Monday, June 5, 2017

Blended Week One: What is Blended Learning?

Welcome to the Summer 2017 eLearning Book Club. We are looking forward to reading and discussing Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools by Michael Horn and Heather StakerThis book can be purchased as a Kindle or paperback book from Amazon. If you don't have the book yet, don't worry. You can jump into the conversation a little late. Just catch up as soon as you're able.

Here are some information to help you as you participate in the book club:

  • A prompt or question will be posted here in the blog every Monday morning. That blog post will also include the reading assignment for the following week.
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  • Respond to our post and/or respond to a comment by another participant each week. The more interaction there is between participants, the richer and more beneficial the conversation will be.
  • In addition to the amazing connections and powerful learning of being in the book club, participants who make a meaningful contribution to every week's discussion will be awarded 22 PGPs.
  • If you have not already done so, register for the book club by completing this registration form
This week you have two assignments. First, in a comment to this post introduce yourself. Include your name, school and/or corporation, and what your role there is. Second, we're jumping right into chapter 1, which is all about what blended learning is, and even what it is not. As you were reading the definition of blended learning, did any of the pieces of the definition surprise you? If you are already teaching in a blended environment, in which model that Horn and Staker shared are you teaching? What other thoughts do you have about blended learning after this introduction? Don't forget to also comment to other participants' posts, if you feel so moved. (If you have any problems commenting, please first ensure that you are logged into your Google account. If you continue to have issues, email Meri Carnahan at carnahan@doe.in.gov.)

Next week we will read and discuss chapter 2, "Are All Classroom Going to Blend?"

560 comments:

  1. My name is Laurie Heridia and I teach 6-8 Vocal Music in Hammond, Indiana. I also work with a collaborative team to coach other teachers and evaluate them throughout the year. I found it very helpful to have the concrete definition of blended learning, where it's a formal education program where student learns in part through online learning, but has some control over time, place, path, and/or pace. This helped me tremendously in identifying what it actually is. I also found it interesting that they cited the misconception of simply including technology into your classroom and how some people view that as synonymous with blended learning. We have several people in my building alone, that use technology on a daily basis, but it does nothing to enhance instruction or to encourage student learning or student mastery, and is therefore not being used appropriately. This was eye opening to me as to how completely different their view of blended learning is compared to what it actually is.
    I also really liked the explanations and visuals about the different types of blended learning and their pros and cons, as I wasn't too familiar with this concept.

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    1. I would have to agree with you on using technology in the classroom but having it do nothing to enhance learning (I have done this!). After chapter 1, I know I have a technology rich classroom that lacks the blended learning aspect.

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    2. I agree as well. It would be beneficial to seek out professional development from our districts to learn ways to improve our use of blended learning.

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    3. It's nice to hear there is another music teacher in this reading discussion! I too agree that adding technology, isn't the answer or enough to give students the best education. There are still schools in American that have NO technology or internet whatsoever, and those student so VERY well in school and have high scores! What does that say about everyone else?

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    4. As a teacher in the same building and as someone that coaches them (instructionally) and evaluates them, it is very frustrating to get past the misconception that having technology in their lesson is benefiting the students, when there is no evidence within the lesson to support that it is adding anything, but that there is more evidence to support that it is hindering their learning. While I'm reading, I'm finding many areas within the text that I would like to use to share with those teachers next year while coaching them in their daily lessons.

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    5. I agree that our schools need to improve better ways to connect with our students by utilizing blended-learning strategies.

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    6. Always remember, technology is a just a tool. It is a means to an end, not the end itself. Teachers need to learn that they should use technology when it enhances the lesson, and allows the students to be creative in ways that were not possible before. Think of the M and R in the SAMR model. Never should you use tech just because it is available. Technology must have a purpose.

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  2. Introduction: I am Krisanne Roll. I teach 10th English at Crawford County High School in Marengo, Indiana. I have been so intrigued by this book and was hooked after reading the reviews and introduction. I loved the solid research-based foundation given to us in the foreword. However, I admit that I loved the down-to-earth language in the actual chapters.

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  3. Hello! My name is Mandy Keller. I am an ENL instructor for Zionsville Community Schools. I am looking forward to getting started on the book today.

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  4. Good morning! My name is Brooke Osterman Bitler. I teach second grade at Eel River Elementary School in Fort Wayne. In the fall, we will have more access to technology, as students get individual chromebooks, so I was excited to get into this study, so I can be well equipped for next year!

    So far I am really enjoying this book. The different definitions did not confuse me, but rather, the definitions clarified some things for me! I think when we have access to technology and how to use it, it is easy to begin by having a "technology rich" classroom. It helps to start here to ensure that kiddos know how to navigate prior to jumping into to a full blended experience. However, we have to be careful to not stay there.

    (P.S.-Chapter two is pretty great!)

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    1. I was surprised to learn that there are so many different ways to incorporate blended learning and ways that schools can mix an match them to meet the needs of their students. I think it was more surprising to me that we weren't really doing any of the types of blended learning with concise definitions in chapter one. I am hoping to integrate a learning model that will give students a larger role in the learning process, though I fear it may be more difficult with the little guys!

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    2. Brooke,

      I love your interest in creating a blended environment, and I'm impressed with your plan to go slow and prepare your students (and parents) for the blended environment. Every step will be thoughtful and intentional! Don't be afraid to reach out whenever you need help!

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  5. Chapter One: What Is Blended Learning?
    Currently, I am the teacher described early on in the text. I use technology for research, surveys, practice exercises, on-line writing, quizzes, creating documents, MLA citations, etc. We have one-to-one (Chrome books) classrooms and these devices enhance our instruction, but it is not "blended learning."
    We do, however, have the online learning (Plato programs) currently in use for credit recovery classes. These are managed by a paraprofessional and have been very successful so far. Students are at school during the day and can schedule time to seek even more assistance with classroom teachers if needed.
    Additionally, we have used eLearning for snow days or flex scheduling before an extended school break, and advance courses may be taken through an online venue upon student request.
    The true definition of blended learning was direct, concise and easily understood. It was clear, and I found it manageable as I continued with the reading. (By manageable, I mean that I did not have to constantly refer to the defining pages 34 - 37.)
    I loved the videos. After a bit, they were somewhat repetitive (in the accolades given), and this gave to support the consistency of success among school who are using blended learning models. Question: did I miscalculate or are all of these schools except one private,charter schools? I support all typed of schooling institutions, but just noticed this feature.
    I was intrigued by the statement "90% of our students need daytime supervision." Don't really know why - it just struck me.
    Of the four models of blended learning explained, I felt more inclined to believe that the "rotation model" would work best for our corporation. Station rotation seemed so great (especially for elementary), and I could see my students using a "flipped" classroom. Even within my traditional class structure, I found the question "what is the best use of your face-to-face class time?" one that I will use for guiding my lesson creation.

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    1. In our district, Northwest Allen County Schools, we try to stay away from becoming a "program" school/district. We focus on the Art and Science of Teaching from Marzano, and Understanding by Design from McTighe and Wiggins. We are developing assessment/grading practices models based on the work of Tom Guskey. Because of UbD, we trust the professional judgment of our highly trained teachers, and we expect that our teachers will implement blended learning that doesn't expressly employ a single model of blended learning, but rather they will use parts of all four models to create a system that works for their classroom.

      Totally agree with sing the phrase "What is the best use of face-to-face time?" to be the driving force of lesson creation. When I flipped my classroom, it felt like I gained 20 minutes a class period to engage students with better learning opportunities.

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  6. Hi! My name is Beth Kimball. I teach middle and high school science and engineering classes at Indiana School for the Deaf.
    From chapter 1, the thing that really stood out to me was how broad blended learning really can be. It can involve drastic changes made by the teacher, and huge shifts in responsibility from the student, or it can be much simpler to the point where the student may not even notice that the type of instruction or presentation has changed. I especially like that it emphasizes students taking control over at least some portions of their education. I'm hoping that as time goes on, and blended learning continues to be utilized, that we see a change in the overall responsibility and work ethics of job applicants as well.

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    1. My parents are both hearing impaired, so I'm familiar with the School for the Deaf.

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    2. Giving the students a level of control is very powerful. When thinking of rigor and relevance, it's really difficult to have rigor without the relevance. Giving choice really amps up the relevance. Ask any teacher who has implemented a Genius Hour project, and you'll be amazed to hear what students create when they get to direct their learning.

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  7. Good morning! My name is Holly Meyer and I teach 4th grade at Oakdale Elementary in Boonville, Indiana... Warrick County School Corporation.

    The part of the blended learning definition that surprised me was the emphasis on student control. "...through online learning, with some element of student control over time,place, and/or pace."

    The author goes further to say on page 35, "bottom line: unless an education program includes online learning with at least some element of student control of time,place,path, and/or pace, it is not blended learning."

    I like the student-centered focus that blended learning emphasizes in its definition. The student is in control of his/her learning and can move faster through a lesson/program if he/she is mastering it or move slower if extra practice is needed. This would be a great resource in addition to the face-to-face learning from the teacher.

    On page 35, the author says that blended learning is an "integrated" learning experience. Whatever the student is learning online, should go right along with what the teacher is teaching in class. Although it is a computer based program, teachers must look at the data from the computer program to make sure instruction is aligned with what the student is practicing and doing online.


    I liked how the author showed examples and non-examples of blended learning in the classroom.

    I look forward to learning more about blended learning!



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    1. I forgot to add that I feel like the station rotation model would best serve my classroom. I already do small groups for math and reading, so the addition of a computer based program as a station would be beneficial!

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    2. Holly,

      I was impressed by the authors stressing that blended learning requires a level of student control, but this will be a major hurdle for many teachers to overcome. Teachers are often control freaks who can have each lesson planed down to the minute. Allowing the students to have choice, and giving them the freedom to fail (failing forward) can be daunting for some. Hopefully once they clear that hurdle, they will see the tremendous benefit of blended learning.

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  8. Hello Everyone, My name is Coriann Arts and I work at Southridge High School in Huntingburg, Indiana which is part of the Southwest Dubois County School Corporation. I am in charge of the JAG Program which combines a careers class with advising services throughout high school. I am excited about reading this book because our corporation is going 1 to 1 this coming school year and I want to be able to use my knowledge gained here to help with integrating it into my classroom and creating a blended learning environment. If anyone has any tips about how their schools use technology, etc. I am all ears!

    I enjoyed chapter 1, I liked that the chapter was easy to follow and gave clear cut examples. I have a feeling that we are going to get our devices at our school and then not use them efficiently. I agree that blended learning is multiple parts and an integral part is them still having to come to school and converse with teachers. I also really enjoyed that the book gave us the opportunity to watch clips of examples. I am interested on everyone's views of a flipped classrooms? The final thing that I enjoyed are the pictures and diagrams. I think that they added in a dynamic and gave me more of a visual aspect.

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    1. Hello! My cousins attend/attended Southridge (the Sander family! Not sure if you know them or not).

      Anyway, I figured I'd comment on your question about the flipped classroom. I flip my high school math classroom and for the most part I love it! I'm still tweaking lots of things as I go (I just finished my 2nd year flipping) but I find that I have so much more time to work with students individually or in small groups because I'm not standing up lecturing the whole time! Of course, occasionally I will go through a lesson in class or review material all together with the students to make sure everyone is on the same page or to clarify material, but for the most part my lessons are videos and they watch them outside of class (or in class if we have a small amount of time for them to get a head start).

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    2. Karla,
      Congrats on flipping your classroom! It's a great model, and your repository of videos offer a great way for students the review and relearn. You speak of the what I have found to be the best part of the flipped model: more one-on-one time with the students because you aren't tied to the whiteboard.

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  9. Good morning. My name is Maggie Sockwell. I teach functional/life skills special education at South Vermillion Hiigh School in Clinton.

    We are a one to one school in which every student has an IPAD. My special needs students are tech junkies like all other teens. My goal in reading this book is to learn more ways to include them in using their devices and with instruction.

    I enjoyed the first chapter and have a better understanding of the meaning of blended instruction. Our high school has a teacher who uses flipped instruction in her classes. The students who take her classes feel this style of learning beneficial and most excel with her method of teaching. I am looking forward to discussion and learning more.

    Have a great week.

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    1. Hi Maggie! I'm glad to "see" you here too.

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  10. Good morning! I'm Andrea Spiess from Union Mills, Indiana. I teach second grade at South Central Elementary. Last school year, our school went 1:1 with each student having his/her own chromebook. I'm looking forward to reading chapter 1 today.

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  11. Good morning, my name is Cyndi Svilar. I work for Valparaiso Community Schools as an Instructional Technology Integration Coordinator. I have been interested in and have been studying blended learning for a few years. I am familiar with the work of Horn & Staker and am looking forward to discussing their book. The first chapter leads the reader through their definition of blended learning and how that might look. I particularly like that they point out "Blended learning is different from technology-rich instruction". In my experience, this is where confusion often appears. I have to admit, my concern was blended learning was becoming a buzz word without understanding. I am looking forward to reading and discussing this book with everyone :)

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    1. Yes! I absolutely struggled with that umbrella concept. Hoping to gain some clarity and learn from my peers!

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  12. Hello! My name is Holly Miller and I teach 6th grade science and language arts at Maple Creek Middle School in Ft. Wayne. My corporation went 1:1 last fall and I feel I have a "technology rich" classroom. It was nice to finally have a definition of what blended learning is. The online learning part of blended learning was eye-opening and my mind started spinning on how I could incorporate that part in to my classes. With my classes being 44 minutes, I am hoping to learn how to incorporate blended learning into my classroom.

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    1. I agree with you that I also have a technology rich classroom but not so much a blended learning classroom. Looking forward to learning more about how to incorporate this into our classrooms!

