Is Blended Learning
Right For Your School?
Blended learning, the combination of traditional classroom methods and online learning, is rapidly growing in popularity as more charter school start programs.
About two-thirds of U.S. school districts offer these programs, according to teachthought.com. Advocates say this educational approach gives teachers, parents and students more flexibility to personalize a student’s curriculum while still giving them a traditional classroom experience.
Several well-known charter school networks have implemented blending learning, according to educationnext.org. Rocketship, Carpe Diem, KIPP LA and Summit Public Schools have demonstrated significant improvement in their student outcomes, according to the site.
As more charter schools consider a blended learning model, there are several key questions to ask:
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Do You Have Enough Devices For Every Student To Use One?
In order for your blended learning program to be successful, your charter school must have enough devices for every student.
If a significant portion of their school day will be spent working online, you need to ensure every student has access to a device to complete their assignments. If your program requires the students to take the computers home for additional assignments, this should also be factored into your planning.
In addition, you need to ensure that these devices are up-to-date and can handle all of the technology requirements for each of the educational applications you plan to use.
As applications change, it’s important that this is considered as part of your yearly device update and maintenance. You want to ensure your devices are keeping pace with the application requirements.
Do You Have The Bandwidth To Support Online Applications?
Blended learning allows a greater personalization of each student’s curriculum by incorporating online resources. In order to do this, charter schools need to make sure they have the bandwidth to support each of these student devices logging onto the network.
It’s important that the network is designed to handle all this traffic so that students and teachers aren’t frustrated by slow connections or application issues.
Are You Tracking Student Data Through Your Program?
One of the most important actions charter school leaders need to take is to actively track and review student data. Blended learning programs allow advanced students to move more rapidly through lessons while giving slower learners more time and resources to support their growth.
In order to get the most from blended learning, it’s important to capture this data so students and teachers can monitor progress and identify any issues early on.
Do You Have The Right Supporting Applications?
While you’ll obviously want to have a set curriculum for your blended learning program, don’t forget about other applications that can help students, according to an article on Medium.com.
Think about creating online forums where they can ask questions and get help. Encourage them to set up Skype sessions for virtual study groups.
Using consumer technology applications can be an easier way to bolster your students’ learning without having to make another big investment in new applications.
Implementing blended learning can make a dramatic difference for charter schools. Consider these four areas to ensure you’re ready for the transition. By covering these areas, you’ll be able to smoothly shift students into this new program and track their progress regularly.
- About two-thirds of U.S. school districts offer blended learning programs, which combine traditional classroom methods and online learning.
- Rocketship, Carpe Diem, KIPP LA and Summit Public Schools have demonstrated significant improvement in their student outcomes after implementing blended learning programs.
- When considering if a blended learning program is right for your charter school, it’s important to ask these key questions:
- Do you have enough devices for every student to use one?
- Do you have the bandwidth to support online applications?
- Are you tracking student data through your program?
- Do you have the right supporting applications?