to gain new understanding, attaining new skills, and demonstrating proficiency in a core set of technology standards needed to prepare students for college- and career-readiness of the 21st Century.
The design of the professional development offered to staff will be provided in a blended learning format. A strategic combination of face-to-face direct instruction will be coupled with digital online learning and peer collaboration.