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    2. I agree as well. I have a set of chrome books in my classroom about 80% of the time, we share but I hog them. I have been using the Khan Academy and Study Island Assignments that go along with our lesson as homework or a filler for the end of class. I am really interested in fitting it into a rotation model within my 48 minute class period. I feel like my biggest struggle will be breaking free of my curriculum to have the students work on what they need to in that rotation group, and how to hold them accountable for work for the day.

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    3. Holly Miller: with one year of 1:1 under your belt, you and your colleagues are in a position to start blending with a purpose. If you are interested in tinkering with flipping some lesson, I'll gladly help.

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  13. My name is Amee Cherubini and I am a resource teacher at Carmel High School
    A lot of my students use online classes to recover lost credits and can be unsuccessful on these classes due to the full online instruction. This intro of this book gave me the realization that a true blended learning environment could be created to make the online courses more meaningful to the students.

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  14. Good morning! My name is Diane Perry. I teach 8th grade English/Language Arts at Angola Middle School. My students use chromebooks and we use Google Classroom daily to deliver content.

    I was surprised at the misconception between technology-rich education and actual blended learning. I feel like currently, my students have a technology-rich class but are not participating in blended learning. I still control the pacing and the content is not as individualized as I would like. I am looking forward to reading more to find out how I can make my class more blended.

    I definitely think that a reading program would be beneficial in creating a blended classroom for me. At a previous teaching position, we used an online reading program called Achieve3000. I found this program to be the closest example of blended learning I've experienced so far because students could choose what article to read, articles and assessments were tailored to each students individual reading level, and the program made frequent adjustments to the reading level of articles based on each student's progress. The student control over pacing and article topic coupled with the individualized differentiation of reading level on the article and questions were very useful to me as a reading teacher. I could pull different reports from the program as well. In this way, could track each student's progress and identify which students were struggling then work with them individually. Also, I could isolate which comprehension or analysis skills they were missing questions on so I could adjust classroom instruction based on this data.

    I hope to find out different ways I can transition some of what I already do into a blended learning environment.

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    1. So glad to "see" you here, Diane!

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    2. Big difference between technology-rich and blended learning. I think many teachers use technology because they have it and feel compelled to use it. Blended learning forces the teacher to put a purpose behind their use of tech: how can technology help the student reach a learning goal? If the tech doesn't help, don't use it.

      Using tech as a simple substitution according to the SAMR model lends itself to a technology-rich classroom. Teachers need to be more intentional and move more towards the M and the R. When implementing a blended model effectively will force this improved intentionality.

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  15. Hello,
    My name is Shayla Shirk. I am a 7th grade mathematics teacher at Delta Middle School in Muncie (part of Delaware Community Schools). This past school year, we had 7 teachers with technology in their classroom through the use of chromebook carts. I was one of those teachers. This fall, all of our middle school students will have a chromebook to use throughout the day. They will not be able to take them home this year.

    I have just finished the introductory chapter and I am beginning the first chapter. Last summer, I attended the eLEAD conference at Anderson University where I was able to learn more innovative ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. My mathematics department adopted Big Ideas Math by Ron Larson this past year for our math curriculum. They have a large online component. This has been one way of helping our math teachers at my school get their foot in the technology door. One of the teachers at my school also uses flipped instruction. Some students love this approach while others fight it tooth and nail. I believe that blended learning should be a perfect mixture of online and traditional learning. Just like the book states, students all learn in different manners. I have several students that struggle with incorporating technology. They do not have strong computer skills yet, and I have been met with a little resistance. Sometimes, I have been asked if they could just do it on paper. I think it is important that we don't just use the computer or online programs just for the sake of saying that is what we are doing.

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  16. Good morning! My name is Andrew McDaniel, and I just finished my first year as the principal at Southwood Junior/Senior High School in Wabash County. Southwood is a 1:1 school with MacBook Airs.

    It was helpful to read about the different types of models of blended learning. I have also seen teachers using the flipped classroom model with a great deal of success. After reading the first chapter, I went back and read the introduction. I was really taken aback by Jack's story about his experience as a fifth grader. 70 days!? Wow! I am looking forward to learning more to be able to support teachers to help students be more successful.

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    1. It will be really interesting to see your point of view as a principal during this book and how you will be able to/continue incorporate this into your school!

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    2. I agree. I think a principal's point of view will be interesting.

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    3. Hello, Andrew McDaniel! I am proud that both of my building administrators are willing to read a summer IDOE eLearning book and participate in the weekly discussions. It speaks highly of you and Joe to read this summer book along with many of your teachers. Thank you.
      Jack's story was a success story, and I find blended learning to be intriguing. My practical side knows how teachers are being stretched and asked to do more, while seemingly nothing is being removed from our plate. Maybe a good place to experiment with blended learning would be during our homeroom time with remediation. I thought we were doing some blended learning during this time, but after reading Chapter 1, they are really more characteristic of technology rich classrooms. Working out the details and getting the kids to buy in would be the difficult parts, but it has me thinking.

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  17. My name is Karen Field. I teach fourth grade at Brush Creek Elementary in the Jennings County School Corporation. This past year we launched our first year of the one to one initiative with grades K-2 having individual IPads and the other grades having personal laptops. I am finding many new ideas about blended learning in the book. As I read I have taken notes as to what each definition is in order to share this with colleagues who may not see this book. I know that we have not achieved a true blended learning in our building, but I certainly see ways that we can achieve more success. I have used stations in my own classroom to provide more individual learning opportunities as well as a way for more intensive remediation of skills. I have jotted down ideas from the book to take back next year to make some changes that will be beneficial to my students. I am very eager to get through the book to learn more about the various models.

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  18. My name is Rikki Thompson. I live in Mishawaka, IN and I am a licensed Music Teacher for K-12 with vocal concentration.

    I mentioned earlier above that I also agree that technology isn't everything. There are still schools in America that NO NOT have any technology or internet and their students do VERY well in school. In fact, that parent's love it because kids are outside A LOT and gets LOTS of hands on experience verses clicking with a mouse.

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    1. I agree that hands-on learning outside creates a meaningful experience, but not having any sort of technology in school is detrimental to students' futures due to the reliance on technology as a whole in society.

      The availability of this, as we are all aware, is due to lack of school funding in these areas, which is a completely different conversation.

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    2. I agree with both! Hands-on learning is super important and provides real life experiences...however our society has become tech based so I believe that it is important to foster both!

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    3. I think the pendulum must be watched to ensure it swings back. Tech is incredible. How did we ever live in the 20th century without it, right? But I worry when I see face-to-face communication deteriorating, and I know that we must be able to not only accept "data input," but we must also creatively output our own art or analyses or inventions. I just came back from the pool (I know; you're jealous) and noted that I was far and away the oldest person there, but I was the only one using a tech device for anything except music. This warmed my heart. Couples were talking and playing together in the water. Teens were replaying last night's party. Parents and children were enjoying meaningful face time. We are a social species; non-digital communication is a skill we cannot let go the way of cursive writing (which I'm not sorry to see go, by the way).

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    4. I am always intrigued by conversations where people are happy that their children are not exposed to the use of technology in their classrooms. It raises a lot of questions. But that's a lengthy conversation for outside of this blog :) But I would enjoy that conversation none-the-less. Thanks for sharing that point of view.

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    5. In my science classroom, hands-on inquiry based learning is a must. However, the resources available to my students through technology have transformed their ability to learn beyond the walls of our small, conservative school. Double win!

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  19. My name is Jenny Scott and I am the School Counseling Director at Shakamak Jr Sr High. I also teach a dual credit Sociology/Social Problems class. I'm excited to learn more how to use technology to create a more blended classroom. Maybe I can even use it more with the guidance piece of school counseling.

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  20. Hi everyone. My name is Meri Carnahan and I am the eLearning Resource Specialist at the IDOE. I'm looking forward to reading along with you, sharing the blog posts each week, and reading your comments. **Please make sure that you have followed the instructions in the post above on how to set up your profile. This will prevent your posts being labeled as "unknown."

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  21. Greetings! I am the Curriculum Facilitator for Science, Social Studies, Health and PE for South Bend Community School Corporation. We are actively working to increase student access to technology in our district AND making sure we are using that technology to redesign and optimize instruction in South Bend. With those goals in mind, during the science (not textbook) adoption process this year, our teachers chose Discovery Education Science Techbook in grades K-8. We are looking forward to beginning our journey into blended learning with science.

    While reading the introductory materials and Chapter 1 in Blended Learning, it made so much sense to me that it is the way (through disruptive innovation) that we will be able to transform how we teach students. As the authors state, our education system was built to standardize instruction, and we are struggling daily with how to work within that system to personalize instruction. There has been talk for years of individualized learning plans for each student. The thought of managing (well) 25-30 ILPs has to strike fear in the hearts of most teachers! At the same time, few would argue that, if we could pull it off, it is without a doubt what's best for kids. Blended learning not only makes personalized learning manageable, it offers so many options - for instruction and learning!

    I was also struck by how "teacher friendly" blended learning is. Today's reading also discusses how there was (maybe still is) a sense that if teachers don't learn to do their jobs better, they will be replaced by online learning. Yet each model of blended learning relies on the expertise of the teacher. Certainly teachers' job will change, but as long as we support teachers in that change, their importance to student learning will not diminish, and they will never be replaced.

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    1. We also adopted Discovery Education Techbook for science! Excited to see how those resources can help me with blended learning in my classroom.

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  22. Good Morning! My name is Kate Estridge and I am currently a 5th grade teacher at Central Elementary for Valparaiso Community Schools in Valparaiso, IN. Next year, I will be a technology integration coach at Flint Lake Elementary for VCS. I was excited to see that this particular book was going to be the summer novel study for the IDOE since this will help me in my new position. A few years ago,I visited an elementary in Plymouth that was piloting blended learning in all of their K-5 classrooms. I saw many of the examples from the book including station rotations. I am also interested in the “Flipped Model” pioneered by Jon Bergmann and Aaron Simms (which I was luck enough to go to a PD session one day). Bergmann suggested that at the primary level a flipped classroom could be the teacher recording sounds about literacy from the classroom and having students watch and sing along for homework. I liked how this book gave detailed descriptions of the different types of blended learning. I also like the videos and dive deeper into the specific schools being highlighted in the chapters.

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  23. My name is Pam Rusher and I teach at PE and Health at Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne.

    As I read chapter one and worked through the different groups, I realized that I am already doing some version of the different types. But realize also how much more there is to blended learning that i am not doing. We have been a 1:1 school for about 5 years now. I have only scratched the surface on the possibilities. Our department has incorporated a few "lessons" using online resources but there definitely is room for improvement. I am excited to see what ideas the rest of the book will generate.

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  24. Hello, my name is Travis Ponto, I'm a School Counselor at Wes-Del Community Schools. We are a 1:1 district with iPads. I would not say that we are considered a blended as of yet, while many teachers do have work that is done with technology it is just normal homework. We have a large percentage of students and families that do not have internet or do not have reliable internet. As a district we are looking into some options for next year to offer credit recovery in which students will have credit recovery as a separate class.

    I find the idea of blended learning very interesting, I think it could be very beneficial in some applications, my current district we struggle with student motivation, based on the descriptions of blended learning I don't know if or how it would help our school in the current state. Besides the lack of motivation and parent involvement we struggle with reliable technology, we've had ipads for 3 years and they have been more of a distraction and pain that they've done good. We barely have 2 working computer labs and even if they do work, many times they are too small to do much in.

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  25. Hello all!My name is Crimson Smith, I teach at North Junior High School in Evansville, In and I am an 8th grade Language Arts teacher. Personally, I have never heard of blended learning before, so I had no preconceived notions or thoughts about what it was before reading the book. Maybe I'm behind the times? We do have one-to-one technology in out classrooms, and I discovered that all we would have to do is make a couple little tweaks. AND we could do the blended learning successfully! I also found the flipped classrooms to be very interesting. That could be a great practice to pit in place for our honors classes. I plan on talking to my teammates this summer to see if they would be interested in putting this into place in our rooms, or at least give it a try. I. Looking forward to reading more!

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    1. Don't feel bad Crimson! I made a similar comment below about not knowing what blended learning was before the book. The actual concepts are not unheard of, but I couldn't tell you what blended learning was before this.

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  26. Hello, my name is Kelly Williams and I'm currently a second grade teacher at Hickory Center Elementary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. My school is a part of Northwest Allen County Schools.

    I’m excited to learn more about blended learning after reading chapter one. This concept is new to me and I know I have a lot of learning to do. This book will be a great resource to use as our school moves 1:1 next year with the students getting chromebooks. I’m nervous to be honest, but I know it will also be a great tool to add the technology component in our classrooms because we were limited with what we had in our rooms before. I just need to become more confident in my technology use before teaching my kids. I enjoyed reading the different definitions and learning different ways that blended learning can be used in the classroom. I have used the station rotation method before, but I would love to learn more about how I could make my classroom a “flipped” classroom. I like the idea that students can be in control of their learning and take ownership. Students can learn at their own pace and go faster/slow down when needed. I love reading about success stories, so I was moved when I read the story about Jack and how he found success when using a blended learning environment. I’m excited to read chapter 2 to learn more.

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    1. Kelly!!!!! Love your interest in blended learning. I can tell that you will be thoughtful and intentional in your use of technology in the upcoming year, and your willingness to try new things. If you need help in flipping a few lessons, feel free to reach out.

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  27. Happy Monday. My name is Brenda Geiger, and I am a newly-licensed, late-in-life teacher still seeking my first position. I admit that I am worried that I chose the wrong time to select teaching as a second career because I have yet to meet a single teacher who encouraged my decision. I may have to play the antagonist in our little summer scenario, because I love a juicy role. But what I really hope is that my participation in a variety of PD options serves to reenergize my starry-eyed excitement for the field.

