Monday, February 27, 2012

Making the Blended Classroom Work

In our lower school we have launched two online math programs side by side in different grades. I thought this would be a good way to get the teacher's input about how they use the programs and which they prefer. In grades 2 and 5 we are using a deployment of IXL and in grades 3 and 4 we are using MangaHigh.
Each program has it's own set of benefits and I am still waiting for the teachers to compare their experiences - I will write more about that in the future.

Today I saw a fabulous thing. As I walked past one classroom I saw the teacher working on the SMART Board alongside students working out a math question. Around the room students were working on their IXL program, helping each other and some working independently, while still others sat on the floor and were working in workbooks. I paused by the door to admire this venue - to me this is the best of a blended classroom. In Wikipedia, under Blended Learning it says, "A blended learning approach can combine face-to-face facilitation with computer-mediated instruction and/or discovery learning opportunities."
This teacher brings her students into a blended environment with this new program and the students are loving it. To quote her, "You know you are doing something right when the children in your class thank you for a great math period. This is the most engaged they are all week. Being able to develop, to challenge or to remediate skills for individuals is the best part of using this approach."