Last week, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) hosted the 2016 Blended and Online Learning Symposium in San Antonio. Each year iNACOL brings together thousands of educators engaged in blended learning from all over the country. The Raising Blended Learners® Demonstration Initiative was featured in multiple sessions throughout the three-day conference.
Demonstration Leaders from Five Demonstration Sites Discuss Raising Blended Learners
Superintendents and Project Managers from the five Demonstration Sites shared their journey into blended and personalized learning through the Raising Blended Learners initiative. Districts discussed the specific problems they are attempting to solve, key features of their planned implementations, and their initial pilots.
How Texas is Piloting Blended and Personalized Learning
Cat Alexander led this informal fireside chat on how Raising Blended Learners began and our goals for the initiative. Cat answered audience questions on lessons learned around getting starting with blended learning, designing implementation support, and supporting sustainability and scalability.
Raising Blended Learners: Creating the Movement, Designing the Competition and Providing Implementation Supports
Raise Your Hand Texas was joined by Heather Staker, co-author of Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools and Matt Wilka, Director at FSG, to discuss the initiative design, the creation of ecosystem of supports and implementation, and FSG’s approach to their three-year developmental evaluation of the initiative.
Two Raising Blended Learners technical assistance providers, Texas Tech University and TNTP, also held sessions featuring Raising Blended Learners at iNACOL.
Universities Pivot to Personalized Learning in Teacher Training: The Texas Tech University Case
Texas Tech University’s session highlighted how the university is responding directly to the needs of partner schools around Texas who are implementing personalized learning. TTU shared more details on their recently developed graduate certificate in blended and personalized learning, which prepares in-service teachers to develop the mindset, pedagogical strategies, and resources needed for personalized learning to work in their classrooms. Fifteen teachers from Raising Blended Learners Demonstration Sites are currently enrolled in this program.
Preparing District to Shift the Paradigm – Lessons from TNTP’s Support of Blended Learning
This session focused on what TNTP has learned through their support of blended learning classrooms, and specifically how to utilize blended learning methods to increase instructional rigor. Joined by Cat Alexander, TNTP shared initial successes and lessons learned from TNTP’s support of the Raising Blended Learners Initiative.
Raise Your Hand Texas Pre-iNACOL Workshop
In advance of the iNACOL conference, Raise Your Hand Texas hosted an additional training workshop for the five Demonstration and 15 Pilot Network sites. During this workshop, TNTP led programming on using their Blended Core Rubric to improve instructional rigor in a blended setting and CA Group coached teams on assessing the current state of their Student Experience in order to improve current practice and meet annual SMART goals. This workshop also gave the Demonstration and Pilot Network sites the opportunity to network with one another and share lessons learned across different districts.
Birdville’s ISD’s blended learning team brainstorms ways to maximize instructional rigor and drive academic improvement through blended instruction.
Team members from KIPP Texas-Houston settle in to refine their design pillars for their new blended learning program which aims to improve math scores and college readiness for their students.