    I have been working as an aide for two semesters (middle school reading RTI and high school study hall supervisor), and as a sub in a wide variety of schools. These experiences have proven invaluable because I have been able to sneak a peek at the inner workings of four districts, dozens of schools, every grade level, and most subjects. I get a lot of one-on-one time with students, learning how their teachers approach lessons and methods. To date, I have found only one classroom situation that fits the description of blended learning as defined in Horn & Staker’s Blended.

    While the concept of a blended classroom seems like a no-brainer (we surely all agree that we must bring constantly-evolving tech skills to students if they are to be successful in this new millennium, yet children will not find that success without some form or mentorship or guidance), one complaint I hear expressed or see demonstrated is that teachers feel that curating tech options is just one more responsibility they must individually handle, without any reduction in other responsibilities, and without much support from the district or administration.

    In the book, and the embedded videos, blended classrooms seem to have been employed more successfully when used as a school-wide approach, with district or school-wide curation of options, and school-wide or departmental support of the program. To an individual teacher (especially a new one), the myriad options seem overwhelming. I should note that I’ve been using and embracing tech in my (former) job every day since, well, let’s just say decades ago. I couldn’t live without it. But the sheer number of options can use can be daunting. I must not be alone in this feeling, as I am scheduled to attend a PD event in Lafayette this week, and one of the break-out sessions is “Finding Your Emotional Agility with All of this Technology Stuff” (Michael Pinto/an administrator with the Tippecanoe School District).


    What I have noticed in my own small world is that teachers are thrown in with little instruction or time to become proficient in the program(s), and students pay the price of that learning curve. I find too many situations in which inquiry methods of teaching morph into pure sink-or-swim events because teachers are overburdened. Lack of adequate knowledge and support can leave students frustrated and fearful of trying new things. This is the opposite of what we want to achieve. I can barely count the number of students who came to me to ask questions such as “Do you know how to help me use I-movie? My teacher who assigned the lesson doesn’t know very much about it.” Or, “Every teacher uses Canvas differently and I can never remember where to look for each assignment. I thought I was all caught up, but it turns out there are assignments I didn’t even know about.”

    I’m hoping Blended can help me get my mojo back. To that end, I want to comment on what I enjoyed most about the first chapter (and introduction), which was watching the videos (I’m very visual!). They helped me understand how a digitally blended approach can easily differentiate a classroom to help individuals achieve mastery, and accommodate various students’ learning styles. These are skills that I know teachers struggle with, and experiencing a software or app that leads students down an individual path is certainly a welcome sight.



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    1. It is nice to see that you are still willing to go into the education field. Teaching seems to be a career path that few and fewer are pursuing and hope you get the opportunity to have your own class. I get what you are saying about adding blended instruction into one more thing we are asked to do. I know with my position in special education makes it even more overwhelming with all that I do. I have enjoyed the videos as well and can see this book as a guide for making my instruction even more for my students.

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    2. I find that our corporation, as I am sure many others, react. They react to all the new, pretty gadgets and technology and expect us to instantly embrace it fully without adequate training. We also don't let one thing we attempt get fully functional and understood before we throw it out and grab another. As for teachers, we are exhausted with the changes and expectations to be proficient immediately. My work load increases every year but no extra money in sight. Sometimes all I want is a pat on the back when I do something well. Doesn't happen!

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    3. I find that our corporation, as I am sure many others, react. They react to all the new, pretty gadgets and technology and expect us to instantly embrace it fully without adequate training. We also don't let one thing we attempt get fully functional and understood before we throw it out and grab another. As for teachers, we are exhausted with the changes and expectations to be proficient immediately. My work load increases every year but no extra money in sight. Sometimes all I want is a pat on the back when I do something well. Doesn't happen!

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    4. Brenda, hello! Nice to see another teaching looking for a position for the fall. You make some very good points. I like how you have been able to do some obervations at various schools.

      I know blended learning works, but it definitely has to be done right.

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  28. Hi! My name is Jill Wagler. I teach first grade at Scottsburg Elementary School for Scott County School District 2. I was surprised about the element of some student control over time, place, path, and/or pace. We have a technology enriched classroom but I think the first graders would enjoy the stations. I think it is good to have a balance of technology and whole class instruction. I also think it is very important to include plenty of pencil-paper activities especially for first grade to work on fine motor skills (handwriting). At the beginning of school, I choose more of what the students work on and how long, but as they get more familiar with the programs I start to let them choose what they work on and for how long. I thought the flipped classroom was also interesting. Our new Math series also has sections where if the kids were having trouble with a skill, they can watch a video that teaches and gives them examples on that skill. The student can choose whether or not they need to watch the video.

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    1. I wish our Math series had a online tutorial. We adopted a new series just last year so I will have to check it out!

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  29. Hello, my name is Amber Faust. I teach math at Carroll High School in Fort Wayne.
    This past year was our first year as a 1:1 school, with each student having their own laptop.In my mind I have always thought of blended learning just as using technology in the classroom. After reading chapter one though, I realize I have been confusing technology-rich instruction with blended learning.I thought my classroom was blended, albeit minimally, because I was using technology. However, my classroom is lacking the element of student control. I was hesitant at the beginning of last school year to use technology in math because I was unsure of how it could be used but I have found many neat tools throughout the year and am looking forward to learning about more ways to use technology in a blended environment. Of the different types of blended learning explained in the book, I am most interested in learning more about the rotation model, specifically station rotation and flipped classroom.

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    1. I think every math classroom should have at least portion that is flipped. Flipping the classroom frees up more class time to help student one-on-one, and it gives the students a library of videos that they can review from time to time. I think a benefit of a blended math class would be better opportunities to have students learn how to use math to solve problems because in a traditional math class, students just learn how to solve math problems.

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  30. Hi everyone! My name is Stephanie Wiedrich and I teach music st Lynnville elementary and Elberfeld elementary in warrick county. Our school corporation is planning to roll out 1:1 with chrome books very soon so I was very interested to read more about this blended style of learning. I have iPads in ny music room and have not yet mastered how to effectively incorporate them beyond just superficial activities you. I have not finished chapter one yet, so I will finish reading that today and answer the other questions.

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  31. Good morning! My name is Laura Pinter. I currently teach 3-year olds at Lafayette Academy Preschool in Floyds Knobs, IN. I have taught kinder and first grade in the past.

    As I read this chapter I knew that blended learning existed but truly didn't know the definition. And I was taken back that so many models existed. I loved how they were defined under each model and offered videos clips and figures to further describe them. I definitely would say that our school is technology rich...we have the equipment but "true" blended learning doesn't exist. I will be interested in how I can incorporate this with preschools that I work with for only a short period of time.

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    1. I am absolutely amazed by how many toddlers and young children already are using chrome books, I-pads, cell phones, tablets, etc. I thought anything before third grade would be too young for something like this, but a visit to church and going shopping with my mother this weekend opened my eyes to the age children are beginning to use this tech. If they are already using it, I think it would be interesting to see what you are able to do with it. Go Highlanders!

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  32. Karen Hall
    Austin Middle School
    Scott County School District 1
    6th grade Teacher

    I wasn't surprised by anything about Blended Learning. Last summer I was able to take a 5-star class about integrating technology and it was very helpful and gave me some great insights into Blended Learning. Our school has been in the process of obtaining IPADs for all students and becoming a 1-to-1 school for the past 3 years. This is the first year for all of our students to have had an IPAD or macbook (for high school students).
    We have been encouraged as a school to integrate the use of the IPAD into our everyday teaching. As of now we have a Technology Enriched Classroom. We have many older teachers who were apprehensive about using IPADs at first. We also have a lack of cooperation from our district getting online curriculum. I have been told on more than one occasion that it is not an adoption year so we cannot yet get online books.
    I think that our school is willing to use technology but that many of our teachers need instruction on how and when to use it.

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    1. I would love for our school to offer professional development opportunities on how to incorporate technology in the classroom daily!:)

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    2. "I think that our school is willing to use technology but that many of our teachers need instruction on how and when to use it." This about sums up what we are experiencing at my school. I truly believe that most teachers WANT to use the technology, but they just aren't sure how to do it effectively.

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    3. Definitely need the training to go along with the iPads. Our school has been 1:1 for about five years and there is still a need for training. Take it one program at a time. We were offered training on many "things" but it was too much to take in at one time. Still learning!!!

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    4. Karen,
      Your last sentence said it all: teachers will need a ton of training! How many undergraduate programs offer classes on blended learning? Graduate programs? Probably none. Don't believe that all new teachers right out of college are tech savvy. They know how to text, play games, and use social media, but not necessarily how to leverage technology to foster creativity in their students. Intentional, ongoing PD on blended learning is a must in any district that is implementing 1:1. This PD doesn't have to be entirely on using technology because it also has to focus on the art and science of being an effective teacher.

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  33. My name is Joe Lacey, and I just finished my 1st year as the Asst. Principal at Southwood Jr./Sr. High School. Before that, I taught high school business courses for 16 years.

    After reading about the various models in Chapter 1, I was surprised to find out that most of what I previously viewed as Blended Learning was actually what the authors deemed "technology rich" classrooms. We have teachers who successfully use the Flipped Classroom model, but the lessons still follow a progression that is determined by the teacher. Also, the pace is also determined by the teacher. I believe that a few of their students may be working on the next lesson when most of the class is finishing the previous one, but they are not permitted to get too far ahead, or too far behind. I realize that this has taken away from the Blended aspects of the students working at their own pace, or even their inability to choose what lessons they work on, but I do find it to be quite successful so far and also considered a Blended learning environment.

    I was also surprised to read about storefronts or shopping mall space being utilized to serve as learning centers or computer labs for some of these schools. I wonder about the cost of these off-campus centers and how the cost/benefit analyses are conducted.

    Other things that sounded interesting were the examples listed where the students' performance and achievement were analyzed by computer systems to determine what they need to be working on. This sounds similar to NWEA testing, and other similar models, where the students' testing performance determines what they need to continue to work on and where they go from here.

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    1. Hello, Joe Lacey! I'm encouraged to find both of my building administrators participating in the IDOE's eLearning Summer Book Blog! Having administrators that are willing to read a book and participate in the discussion says a lot about the high standards at Southwood Jr.-Sr. High School.
      Like you, I was surprised that many innovative teaching ideas that I would have described as examples of blended learning are, more accurately, technology rich classrooms. I believe time is an important aspect for teachers trying to move their classrooms toward blended learning. My ears perked up when I read on page 51 that teachers had faculty time to assign student schedules for the upcoming week in one enriched virtual school. Finding time for the basics, let alone innovative, creative improvements, is a continual battle for today's teacher.
      The storefronts and shopping mall examples were interesting to consider. In Current Events we've discussed why so many stores have been closing and why, so this concept was fascinating.

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  34. My name is Mark Arnold and I am the principal of Washington Junior High School in Washington , IN. We have app. 400 7/8 students. This past year we went 1:1 with Chromebooks. The first part of the definition is where we need to go now that we have one year with the devices. “…with some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace.” The majority of the students are all working in a traditional fashion but with devices. The rotation Model best describes us at this time.
    We have close to 100 students that have an IEP. The first paragraph on page 8 really connected with me, “...despite the heroic efforts of many teachers...tailoring a lesson to each child is nearly impossible.” I am particularly interested in the personalized learning aspect of student-centered learning. The idea that students can access a variety of lesson options to match their learning style.
    My interest has really been elevated just reading the first chapter. The videos let you see what is possible. I will be spending a lot of time trying figure out how to tailor these models to our specific reality.

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    1. I was also floored when I read “...despite the heroic efforts of many teachers...tailoring a lesson to each child is nearly impossible.” In nearly every interview I have had so far, I am asked "how will you differentiate lessons?" I think I know all the standard "correct" answers, yet I don't really believe they are being used in any classes I've seen EXCEPT the one class that uses a system for reading RTI. That is not something the teacher does in class (although, of course, they support and mentor and answer questions and guide and supplement), but it is the type of program that is created just for that purpose. Students read at their own level based on their online assessments, and gradually increase skills and are provided with more challenging texts and tasks. It's necessary for the software/app/program to be selected and put in place for a truly differentiated classroom.

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    2. I agree whole-heartedly with you both! We all know as educators that one size does not fit all and it's exciting to have a possible solution to begin remedying the problem! (Or at least to give us a fighting chance)

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    3. I am glad to see someone mention the students with an IEP. I am a teacher who writes these IEPs and hope this will help me develop more individualized instruction for my students.

      it will be in nice to see an administrator point of view as we read this book.

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  35. My name is Cortny Barnes. I am an English/Theatre Arts instructor at South Central in Union Mills. One of the first things that jumped out at me when reading the definition of "blended learning" was the fact that I had a much different idea of what blended learning was. I think I still struggle with how all of these concepts work together because I am trying to get out of the mind set that blended learning isn't just throwing more technology at our students. We have a "virtual" lab within our school that offers students a chance for recovery credits as well as taking classes that aren't offered as part of the regular instructional day. After reading this chapter I realize that we are working on a "flex" model; however, I believe that most of our teachers view the virtual lab as a separate entity from our "brick and mortar" school. They actually aren't separate but I wonder how we can communicate that to the rest of the school to give them a better view of what we are trying to collectively accomplish.

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    1. You are so right! I think a lot of people think just throw some chrome books in their hands and call it good! I know I have had a lot of trouble with making my technology lessons more than just superficial!!!

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  36. Happy Monday! I am Jolinn Bodkins. I am a third grade teacher in the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation. I teach at Parkside Elementary School in Columbus, Indiana. I have been a member of and led many book studies. I am very interested in learning more about "blended - using disruptive innovation to improve schools" and how it might correlate with some of the other books I've read.

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  37. My name is Brandon Appleton. I am a middle school physical education teacher, in Angola, Indiana. I am also licensed to teach K-6 and am using this book study to keep connected with the classroom, if or when I return. Being in physical education, I personally try not to use very much technology. They use it all day long, they need an hour break, which my class provides. We recently purchased heart rate watches for our school which will force our PE program to use more blended learning than it has in the past. At our middle school we are one to one here with our technology, but the question that kept popping in my head about all this was, "what about the students who don't have internet at home?" (an issue we deal with) Not every household has internet, how are we reaching those students? I think blended learning is the appropriate way to teach in a school setting today, however, is there truly an answer to meeting, "each individual students needs," as discussed in this book?

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    1. Brandon, kudos to you for keeping up with what's going on with technology even though it's not a direct component of your curriculum! I certainly wish more teachers had this drive for knowledge and awareness of best practice!

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  38. My name is Julie Baker and I currently teach first grade in the Northeast Sullivan School Corporation. I find that I used more technology in the classroom when I taught upper grade levels than I do with my younger students, and need to get back to a more student-initiated learning environment. I appreciate the reinforcement that this book stated in saying that blended learning allows students to accelerate, pause, or rewind and slow down based on personal understanding of content. I also like the breakdown and explanation in chapter one of each rotation model and the clarity in which each serves an individual purpose.

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    1. I found that part about rewinding interesting as well. Part of me was screaming on the inside yes this is exactly what I needed to hear, but then again I was also freaking out a little about giving up that much of my instructional reigns. I think it will for sure take some time to get use to correctly implementing that portion of the model.

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  39. Happy Monday,
    I'm Jessica Churchill and I teach 6th grade social studies at Eggers Middle School for School City of Hammond. The part that really stuck out to me was that students are meant to go at their own pace and be aloud to choose their own space. As teachers this is going to be a struggle because we like to have everything so uniform and matching. This portion of the definition really screams to me that we are going to have to give the students the reigns sometimes and let them guide certain portions of their education.

    I also didn't realize that Khan academy was a part of a using a blended model. I think the program is fantastic if it is implemented correctly. Unfortunately we aren't all trained in a blended model, so we don't know how to implement this with a face to face lesson.

    Lastly I used a blended model last year when I taught elementary school. We started only with Language arts. Our team used a rotation model. We informed the students when they could switch. They met with three teachers and had small group lessons, a paper pencil activity, and an online component. After reflecting off what I have read so far we were not correctly incorporating the online portion. We were just assigning random online articles and hoping for the best. It is now very clear to me that isn't the correct model.
    I can't wait to see what other information this book holds!

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    1. Jessica, I applaud you for taking the steps to at least try the blended learning model! I agree that this tranformation to blended learning will be difficult to navigate because it is the opposite of what we've been doing for a long time! But you took a step and learned from it! That's great! I hope to begin taking those steps as well in the next school year!

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  40. Hello, I'm Dustin Houston, and I teach 8th grade language arts at Roosevelt Middle School in Monticello, IN. I was thrown off with the oxymoron-type title of the book, but after reading the first chapter, I understand the concept. Our school is in the early stages one-to-one with Chromebooks. Blended learning would be great to use so the students can review the basics on their own time at their own speed so class time could be used for extended help and questions. The problem is motivating the students to actually do the work outside the classroom. I'm interested in hearing ideas that other have on this. I'd like to use this, but I know the reaction of most students and parents is that it will be "more work when they don't have enough time as it is." I would definitely like to spend less time in front of the classroom and more time with the many differentiated teaching models and concepts mentioned in chapter one.

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    1. I had some similar thoughts! If this is a requirement, how do you get those unmotivated students to put that extra time in on their own? Seems like those students would not be benefiting from this practice.

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    2. I think that perhaps a better way to think about it is "different" work as opposed to "more" work. Sometimes if kids have "control" over the work that they are doing, they are more likely to put in the time. I look at it as changing the place where types of work are occuring. For example, in the flipped model, instead of me "lecturing" during class, they see a short video for their "homework" and then I can spend classtime working with kids on practice and projects. I am no expert though! Still adjusting on a daily basis!

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    3. That makes so much sense! I know my students seem to work harder when it is something they have chose to do!!!

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    4. I, also, am interested in learning how to get students who are not motivated to buy in to the concept of blended learning (where a component would be online and on their own time). I can definitely see how this could work with my pre-AP students. They are go-getters and I have to keep up with them! However, so many of my students are reluctant learners.
      I can't imagine that they would appropriately delve in to the material without supervision.

      Currently only about half of my students have internet access at home and that, also, would pose a problem.

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    5. Ever have students who do not have internet at home?????

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  41. Hello, I am Kristin Bowland. I am a school counselor at Carroll High School in Northwest Allen County School district.

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  42. I was very intrigued by this concept of blended learning. There explanation of blended learning makes sense to me and I feel it would be a beneficial practice for students. I do not agree with complete online learning for students. I feel as though most students need the brick and mortar and the in person guidance from adults on a regular basis, but could definitely benefit from the online learning and technology. After reading about blended learning I would say that both of my schools would be considered technology enriches but certainly not blended. We don not currently have the resources to make that happen. Teachers are using online programs in the computer lab and with mobile carts that we have. I am very interested to learn more about this.

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  43. Hi there! I am Kathryn Lewis, and I teach 3rd grade at Cedar Canyon Elementary, which is part of the Northwest Allen County Schools Corporation in Ft. Wayne.

    Our corporation has started going 1:1 this past year in the middle and high school levels, and all elementary students will get Chromeboooks for the 2017-18 year. So, I am excited to read about blended learning. I thought that all the different definitions for blended learning and all the videos really helped give me a clear definition of what blended learning is and looks like. I like the station rotation model and think it would work nicely with my guided math and reading groups. While I already have a technology element in both of these guided groups, it is just "technology-rich" instruction, not blended learning. The thing that stuck out to me most is that this will make differentiated instruction easier and give us a clear picture as to what exactly a student is struggling with. like how blended learning is student-centered, and kids can pause or fast-forward their learning. This will give them more ownership of their learning. Looking forward to Ch. 2!

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    1. Hi Kathryn! Totally agree with you on "student centered" and our technology tools being able to make that more possible in a classroom! Glad to know you're reading this book so we can share ideas next year!

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    2. Student-center is key! Let's give them choice and voice.

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  44. My name is Amy Cullum. I am a Spanish teacher at Wes-Del High School in Gaston, Indiana. I have been teaching Spanish levels 1-4 for 29 years and love it! There was a part that surprised and worried me for sure! The fact that Rosetta Stone may be taking my job. This is not the first I have heard of this but it saddens me for sure. There has to be a balance, and I felt the fact that they had to have some form of supervision in a brick and mortar location was a positive thing. Simply setting students off to learn on their own with a computer really misses a key element in the issue of public education- interaction. Students to teachers, teachers to students, and student to students are relationships that are lasting and influential in my life. I do not want to see this taken away. I am teaching in a traditional classroom. The only online that my students do is working some games that enhance but not teach things that we are learning in class. I know I may need to progress beyond this and I am in hopes that this book study will allow me to learn what this looks like and how to best put it into practice in my classroom

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  45. My name is Amy Cullum. I am a Spanish teacher at Wes-Del High School in Gaston, Indiana. I have been teaching Spanish levels 1-4 for 29 years and love it! There was a part that surprised and worried me for sure! The fact that Rosetta Stone may be taking my job. This is not the first I have heard of this but it saddens me for sure. There has to be a balance, and I felt the fact that they had to have some form of supervision in a brick and mortar location was a positive thing. Simply setting students off to learn on their own with a computer really misses a key element in the issue of public education- interaction. Students to teachers, teachers to students, and student to students are relationships that are lasting and influential in my life. I do not want to see this taken away. I am teaching in a traditional classroom. The only online that my students do is working some games that enhance but not teach things that we are learning in class. I know I may need to progress beyond this and I am in hopes that this book study will allow me to learn what this looks like and how to best put it into practice in my classroom

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  46. Hello! My name is Margo Cromer and I teach 4th grade at Cedar Canyon Elementary for Northwest Allen County schools. What surprised me about the definition of blended learning was the student control component. I was in the category of confusing online learning with blended learning. However after reading chapter one I completely understand and it makes perfect sense!
    I feel as if I have used several online tools and different blended learning techniques throughout my career. I very much enjoyed using a flipped model and being more of a coach versus a direct instructor all the time. I can see a station model or individual model working well in a 4th grade classroom. I'm so excited to learn more about this given that it gives educators a chance to ensure mastery for all levels of students!

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    1. I, as well, enjoy the flipped model. It definitely saves me from lecturing and the discussion that results is awesome to moderate and gives the students so much control and confidence in their learning.

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    2. I like to use the flipped model when there is a lot of information that needs to be shared at the same time. Students don't enjoy listening to me lecture for most of class, and I hate doing it. I am more of the "Give me five/ten minutes at the start of class" type of lecturer then I work with groups and individuals. I know for each of the different classes that I teach how many days I am going to be talking most of the period. I try my best not to have more than 6 of those days each school year.

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  47. Hello, My name is Candy Nixon. I teach foreign languages at Jennings County Middle School. I've been teaching for twenty-six years, and have had the great opportunity to be able to teach in four very diverse states, so I've seen many different approaches to education in my career.
    This is the first year that every child has a laptop in our classes. My school offered PD to use the new technology every week, and I dove right in to learn as much as I could. My amazement comes with they wealth of options that are out there to explore. I've had so much fun implementing these new techniques in my classroom. I definitely have a technology rich approach, but not necessarily a blended one. Chapter one helped clarify that for me. But, I have to say that I'm so happy that I don't teach that "make paint" class. What a colossal mess that had to be.

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  48. Hello, My name is Tessa Wight and I teach 1st grade at Cedar Canyon Elementary in Northwest Allen County. We are switching to one-to-one next year and there is a lot of apprehension as we make this switch. Our district has provided a lot of assistance and opportunities to learn more. This chapter was very helpful in defining Blended Learning as well as giving examples of how it has been implemented. Some of the models didn't seem that they would be as effective in the elementary room as others did. One of my main concerns is finding that on-line enrichment for students that coincides with the unit I am teaching. I really appreciated the book mentioning that teachers are still needed in the classroom to help students succeed; as we get more and more technology it's nice to know we are still needed and not being phased out for virtual learning.

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    1. When I first read the introduction, I was concerned about the same thing as you, being replaced or phased out by technology. I can not, in my wildest dreams, believe that could ever happen. However, when confronted by New ideas (or old ones returning) we get "scared". All I knowis what we are doing now is not working. We can all work together to make Indiana great!

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    2. As you implement more and more blended learning, you will find that the teacher remains important, but that the role has changed. The teacher is not longer the sage on the stage controlling the distribution of knowledge, but instead becomes the guide on the side who leads the students in a safe manner along the path to knowledge. Giving students control helps with engagement and allows the rigor to often increase. Teachers and students need to learn how to fail forward.

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  49. Hello all! My name is Dan Mette. I teach 6th grade math and science at Zionsville West Middle School. I feel in some way, we all find ways to incorporate blended learning into our delivery of material/curriculum. Our school has been 1:1 for a handful or years. One aspect that I often omit from blended learning is that it needs to be "student/self-paced." To some degree, I feel I utilize many aspects of blended learning in a poor way (but I hope to gain more education through this). I think we use rotational methods more than other methods. Our students love the convenience of learning via technology while still using some classic project-based learning to allow them to showcase their full understanding.

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  50. My name is Leslee Brown. I answer to the roles of instructional coach, eLearning coach, as well as Title 1 teacher at Brush Creek Elementary in the Jennings County School Corporation. I am so excited to participate in this book club with Karen Field. Chapter 1 was very beneficial to me in defining the term blended learning. It has been so widely used to identify any form of learning with a technological device that it was very helpful to define what is and what is not blended learning. I am very eager to the present the models of blended learning to the teachers in my building. It is my goal and desire to foster at least two teachers in the rotation model.

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  51. My name is Lindsey Jones, and I teach 8th grade science at Fairfield Junior High School. I will be starting my 15th year of teaching in the fall. My school is set to go 1:1 next year (although most content teachers have had carts of computers for several years now). After reading chapter one, I believe that many educators are confusing "technology rich" classrooms with "blended" learning. I appreciate the basic explanation of differences here. The student choice component is critical as we work towards empowering student learners in the blended setting. I would say that my classroom is technology rich, moving towards blended. My goal next year it to really focus on the student choice component. I'm excited to see what practical tips for best implementation are provided in this text.

    I have noticed that there seems to be a rush in many districts to implement a 1:1 program, and this is causing basic pedagogy to be overlooked. The misconception that computers will magically fix all that ales a district is giving teachers false hope, and many are disappointed when the technology "doesn't work". It's important to remember that computers DO NOT replace good teaching - they do, however, allow teachers to meet the individual needs of all students instead of "teaching to the middle".

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    1. Many districts around me are going to a 1:1 program, but Carmel is not. We have received mixed reviews about our decision not to give in to this new practice, but your comment is exactly the reason we have abstained. Basic pedagogy cannot be overlooked. Students have their own devices that they use on a daily basis: Cell phones, laptops, I-pads, etc. Instead of policing the students bringing these into our classrooms, we help them see how they can use them to supplement our instruction. Didn't understand my example? Let's see if there is a better one on YouTube. Missed my demonstration? Log on to CANVAS and watch the video I placed in the lesson.
      This is also nice because teachers don't spend time teaching students how to use a new device. We also are not held accountable for a student's device not working.
      Good teachers can work with the technology, but they can also show students how to learn without it.

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    2. I couldn't agree more! We are also looking into 1:1 in our district over the next few years. The teachers need to be taught how to use the technology appropriately as well. They are left disappointed and have spent a lot of money to get there. If teachers are trained correctly, the 1:1 can be very useful. Technology doesn't do any good if the teacher doesn't know how to use it to help their students.

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    3. I would also say that I appreciated the book distinguishing between technology rich and blended. I might use technology to enhance a lesson, but that doesn't mean that I've "blended" my classroom environment! Also, as someone who is NOT tech savvy... I would need much instruction on anything technology based before I could teach my students!

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    4. Our district, Northwest Allen County Schools in Fort Wayne, recently began a 1:1 program, but before we did that, we focused on training our teachers in the Art and Science of Teaching by Marzano, and Understanding by Design by McTighe and Wiggins. We focused on good, strong pedagogy before we brought in the technology. Technology is a tool, a powerful tool that can really help learning, but it needs to have a purpose. Don't use it just because you have.

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  52. My name is Kaleigh Mercaldo. I am currently working as a 6th grade math and English teaching at Whiting Middle School in School City of Whiting.
    I was not exactly surprised at the definition of blended learning. I love the idea of students being able to work at their own pace through the learning and choosing different paths to take. I have not been able to use blended learning as we are just now getting the technology available. This year in February I finally had a computer cart available to me for majority of the day and now I am extremely excited to learn how to better incorporate the use of technology into my class in more of a blended manner. I have tried to begin using stations in my 6th grade math classes so I could better differentiate for all types of students. While doing stations, I would have students utilize Khan Academy which works well with the blended learning mindset; however, I have changes to make in order to make it fully a blended learning environment. This chapter has helped me to delve into what blended learning is and is helping me to better see how to incorporate it into my classroom. I am excited to learn more about it and how to use it in my classroom more next school year.

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    1. Hey, I am so glad to see another 6th grade math teacher and one so close to me. I am from Hammond. This year was my first year having a chrome cart majority of the time. I have also been using Khan academy in my classroom and look incorporate stations next year. During the 4th quarter we started using Khan and completed the variables and expression introduction because it aligned with that chunk of my curriculum map. I know I need to change into the student paced work but need some ideas of how track their progress to make sure they are working and not on other pages playing games while I am working with my small group. How are you currently using Khan in your class or how are you thinking of changing for next year? Maybe we can brainstorm ideas together.

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  53. My name is Corinne Verspelt. I teach 5th grade at Christ the King School in Indianapolis. Over the past couple of years our school has been fortunate to launch many different technology opportunities for our students. I believe I have teetered on the blended learning and just using technology. The definition given helped me clarify exactly what blended learning is and what it is not. I definitely brainstormed many ways I could use it in my classroom, especially the flipped model. I was surprised by the range of learners blended learning can touch.

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  54. My name is Laura Erli. I teach Engineering and Technology courses at Carmel High School. Based on my area of teaching using technology in all forms is a must. When I joined this book study I was not sure what "Blended Learning" was, but as I read the first chapter it sounds very much like what our department and school has been working toward for the past few years. At the moment it appears as though I am mostly a station rotation teacher. I would love to be able to participate in an A La Carte or Enriched Virtual type of situation some day. There are so many different teaching and learning styles out there, I am mostly just wanting to learn how to reach the maximum number of students in a way they understand and enjoy. We all know our students retain information better if they enjoy their learning process and experience.

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  55. My name is Cheri Leffler, and I teach 4th grade at Tipton Elementary. Our students in 4th grade just became 1:1 last year. I feel that our fourth grade team jumped right in using as much technology as possible and trying to be a blended classroom. I personally have a hard time with allowing the students to set the learning pace. This is something that I will personally need to work on in m classroom. I also feel that it is still important to use different types of learning in the classroom. Whole group instruction is a large part of my curriculum. I use stations each week, and the students love these! I want to make sure that I am helping all of my students to be successful in the classroom.

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    1. I understand the struggle to allow students to set their own pace. However, if we teach them early on to have a growth mindset and to be independent learners, blended learning will be SO effective. Students need to want to learn and to dig deeper into topics so that we can trust them to be effective at working at and choosing their own pace. This is probably one of the biggest challenges of implementing an effective blended learning environment. Kaitlyn, 3rd grade teacher

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    2. Willingness to give up control can be tough. Experiment with it, and I bet you'll be amazed at the results. I agree with Kaitlyn, to be successful in the 21st century, one must be an independent thinker and the sooner we train students to become one, the better.

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  56. My name is Katie LaGrange and I teach 6th grade Science at Boonville Middle School. Before reading this book, I really couldn't tell you much about blended learning. I have enjoyed learning about the blended classrooms and would love a chance to apply some of these ideas to my own classroom. We all know that smaller group sizes seems to help students grasp concepts quicker. Students also love the idea of using technology and computers. This is a great way to incorporate both ideas, as well as, optimizing the most student growth. While reading, I found myself thinking of ways to integrate them into my own classroom given my resources. I look forward to what the other chapters have to offer.

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  57. I am a fifth grade teacher at a Christian school in Goshen, Indiana. I am really enjoying this book. I have to admit that my concept of what a blended classroom is was a bit wrong! We are a 1:1 school and I thought that I was "blending" my class but I am already seeing much better ways to accomplish this for next year. I am already planning to flip the math part of my class - which fits right into this discussion! I am already jotting down new ideas for next year!
    I was previously a Montessori teacher so some of the concepts discussed in this book fit right in with my previous training. Great book so far!

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  58. My name is Jennifer Webb. I am a fifth grade teacher at Break-O-Day Elementary. This will be my thirteenth year teaching. The school corporation I work in is Clark Pleasant. I'm excited about chatting with everyone.

    I honestly didn't know what the actual definition of the term blended learning is. Our school doesn't have the most up-to-date technology, so I feel like we are a little behind. The middle school will have 1:1 Chrome Books next year, so I'm curious to see how that will all work out. I thought the explanations of each model were very helpful. In my classroom I use a modified version of the Daily 5. We use the Daily 3, because my time with each block is limited. I feel like I follow the Rotation Model. The students rotate through each station. One of the stations is an on-line station. We use Front Row and a website called readtheory. I'm curious to find out what other people use if they use the on-line portion.

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  59. Hi! My name is Sarah Harmeyer. I am a kindergarten teacher at Hickory Center Elementary. My district is fairly new to blended learning. Our K-5 students will have Chromebooks in the fall so I am eager to learn as much as I can!

    The definition of blended learning on page 34 was exactly what I would have anticipated. What was more of a surprise to me was all of the different models of blended learning. I had no idea there were so many ways to utilize technology inside and outside of the classroom for learning. On page 37 and 38, the authors discuss the "rotation model" as a model that many classroom teachers gravitate towards. In reading through this description, I realized that this model is similar to what I am already doing in the classroom, without significant amounts of technology present. Last year, I had 2 iPads in my room each day. I would utilize them in math and reading rotations. That, however, was the extent to which I used them. There were not any additional features for learning as described in 'flex", "a la carte", and "enriched virtual" models. I think so many teachers gravitate towards this model because of the ease of implementation and the availability of resources needed. The "enriched virtual" model seemed very interesting to me as well. Some aspects of this model could be used to benefit student learning in a traditional classroom. In my opinion, I think it will be important to find a way to mix these blended models to best serve kids. I think that it is different for all learners, based on age and their level of education. In kindergarten, a mix of "rotation" and "enriched virtual" models may be most beneficial for students.

    Great read so far! Looking forward to more!

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    1. I would agree that the rotation models tend to be popular due to the ease of implementation. There have been days when I have a lot of material to cover and not a lot of time. I find a way to have "stations" (rotations) around my room... Sometimes it is just the most efficient way to get things done and the students can move from one spot to the next as needed.

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  60. Hi, my name is Pete O'Hara and I teach IB psychology at Carmel High School. IB is a great curriculum to use blended learning. We do seem to gravitate toward station rotation, though. I have had my students use on line sources to research topics in psychology, then move to small group discussion areas where they discuss their research and how it relates to the principles or approaches we are discussing. Finally, they would write individual paragraphs relating to what they learned that day.
    One area that I have had a little trouble getting my head around I'd taking a course completely on line while attending a traditional school. I know I am old, but I am trying to understand this idea.

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  61. Hello, my name is Teresa McCammon-Asche. I teach 9th and 12th grade English, including dual-credit and AP at North Central High School in Farmersburg.
    I have learned a lot in Chapter 1 about blended learning. I was not previously aware of all of the schools using student-driven software as often as the blended classrooms do. I am also intrigued about all of the money schools are saving while closing achievement gaps. We are a 1:1 school, and while I have worked some with student-driven software and the flipped classroom concept, I am excited to learn about what a fully blended classroom looks like. I look forward to finding ways to free up time to help students more on an individual basis. I also want to learn more about engaging ways to teach students to own their own education.

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  62. Hello, my name is Chantell Manahan, and I am the Director of Technology at MSD of Steuben County in Angola. I spent 9.5 years in the classroom as a French and English teacher before making the jump to administration last year.

    Many teachers "think" they are doing blended learning by integrating technology into the curriculum. No matter how well done this integration is, the instruction by this definition is not truly blended unless the teacher is willing and able to give up some control in the classroom. If the student has some element of control over time, place, path, and/or pace, this implies that the teacher is allowing the student that control. I find this to be quite disconcerting for many teachers, especially at the secondary level. I used to do stations on the first day of high school, and my colleagues thought I was CRAZY for having that much movement and surprise on Day 1. However, I felt it was a better reflection of the kind of learning environment I was offering, and better that my students adjusted to it sooner rather than later.

    True blended learning requires a shift in mindset and sound pedagogy. A terrible lesson doesn't magically improve by offering it in a blended format :)

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    1. I agree that many teachers "think" they are doing blended learning. The control issue is a big deal for many teachers. My classroom is mine and I run the "show." This past year I've learned to give up the control in the classroom. Next year I look forward to integrating a true by definition blended learning classroom.

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  63. Hi everyone! While we are still in school, I am looking forward to this reading. My name is Jeanne Lonzo and I teach second grade at Hay Primary Center in South Bend schools. I always like to learn new things in hopes of doing new, exciting things with my students. They get bored easily and I too get tired of pushing them to want to learn. In this book I hope to find new ways to organize my class to keep them excited.
    In this first chapter, and introduction, I really feel the examples shown help me see the difference in each way of "blending". I am guilty of believing that at least my reading/language arts class is considered blended but now I realize it is not. I do, however, use many parts of the rotational method in reading. I hope that as I read along, I can find ways of incorporating blending throughout the curriculum.
    We really do not, at this time, have access to enough technology or the professional development needed to learn new ways throughout the year. We need it during the summer so we can only concentrate on the learning needed. I hope we can get this eventually.

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  64. Hello! My name is Brittany Grant, and I am a fourth grade teacher at Cedar Canyon Elementary in Northwest Allen County. Our corporation's elementary schools will be going 1:1 in the fall, so this book is exactly what I need to help make the transition smoother. I am excited to read more about blended learning and how to incorporate it into my own classroom.

    Before reading, I think I started off a bit confused about what the definition of blended learning really is. It was not until reading chapter one that I realized blended learning is more than just a technology-rich classroom. I was also surprised to read how many models there are! This chapter really helped shed some light on some of my misconceptions.

    Like many of the readers, I was really drawn to the station rotation model. I would really like to incorporate this into my classroom with guided math and reading groups. I am looking forward to reading chapter two and learning more about blended learning!

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    1. I agree - my definition of blended learning was different. I have the kindle addition so I clicked right to the videos in the introduction and that has really inspired me. I could really see this benefiting my students.

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  65. Hello my name is Debbie Ventimiglia. I am a second grade teacher at Our Lady of Grace Catholic School. I have been teaching at this school for 17 years.

    Chapter 1 gave me some insights and added knowledge about Blended Learning. I learned more specifically about the various models of Blended Learning that I was not fully aware of. It was interesting watching the videos and the interactions of students within each atmosphere showcased.
    Alas, I am in a small school where one to one technology is available only to the upper grades. I currently have only four tablets for my second graders so I'm hoping for some direction and insights. I do, however use rotations as well as stations in some subject areas. I am interested to learn more about this topic so I may apply it to my classroom. I found the material interesting so far.

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  66. My name is Jennifer Seimetz and I have my Indiana teacher’s license but teach English at an international school in Frankfurt, Germany. I don’t have any formal experience with blended learning and have been looking forward to reading this book to learn more.

    Upon reading, I realized I had confused technology-rich instruction with blended learning. The formal definition was very helpful, and I learned that blended learning requires that some learning occur online, some occur in a supervised location away from home and that there must be “some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace” (pg. 34-35, 53). I had not realized that there were four models (rotation, flex, a la carte and enriched virtual model), and that some schools combine multiple models or offer several models simultaneously.

    Chapter One provided a nice introduction to the concept and theoretical workings of blended learning, which seems to provide many opportunities for students. This got me thinking about the practical or real life considerations of implementing blended learning, some of which hopefully may be addressed later in the readings:

    Technology: Since I teach English, I am really interested to hear more about the technology that is being used to increase reading comprehension and help with ELA. From some of the names mentioned, it seems like there are a few choices, and I am looking forward to reading more about the technology aspect in upcoming chapters.

    Inclusion: One of the things that I didn’t see mentioned anywhere in chapter 1 is the inclusion of students with specific learning differences or special needs. How does blended learning accommodate specific needs, besides adjusting pacing (i.e. Is the technology programmable to allow students who need it more time to take tests or to receive additional assistance? Are accommodations often needed for students with difficulties in concentration/attention in a large computer lab setting? etc.). Obviously, every student is different, but it would be interesting to see how student needs are addressed.

    Assessment: I also wondered how different schools assess students. Do many schools combine the online assessments with work done in small groups/with direct instruction?

    English Language Learners: How are English language learners accommodated? Is the technology able to provide appropriate material for language learners at different levels, too?

    Technology Failure: Technology fails now and then when there is a software glitch or other problem with the computers. What are teachers generally expected to do in those cases? (I am wondering because many of the programs using blended learning have reduced the number of teachers or staff.)

    I'm looking forward to learning more in chapter 2!

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  67. Good afternoon!
    My name is Janelle Owens. I am a 6th grade language arts teacher at South Side Elementary School, which is part of the East Noble School Corporation.
    We are a 1:1 school corporation, with students K-4 using and taking home IPads, and grades 5-12 utilizing laptops, again, with students having the laptops for home and school use. We have had this technological access for the past six years, and I feel extremely comfortable utilizing technology in my classroom. That said, I had anticipated that my classroom would be described as a "blended" classroom; however, after reading chapter 1, I realize that this assumption was wrong. Yes, my instruction is technology-rich, but it is NOT blended! When technology was introduced, I made an attempt in using the flipped classroom model, but I found this very challenging for the instruction of language arts. I know many in my corporation who flip math instruction successfully. At this point, I am most intrigued by rotation model, specifically station rotation. I feel this would be most beneficial to my students during reading instruction.
    Our high school and the alternative learning center allow students to participate in online courses in order to earn credits. This is as far as my knowledge goes. This said, I do not believe that this opportunity is truly blended, either. I do not know if it meets the criteria for blended learning, as I am unsure if the "online and face-to-face components work together to deliver an integrated course".
    I am looking forward to participating in this book club! It is interesting to read about others' experiences with technology and blended instruction.

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    1. I am so totally on your page! I have also wondered if some of these methods work better for math than for language arts.

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  68. My name is Justin Smith, and I am an English teacher at Carroll High School in Fort Wayne. My high school just went 1 to 1 this year and like many of the comments that are already posted I thought wrong that if I was posting content of the web for students to use that I had a blended classroom.
    What stood out to me in chapter one was learning that using 1 to 1 and posting content on the web does not make my course blended, but "technology-rich" I have heard of a flipped classroom, but I did not know that it was part of the blended models until I read chapter one. I have been a part of several school systems that have used Read 180 and Apex and I would have thought that using those systems would have been considered "blended" until I realized that there is more to the term than most people think.
    Two of the things that I really enjoyed about chapter one was the concept of "brick and mortar" as a requirement of true blended classrooms. I have been in education for fourteen years and I have heard all of the chatter about how education is going to go all online or that there is not going to be as much need for "Schools" with the advancement of technology. Chapter one pointed out several times that in most models, kids needed some place to go outside the home for the blended method to work. Lastly, I really liked the idea of the enriched virtual model that was talked about at the end of the chapter. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed college so much was the fact that I was studying the things that I needed to study on a schedule that I had some say in creating. I choose when to be on Campus and when and where to study and I think for a lot of kids having some of those options using technology would make learning more interesting. I was specifically drawn to the example of the CCA in Philadelphia were the learning and the schedule is tailored to the student. I really liked the idea of the teachers meeting at the end of the weeks so they could review each students' progress and determine what needed to be done the next week. I think this is an exciting idea and something that more school should try implementing.
    Regardless, I look forward to reading the book and the comments posted on line to find best practices to use in my classroom next year.

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    1. I also have had some experience with flipped classrooms and also did not know it was part of the blended classroom concept

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  69. Hi, my name is Amy Sams and I am currently an IA at Angola Middle School/MSD of Steuben County, but next year, I will have a teaching position teaching 8th grade US history. I have done a little bit of everything here, substitute, long term substitute, Remediation Teacher, IA and next school year, history teacher. MSD of Steuben County is a 1 to 1 technology corporation where we use Goggle Chromebooks.

    Once I actually read the definition of Blended Learning, I realized that I did something similar to this when I first started teaching Remediation classes in 2007. We visited other schools and looked at Read 180 (which they reference in the book), but at the time, we did not have the money to purchase such a program. I had a computer lab for a classroom, so it was very easy to set up "stations" for the kids to work on. I found several different websites that they could use while on the computer, they had small group instruction with me (using SRA's) as well as time to read. The first year was rocky, just because it was new to everyone; me, other teachers in the building, administration. But the second year I showed, on average, a 2-3 grade level increase in reading levels. At the time, it didn't have a "name," I just called it stations. The kids definitely weren't familiar with it, mainly because they weren't use to being trusted to do something on their own. But we overcame the trust issues and once they got the hang of it, it took off like gang busters.

    The big thing that surprised me was that there were different models of it. I never realized it. Some make sense for my classroom that I will have, but others, not so much, mainly because it would have to be a corporation or school wide initiative.

    Other thought that I had while reading chapter 1 was that it seems that a lot of these schools are charter schools where things tend to be more lax than in public schools. I read the performance reviews, but in all of these states, are they held to the same standards as public schools are? Another comment I made in the book while reading, was about why schools went to this. There were a couple of instances where it talked about how they didn't have to have as many licensed teachers. I am all for helping the students, but the only reason to switch to these models shouldn't be cost (the Individual Rotation Model, pages 45 and 46, where it talks about why Carpe Diem uses this model).

    I look forward to seeing what lies in the pages ahead, and hopefully find some useful information that I can incorporate into my classroom next year.

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  70. I am Kathleen Estrada, a 6th grade math teacher for the School City of Hammond, Indiana. I have been researching how to incorporate math stations into a 48 minute class period. Chapter 1 has really helped me get a better picture of how I can incorporate this. I loved the videos and pictures of the different set ups. I have a set of chrome books in my classroom for about 80% of the days in the school year. I want to have a technology station on the days I have the chrome books. This has really thinking about breaking away from my set curriculum map. I noticed I do a lot of teaching to the middle. I feel like giving the students control over time, place, path, and/or pace is a hard idea for me to grasp. It is what I always wanted to accomplish but the idea of having 120 different lessons daily,tracking their progress and holding them accountable daily seems so overwhelming. I am looking forward to the next few chapters, hoping they can help clarify where I am stuck on these ideas.

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  71. Hi, I am Robin Pletcher and I teach Psychology, Sociology, and K8 Mentoring at Carmel High School.
    I hadn't heard much about the concept of "Blended" learning before signing up for this book club or reading this chapter. I would've thought that it meant using some form of technology in the classroom... I'm quickly seeing that it's so much more than that! In our school district, we are not following the 1:1 push that schools around us are... we do have devices available to use in our departments if desired, but it is understood that requiring each and every student to have something just isn't realistic due to the changing economic situations of the population. Also, we always hear about the importance of relationship and being able to "reach" our students- kind of hard to do when everyone's looking at a screen.

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    1. I am amazed to hear that CHS does not have 1:1. I would never have guessed that.

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    2. My school district does not have computers for each child either. The district just does not have the money but they are trying to have enough chrome books for every grade level. I also agree with you in that if every student is looking at screens it is difficult to have a relationship when their heads are bent looking at the screen or just waiting to get on the computer.

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  72. I also noticed that most of the examples (via the videos) were all small classes. I would love to see what blended instruction looks like for a teacher who has 120 students in her grade level classes. I can see the rotations working...but am wondering about having teacher-time to evaluate the data appropriately and efficiently (to guide the set up" of instruction). Did that make sense?

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    1. I agree that the accountability portion for blended learning can be difficult! I have been in such situations and you do have to be extra intentional in which assignments you will chose to create a mini quiz that will take the time to analyze to guide the lesson and activity when the students are in. There's definitely units that do not lend themselves to certain models of blended learning so the teacher does have to put in a lot of work thinking about what will work well and some of it might require just trying anyway!

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  73. Blended Learning
    Monday, June 5, 2017
    Hello! My name is Linda Barberia and I am a special education teacher in Northwest Indiana.
    Blended learning involves students receiving their formal education through a combination of actual attendance at a building away from home that is supervised and an online program. Curriculums that incorporate the blended learning also include the aspect where the students have some control over time, place, path, and/or pace of their learning.
    I have only had the opportunity to use technology in my lessons on a limited basis. I have used you tube clips and scholastic news videos to supplement material on specific topics with my students. These online sources are very current and relevant. The students are also very engaged with the information that has been presented to them through these sources.

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    1. Hi Linda! I work with special education students at the middle school level. I agree with you that struggling students really enjoy and are engaged in online activities. Students who have disabilities need to be encouraged on a daily basis to build their confidence when working online. It is important to teach students how to become advocates for themselves as they become more in control of their own learning. I am excited to read more about blended learning and how it can impact our special education students!

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  74. I am Elizabeth Shew from South Vermillion. I teach eighth-grade English. Since 1995, I have mostly taught face-to-face; although, I have taught a couple of on-line classes. I see "blended" classrooms as a combination of the two that are more student-driven. I'm looking forward to learning new ways to motivate my students to initiate their own learning. In order for blended classrooms to be effective, students must be self-starters. This can be extremely difficult for middle school students. I'm really excited about getting some new tools to use this fall that will increase the learning in and out of my classroom.

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  75. Blended learning: Week one
    Hello everyone, my name is Lori Rowe-Manuel. I am a new teacher and currently not with a school or corporation. I was at a school last semester that was a one to one school where every student has an iPad.

    First of all I have to say I'm completely amazed reading all of the comments and information about the various teachers that are signed up for this program. Being new to this profession it really is an eye-opener for me to see how many teachers are commenting their understanding and where education is going when it involves technology. Thank you.

    When I was reading the definition of Blended Learning there were several pieces that actually surprised me. I think one of the things that mainly surprised me was the fact that we tend to use terminology and such a casual way and we think that that covers anything that has to do with technology.

    The school that I worked at this last semester had iPads and every student use that iPad and there was so much conversation among teachers on how to use those iPads to benefit each student. I had a couple teachers that do follow the flip module and it seems to be working in their classes and that makes me the most interested in that particular model because of the fact that I have seen teachers using that and I've also seen the outcome of those students so that draws me much more to that particular module.

    However, reading all of the other modules makes me more interested in fully understanding how those modules would work in my particular field and to really see if one of those would be better than the flip module.

    I was so excited to hear that this was going to be the book that we were reading, for me to even gather more information to help me prepare for whatever school I may be working in in the fall.

    Chapter one has really made me think even more about technology and how to use it with in a classroom and to follow one of these modules that really helps students. I have taken online courses and taught myself based off of information from professors and communicated back-and-forth with those professors as I read out of textbooks, got information online and did my assignments not even realizing that I have followed one of these modules.

    I think Chapter one has given a good foundation for this blended learning and I can't wait to read chapter 2.

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    1. Welcome to teaching, Lori! I wish you the best! :)

      You make a great point that we tend to use "blended learning" as an umbrella term. That's definitely been my experience as well. I think that's incredibly beneficial that you've seen how the flipped model works in real life! I'll have to follow your comments more to see what other advice/insight you can give for that!

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  76. Hi Joe Poteet North Montgomery High School I teach History mostly US History.
    I like how this book started right out talking about the student centered focus that blended learning emphasizes. The student being in control of their learning and can move faster through a unit if they are mastering it or move slower if extra practice is needed. This would be a great resource in addition to the face-to-face learning from the teacher.
    This does create two things. One the teacher must create the online material for students. Two the students must be held accountable for the online learning. If the students don't do the work the consequence will be failing that unit or eventually the entire class. That could be a problem in some situations.
    I am very excited to continue reading this book.

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    1. You bring up a great point! I truly want to know now what happens to students who intentionally try to fail a unit. What are those consequences? How have other schools accounted for this? Thanks for bringing this up! Hopefully the book answers these questions.

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  77. Hi! I am Kaitlyn Hileman, 3rd grade teacher and tech coach in Rensselaer, IN. I am looking forward to learning about blended learning with you all!
    My school is 1:1 with iPads, so as I read chapter 1 and the introduction, I found myself highlighting and noting the difference between a true blended learning model and not just tech integration. Since blended learning is a new term for many, a lot of educators may assume students are in a blended learning environment just because they have technology in their hands.
    I was surprised to find out that blended learning can look very different since there are many models of it. I think that I am on the right track for creating a blended learning environment for my 3rd graders with the station rotation model. During our literacy block, students rotate: whole-group instruction, small-group direct instruction, and individual instruction (self-paced comprehension and phonics) on iPads. I am eager to learn how to perfect my literacy block into a true blended learning environment.
    I also found that I like the flipped classroom model. I love the idea that in-class time is for students to be ACTIVE learners with guidance from the teacher. However, I think that for this to be most effective students need to first have a mindset to want to learn and to be independent learners.
    Looking forward to reading more in chapter 2!

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  78. Hello. I am Rebecca Sanders and I am a teacher at Michigan City High School in Michigan City.
    My district is in the process of going one to one with chrome books. We are using Blackboard as our LMS. The transition has been smooth for those teachers that use technology already but there are always a few bumps along the way.
    My district is moving toward blended learning. I really like the idea of the students working at their own level. I am curious how other districts use blended learning whether through a program or their own curriculum.

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  79. Hello. I'm Ellen Selking. I am a high ability and foreign language teacher at St Joseph School in Decatur. I'm not sure if I'm sold on blended learning yet. The first reason is a parent I've have been told by experts to limit my children's screen time. The authors of this book say that students should spend 50% of their time at the computer. I'm not sure I like the idea of young children spending that much time looking at a computer screen. I am intrigued by the idea of a flipped classroom. Watching a lecture at home and then spending class time working on assignments and projects with the teacher their as support seems very beneficial. I'm not sure I understand how the rotation method would work if students are all at different points in instruction when it comes time for teaching to the class or even small groups.

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  80. Hi, my name is Holly Miller and I teach 7th and 8th grade English at Maple Creek Middle School in Fort Wayne, IN. (My middle initial appears in my name because I'm lucky enough to work with another person with my same name.)

    Like many people commenting, my school recently went one-to-one with our technology and it has definitely been a transition. My definition of blended learning prior to this was that it was just about bringing technology into the classroom, Horn and Staker's definition of "technology-rich." My school gave us the technology and then let us use it as we wanted to in our classes, which was good because we weren't being told how to teach but there was also very little training about turning it into a blended classroom. (Most seminars were about Google drives and the uses of other individual websites in the classroom.) I thought technology-rich was the way to be.

    After this chapter, I have some thoughts on these blended learning models they've offered. I think giving students agency in their own learning is fantastic. I would LOVE for my students to have more say in the speed of their learning and even what they're learning about. However, some of the models, particularly the Individual Rotation model where it sounds like students are mostly rotated from one lab station to another, sound great in theory or in a couple of schools but wouldn't work well in larger locations. Most of these example schools are charter schools, which are held to different standards than public schools. I struggle to see how rotation stations like these would work in a middle school English classroom, especially when a number of my students actually complain about how much time they spend on computers in school. (Eye strain and headaches are common complaints.) Obviously, I know we are trying to ready them for the workforce, a world quickly becoming more technological by the day. But on the other hand, staring at screen all day, no matter how you break down instruction or let them choose their lessons, isn't healthy either.

    I also struggle with how technology will help my students the most. There have been many studies done that show reading online (pdf docs, articles, ebooks) actually hinders reading comprehension. (If you'd like to read more, this article details a number of those studies: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/ ) So I always struggle in my classroom between going paper-free on articles and stories or uploading them for my students because I do see a difference in their reading speed and comprehension.

    Hopefully the later chapters in this book (and comments from others!) will help me figure out how to make blended learning work a little better for me!

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    1. Hi Holly!
      I agree with you that it has been a challenging transition to 1:1 technology in our schools. I would love to see my resource students be more independent in their online learning and have that element of control in pacing themselves to complete online activities successfully. I definitely think training needs to continue for all students to become more confident in their strengths and be able to utilize the resources available online to assist them such as the audio option when reading material along with the speech to text option when needing to answer questions online. I look forward to learning more about blended learning.

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  81. Hello! I am Heather Wathen. I teach 1st grade at St Joseph Catholic School in Corydon,IN. In chapter 1, I was really inspired by the introduction to blended learning and how much this can improve student learning. Our school is starting with blended learning this coming school year and I am beyond excited to see the growth that can occur with individualized learning. I think that is what stood out the most in chapter 1 to me was how it was used and what is actually entailed.

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  82. Hi All! My name is Kelly Gerber. I am a special education middle school teacher. I work primarily with students who have learning disabilities. I teach at Carroll Middle School in Fort Wayne. Our school district just went 1:1 this past school year. I have to say there has been some challenges but feel teachers have adjusted to technology issues and have used technology in ways to enhance student learning on a day to day basis. The first chapter was interesting in this book as I found myself agreeing with the authors on how schools can mix and match different models of blended learning. I know some teachers in our school district at the high school level have experimented with a flipped classroom, lab rotation, and enriched virtual model. At the middle school level, I feel teachers have implemented technology rich instruction since this was our first school year with 1:1. As a special educator, I appreciated the definition of blended learning and specifically found the part about students needing some element of control over the time, place, and/or pace of their online learning. Students with disabilities need to feel that they can work at their own pace and complete the online activities successfully. I look forward to reading more about how blended learning can work in various classrooms.

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    1. I found the difference between a technology rich environment versus that of a blended model enlightening. I think that it was good that the authors made a distinction between the two, especially for the uninitiated. I think that blended learning has a great capability to offer educational accommodation for students with disabilities, and I think that many students with disabilities could access content much more easily in a blended model. Traditional models in the classroom can be restrictive for some students and I think this is a great avenue for many of our students with different needs, especially students who must deal with physical or cognitive barriers and students with language barriers.

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  83. My name is Zech Rarey and I am currently an ENL teacher in Bartholomew County. I am moving to first grade next year and I am very excited to get started! Our school has one to one technology as well as the use of itslearning for our primary LMS. I think that some of the schools in our district are doing a version of blended learning, and I know for a fact our local colleges are implementing it very well. I am very interested in blended learning because of how well it worked for me in college and I think it could be a great alternative to provide students an avenue by which they have ownership in their own learning. In our district, we are very focused on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and it has many components by which our students have choices for representation, expression, and engagement. I think that all definitions of blended learning in chapter one have a large degree of common ground with this concept. I think that blended learning as a means of giving students ownership in the learning process is amazing. I do wonder about what sorts of resources are available that are similar to the programs mentioned in the chapter to offer the self-paced and directed work based on algorithms. Differentiation for students that is driven by their own progress is a great idea and I would definitely like to learn more about it. I read an article recently about a teacher who turned her entire seventh grade civics curriculum into a mastery-based, online role playing game where students can earn achievements and "money" to purchase online or in-class rewards. I think this is a very cool way of integrating a Flipped model of class in order to have students do the majority of the learning through the online platform and have the teacher there for guided practice and deeper explanation of concepts.

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    1. I forgot to add that I think that some of our school are participating in a rotation model and we have a high school that seems to be working more toward a flex model.

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  84. Hello, My name is Roberta Phillips and I am a Business and Computer Applications Instructor at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center. We are a vocational school located in Dayton, OH. I have Juniors and Seniors who enroll in our school to study a variety of careers from Auto Technology, Cosmetology, Biotechnology to Media Arts.

    My computer applications course uses Lynda, an online learning system. What surprised me about the chapters definition of Blended Learning is the amount of student control over time, place and/or pace that is the focus. It has become obvious that I will need to create more original materials for my students.

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  85. Hi All! My name is Brianna Barth and I am a Life Skills special education teacher at Wea Ridge Middle School in Lafayette, Indiana. I am really excited to learn more about blended learning and I think this book is perfect! At first, I thought I kind of knew what blended learning was, but once it was broken down to the three parts: student have some “on campus” time away from home, students have some amount of control, and both components work together, I quickly realized I was lumping edtech and blended learning together. I was previously familiar with the Read 180 program, because it was taught at my previous school district, but unfortunately, in my current setting we do not have a type of blended learning, but I am interested in how it would look in a special education classroom with students with moderate to severe disabilities. I am not saying it is impossible, but I do believe it would take more trial and error.

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  86. Hello everyone! I am Laura Frondorf. I am a school librarian at Laurel Elementary School and Mt. Carmel School in Franklin County, Indiana. I work with students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Our schools added one to one grades 5 - 8 this past school year. Beginning in the fall we will be adding grade 3 and 4. Our high school has been one to one for a few years.

    After reading chapter one I definitely have a better understanding of what blended learning includes. It's important for students to have control over the time, place, path, and pace of their online learning. I have lots to learn about blended learning and using blended learning.

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  87. Hello! I am Dom David. I am a computer science teacher at Carmel High School in Indiana teaching AP Computer Science A and Intro to Computer Science. I work with students from 9th-12th grade. We are a school of 5000 students and we have recently adopted an LMS (Canvas) that teachers have all had a chance to dry run this school year.

    The last two years I have implemented the flipped classroom model for 1-2 topics in AP Computer Science A. Students are given an assignment which involves being introduced to an intermediate topic. I try to keep students accountable for this portion by giving a small assignment such as a quick check for understanding type of questionnaire which also helps guide my instruction for the face-to-face portion. The majority of what I do in the classroom is the Enriched Virtual model where I make a lot of resources available for students to explore so that those that need the different way it's explained can seek out the extra resources to get themselves caught to where everyone else is. It's never the expectation that everyone get the content at the same pace, but everyone is given the opportunity to to the same pace at a set time. This pacing, of course, is necessary as there's a limited time in the year and students are expected to obtain a certain amount of fluency in the subject matter. It can be a lot of work for me to put the content out there, however, and because it is an optional enrichment sometimes the time put into gathering or making these resources available doesn't always pay off. The good news is that if the resources are good I know where they're stored!

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  88. My name is Laura Cardamon. I teach Marketing, WBL Coop., and Merchandising at Carmel High School, Carmel, Indiana.
    In my classes I use Lab Rotation which integrates classroom time with computer time. I am proud that I use technology rich classroom in which I post all my lesson plans, assignments, and quizzes on Canvas. The students check Canvas for PowerPoints, worksheets, quizzes, and upload assignments. I have also used the Flipped Classroom. Students are responsible for completing homework with my assistance as needed.

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  89. Hello! My name is Amy Moore and I teach kindergarten at Shenandoah Elementary School. My classroom went from one computer to 10 IPads last year. Hopefully more this upcoming year. Our district is trying to keep up with technology as we are a smaller, rural corporation. I have enjoyed this book as my mind is wrapping around what I currently do and what I can do with blended learning. I like the fact it is focused on STUDENT pace. My how I hate moving on to a new concept when someone is not quite there yet!

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  90. Hi everyone! I'm Nakkia Patrick and I teach at Delta Middle School (Delaware Community Schools) in Muncie, IN. I just completed my third year teaching 7th and 8th Grade Language Arts. Next year will be our first year going one-to-one, so I thought this book would be a great opportunity to learn more about integrating the technology component into my instruction. My textbook has an online component that I haven't had the opportunity to integrate into our curriculum as much because of a lack of technology within the classroom and at home. I also teach two RTI classes that have an online RTI component. I would say my RTI class is as close to blended learning as I have had before.

    As I read the definition of blended learning, I wasn't necessarily surprised. However, I am really happy that blended learning provides a fluid framework. I think it's great that I don't have to commit to a specific layout or plan. In my classroom, I can integrate technology in a multitude of ways and that is considered blended learning. One thing I want to be sure of and explore more is how to make the use of technology in the classroom purposeful. I think it's really important that it's not just there to replace paper and pencil, but to truly enhance the learning experience.

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  91. I think blended learning works well for students who are motivated and disciplined. This philosophy of learning is not confined to only classrooms and class schedules.
    Will blended learning work well for all students?

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  92. Hello! My name is Karlan Varner and I am a Geometry and Algebra 2 teacher at Southwood Jr/Sr High School in Wabash. I felt like the first chapter was very eye-opening to what blended learning is/isn't. My school is 1-1 but I feel that the technology provided is not necessarily used to it's full potential (I know that is much easier said than done as well). I currently flip my classroom and I have loved it. I still have a LOT of tweaking to do with the flipped classroom to hopefully make it more "self-paced", but overall I have felt like I have worked with and helped more students than I ever did with the typical lecture style classroom.

    I was very intrigued by the rotations concept (and would LOVE to incorporate that into my flipped model), but am just curious how that would work in a high school setting when class periods are already relatively short. If a class period is only 45 minutes long and you have to rotate, lets say...3 times.. that is 15 minutes in each rotation.. is that long enough? I'm unsure!

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    1. I currently have 80 minutes for my classes (40 minute class + 40 minute labs). My class schedule looks like this:
      10 min- Daily Language Review
      10 min- Mini lesson (whole group instruction)
      Then students move to small group rotations. Small groups are assigned by me according to deficit needs.
      20 min- Reading Comprehension- I lead this group and work on reading skills and current standards
      20 min- Writing
      20 min- Independent Reading or Vocabulary

      I utilize a few websites to help in my writing and vocabulary groups. This schedule is rough for the first week or so. Then the kids get the hang of it and we stay on time (most of the time). I would recommend starting with 2 rotations with your time frame and then move from there.

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    2. I like the way you break your class time into segments to pace the students' progress. Having these guidelines in place keeps everyone moving along. I teach 47-minute classes, and I like to plan my time in a similar way.
      10 min. - silent sustained reading for independent Reading Counts
      15 min. - literature - whatever novel or short story we're reading
      whole-class or small group activity, lecture once in awhile, or discussion
      15 min. - writing activity/vocabulary or a game to review concepts
      7 min. - start on the next day's homework/time to work with individual students
      or check-in with struggling students or confer with the Inclusion aide

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  93. Hello my name is Natosha Bruner. I am a 6th grade science teacher in a middle school setting. We are planning on the future to be one to one in our district but are not there yet. I have done this with my class learning in past and kids loved it. It is a great way to pace to students needs and allows online review of skill and class content. I would say my experience has been largely rotation model in past.

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  94. Hi everybody! My name is Fernanda Becker and I'm a Spanish teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, IN. I currently teach levels 4 and 5, both Academic and Honors. This school year 2016-2017 was our first year of 1-1 at our school. For me, it has been a year of much experimentation with innovative online resources to incorporate and enrich students' learning on one hand, while on the other hand, realizing how technology influences students' learning and behavior. Upon further reflection, I would have to add the changes that it has done to my own learning and teaching style. So, this book club on "Blended" couldn't be any more pertinent and timely.

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  95. As many readers did, I also appreciated very much the clarification of the definition of "blended learning" given in chapter one. While technology has been enhancing the foreign language introduction for many years, it is only in the more recent years that technology is truly becoming a "disruptive innovation" in the traditional classroom. Half jokingly, in my opinion, anything with the word "disruptive" on it, may not get the most positive reaction from someone in the field of teaching. In our professional jargon, "disruptive" triggers at the very least a "no thank you" kind of reaction. However, after getting over the first impression (or initial state of panic), I am prone to welcome any baby steps or giant leaps into an educational model that contributes to more self-motivated and higher performing students across the board.

    So, properly speaking, during this past school year, I had highly enriched the Spanish classes I taught, I had flipped classroom as it was appropriate at a given lesson, and for a couple of months I had truly blended learning going on in my Spanish V levels as the students used an online course to work at their own pace. At, the end, it was pleasing to know in the students feedback, that they enjoyed working on their computers and at their own pace, but they would not given up, and some rather missed, the face-to-face modality at times. I can say that I also felt the same way.

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  96. Hi! My name is Jennelle Weatherford and I am currently working toward renewing my elementary teaching license. I stayed at home with my children for several years and am now a pre-k teacher at a church in Columbus Indiana.
    I love the idea of blended learning. I originally thought that blended learning was using technology in a way to reinforce the lesson such as, finding videos to reinforce what you've taught, or using games on computers to help with math facts, etc.
    The school my children go to does station rotation type of learning but not necessarily with computers. The teacher teaches the lesson, then groups work on the lesson together, and finally the students work on the lesson individually.
    I think being able to fast forward or rewind on the computer to be re-taught is great. I feel like in the elementary classroom this would take a lot of time and I'm not sure how all of the standards would be met with students who are behind, but there were a couple of elementary schools in the videos that have done this so I guess it works. I'm excited to read more about blended learning.

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    1. Jennelle, I agree with you 100% on the assumption of blended learning. I too thought that blended learning was incorporating technology into your daily lessons so that students could take a more active role in their learning. I am also intrigued by this idea of student driven, student paced learning, especially since I teach kindergarten. That idea makes me a little nervous, because everything takes so long to explain and get running smoothly. However, each year I add a new component to my curriculum and my students surprise me on how well they caught on, so if introduced the right way maybe students at the elementary level will catch on pretty quickly.

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  97. Melissa Ringle, Curriculum Coordinator, Northwest Allen County Schools

    The different models (of blended learning) allow for the differentiation of the blended learning environment and learning approaches. Our district uses the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition) model to meaningfully integrate technology into course curriculum. This is allowing more and more teachers to use blended learning models effectively in the classroom. Differentiating between the various types of blended learning will allow us to more meaningfully evaluate digital learning and technology integration as we strive to move up the SAMR model to more transformative learning experiences for our students.

    While the lab rotation was used frequently in the past, we recently moved to 1:1 (with laptops) at our secondary schools leading to more teachers using the flipped classroom and station rotation blended learning. The flex and a la carte models are long time staples of the district. I am interested to see how the SAMR model and blending learning can lead to pedagogical innovation for 21st century learners.

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  98. Hi. My name is Sue Shollenberger and I have been teaching Title 1 reading at Pleasant Lake Elementary for 28 years. I love kids and I love teaching them to read. I find technology very exciting and helpful. Blended learning will help me to individualize reading levels andalso integrate technology into my rotations. I love how the control of learning is taught how the students can control this. I really believe the beauty of blended learning is the human interaction part. Reading comes alive when we can discuss it with other humans.

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  99. My name is Jason Kruger. I teach kindergarten at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Haubstadt, Indiana. Our school has many great technology opportunities for our students from kindergarten through 5th grade. Our k-3 classrooms are equipped with EPSON boards (SMART boards) and our 4th and 5th grade classrooms have 1-1 ipads and apple tv so students can project their classwork or answers up on the board. We utilize technology everyday throughout our curriculum and have a technology instructor who teaches technology to our school twice a week. Our reading and math curriculum have online components that help our students better understand the lesson of the day. This can be viewed during class but also at home. However, even with all the technology we are blessed to have we are not a blended learning school.
    The information given in chapter 1 really opened my eyes to what is considered a blended learning classroom/school. I know we try to have our students learn outside of the school through different programs to help them master various skills but this is still not what a blended classroom looks like.
    The one area of blended learning that really makes me think is the component that students are in control. I always try and encourage my students to take an active role in their own learning, but to have the students control their learning will be the area I will want to learn more about.

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  100. Hi! I am Jennifer McCormick. I teach high school English. Our students use Mac Books at our school. We always struggle to find a happy medium of online work and book work. Our students use their computers to recover lost credits and take electives not offered. We also have college classes that the students are able to participate in. Our computers are used a lot in these areas. I can't say the same for my classroom. I have found reading material to use online, but comprehension questions and such are usually hard to use. The computers allow the students to find the answer keys. I usually create my own questions and writing assignments. I would like my classroom to be more blended. I would like to give the power of learning on their own to the student. I do use Google classroom to post assignments. If I had to put my class in one of the types, I'm not sure which I would choose. All I truly know is that our school is rich in technology, and that i could use ideas how to use it better with the students.
    I look forward to reading this book and learning new things!

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    1. Jennifer
      It sounds as if you and I have very similar situations. I know our Math department uses different websites and programs that are student driven, but there really don't seem to be any good ones for English classes. (Not that I've found anyway.) They all seem so "canned" and superficial, especially if we really want them to get deeply into a text. Trying to blend the learning better seems like it would be a lot of work on the front end for the teacher in terms of finding/creating materials, posting it to web, and creating different levels of opportunity based on their level of comprehension. I find that really intimidating. We currently use Canvas as our LMS and google but all material is controlled and directed by me. I don't really have any good ideas about student choice or student directed learning either, but I'm excited to discover some!

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  101. Hi! I'm Wendi Russell and I teach HS English. We are a 1:1 school with Mac Books and we use Canvas as LMS. I guess our school is what the authors would call a tech rich environment. But honestly I thought I was doing "blended learning". Guess not. Since on Canvas I use modules to post all learning material, but I have been the one to control the time, pace, and place of the access to the material. I am interested in how all of you are going to incorporate more student control of content through technology. It seems exciting and yet also a bit daunting. I'm not sure I'm completely comfortable allowing that much control out of my hands, and yet in the 21st century it is entirely appropriate and necessary that I do so. Looking forward to discussing this will you all. Happy Reading!

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    1. Since you are using Canvas, you can make your students progress through the modules in sequential order. Students can't move on to the next step until they reach some threshold that you have set. In this manner the the students will be able to progress through the material at a pace that suits them, but at the same time require a preset level of mastery.

      https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-9984-415241431

      Check out the Mastery Paths function in Canvas. Talk about differentiating your classroom! https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10442-4152668299

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  102. Sanchara is the name, English Language Arts is the game in the South Bend Community School Corporation. I guess it’s not really a game, but it’s a curriculum nonetheless.

    I found the concept of blended learned particularly interesting in the variety of ways it can be incorporated in today’s classrooms. Currently, our school corporation is on the move toward a 1-to-1 ratio, but the transition won’t occur for a number of years.

    I use technology in the classroom to teach composition. Taking notes on how to construct a paragraph and then use those notes to write an essay doesn’t work, according to what I have done in the past, due to the differences in background knowledge students may have.

    What I have done is assign an essay prompt connecting to whatever reading was accomplished in class and have students type their drafts in Google docs. As they are drafting, I can make comments and editing suggestions as they are going along.

    I don’t think this is any form of blended learning but more of a technology-rich instruction model.

    I like the A La Carte Model because I think it demonstrates the best fit for today’s students. Students, for the most part, need to take charge of their learning and not rely on teachers to “spoon-feed” them the answers. I think this model allows for the most autonomy in an educational experience.

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    1. If you use Google Classroom- You can post students' writing assignments on there. You can then use an add-on called Goobric to grade essays quickly and it sends scores automatically to your students. It has been a game changer in my classroom!

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  103. Hi, my name is Tina Morton and I am the high school language arts teacher at Corden Porter Educational Center (Greater Clark County Schools).
    We are a 1:1 school corporation so all of my students have laptops to use. I currently use the station rotation model in my English classroom. Students work on reading comprehension, writing, and vocabulary daily. I have used the flipped classroom model before as well, however, with many of my students not having internet at home, this became difficult to keep up. I also have many students who would not do the instructional part at home. I still utilize part of this approach by using videos and prezis and loading them into my Google Classroom. Students can watch the video in their small group and also have it to review throughout the year. I also utilize several websites to help my students learn and practice skills. Two of my favorites are vocabulary.com and quill.com. These allow students to practice vocabulary and writing skills at their own pace and at their level.

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  104. My name is Mollie Wassner. I am a Family and Consumer Science teacher as well as the Work Based Learning Coordinator for South Bend Community School Corp. In my role as WBL Coordinator next year I plan on implementing blended learning with two students. Both will be working 3 to 5 days a week in the community while still having to complete course work curriculum.
    Before reading this book I envisioned developing an online course. The students would be at a computer probably in their high school completing assignments I gave via Google Classroom. After reading chapter 1 I am beginning to rethink the course design. Right off the bat the definition of blended learning states “with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace” tell me I have to give up control. Additionally, there is an “instructional shift from face-to-face teacher to web-based content and instruction.” This year I moved away the face-to-face, but did not provide the web-based content and instruction. Blended learning is not emailing an assignment to a student and then emailing the assignment back to the teacher. Blended learning is “components working together to deliver an integrated course.”
    The models as described in the book are very helpful. I have to say the example for the A La Carte model hit very close to home. We live in a small world. My extended family lives in Canadian, Texas. I spent more summer vacations in Canadian than I can count. Canadian High School had the vision to bring blended learning into this quaint town allowing students the opportunity to expand their knowledge.

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  105. Andy Deatrick; Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology Integration Coordinator at Northwest Allen County Schools in Fort Wayne, IN.

    Prior to moving into my current district level position, I was a high school Biology teacher who had flipped his classroom the final five years. The class also used a form of layered learning in which the students received a "menu" of assignments and labs each unit. On the menu, about 2/3 of assignments were required and the remaining 1/3 offered student choice. Students had on average two weeks to complete the unit. Most direct instruction was done through videos that I posted on my YouTube channel (MrDBioCFC), and delivered to the students via My Big Campus and then Canvas after MBC went out of business. Students were free to work on any menu item(s) each day, and since I wasn't tied to the whiteboard, I was able to walk around the classroom and offer any kind of help needed by the students. The class had a nice, relaxed pace, and the students really like the freedom and choice that was offered. I could never return to traditional lecture-style teaching.

    I learned about the menu system from Joe Ruhl at Lafayette Jefferson. Check out his TED talk about how his classroom works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCFg9bcW7Bk My inspiration for flipping the classroom came from Paul Anderson of Bozeman Science on YouTube, and from Jon Bergman and Aaron Sams who are mentioned in the book. I've have been lucky to have had the opportunity to talk with Jon and Aaron in person on a couple of occasions and through email many times. I can't understate how helpful Jon has been. Highly recommend their books on flipped learning.

    To make a long story short, I was blending my classroom before I knew blended learning existed. My classroom had 12 desktops, and we were also a BYOD school, so the students could bring their own device to school. Last year we moved to full 1:1. In my experience, students have a strong desire for a blended environment. They are aware that online learning benefits them with a self-directed pace and the flexibility of time. They also recognize that they need face-to-face time with the teacher to relearn and/or learn deeper. What I am looking forward to through this book study is learning a systematic way to implement the blended learning model. Knowing the different systems will help me train my district's teachers to effectively blend their classrooms. I'm also interested in how others throughout the state, especially elementary teachers, have implemented blended learning.

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  106. I am Holly Frye and am the Curriculum Director for Mooresville Schools. My Technology Director and I are starting an Instructional Technology Task Force and are beginning with this book study over the summer. We are 1:1 grades 5-12 and are expanding each year with 1-2 grades. Our students utilize Chromebooks and Canvas is our LMS. For many of our teachers, the station rotation approach seems to work well. When we first implemented our 1:1 initiative, the flipped classroom was beginning to talk hold, but our student devices no longer have air cards and our community has limited internet access away from school so this has died down a little over the past few years. I am interested in learning more about developing a stronger blended learning environment in our school district and how to overcome some of the roadblocks we are currently facing. It will be great to hear what other schools are doing across the state!

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  107. Hello, my name is Jill. I teach at St Joseph's in Corydon, Indiana. I teach pre-k. My school is hoping to implement blended learning. We have almost a 1 to 1 ratio of chrome books or IPADs, depending on the grade. I do not think that my class falls into any of these categories. We do mostly whole and small group instruction along with learning through play. We do an online math app called maybe half that allows students to work at their own pace. I had some students who were already working on money and time. I use our center time to do small level based groups. I also use our nap time to do more personalized instruction for individual students. I work in reading with the more advanced students or do RTI with others. I had thought that blended learning was all about individualized learning for the students so they all worked at their own pace. After reading chapter1, it sounds more like accomplishing this by creating a balance between classroom and online work.

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  108. Tammy Farlow; Southwood Jr. Sr. High School, MSD Wabash Co., Wabash, Indiana; teacher of 8th grade math, 8th grade STEM; 7th grade Exploring World Languages, high school Spanish.

    The models of blended learning revealed in chapter 1 that most caught my attention were the flex and rotation schools that changed the look of the building design space to account for students who meet with teachers, acting as coaches and consultants. In the flex video clip, one of the administrators pointed out the key to meshing where two generations of thinkers are coming together, regarding students’ interest in using technology: students use THEIR skills to learn the things WE think are important to learn. This is the best blend that can happen. When I saw in the videos, families and students who at their basic raw need just want an education that works for their children, I see how judgmental I have been of alternative types of schools. One last phrase that moved me was the Carpe Diem video that expresses how I can participate in the ‘education break-through’: that is the point, to break through to students who are struggling with how we are currently presenting education.

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  109. Hello! I am Carla Shaheen, a 4th grade Teacher at Oak View Elementary (Northwest Allen County Schools). I am going into my third year of teaching and I am excited about the possibilities that are up-and-coming with technology. At the elementary level, we are going 1:1 this year districtwide. I have been very interested in blending learning ideas this past year, knowing that next year I will have a great opportunity to change my role in the classroom. I have done the traditional station rotation with Math and Reading, but my use of technology has allowed my lessons to become "technology rich." I have learned this is different than blended learning. We use the SAMR model also and my goal is to continue to push myself to not just incorporating technology, but allowing it to become the engine of student output that might not have been achieved using traditional ways. I am also extremely interested in the flipped method for my classroom (particularly in Math). I'm excited to hear how other elementary teachers are using blended learning. My mind was blown to learn about the Teach to One program. That is the ultimate individual customization tool! Something like this (and blended learning in general) is life changing for any student that is not your grade level norm. There are endless possibilities with technology that will change education as we know it, and I think it will create an engaging learning platform for EVERY student. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this book and chatting with everyone!

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