Monday, June 19, 2017

Blended Week Three: Start with the Rallying Cry

What do you see as a possible rallying cry in your school or district to implement blended learning? Is there a problem that needs to be solved, have you discussed a goal that you'd like to accomplish, or are there areas of nonconsumption?

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Next week we will read and discuss chapter 4, "Organize to Innovate."

217 comments:

  1. Even though my district is close to 1:1 K-12, I don't think we clearly stated a SMART goal before we went in that direction. I know we want to boost student achievement student through personalization and provide access to other courses, but we don't a have a specific plan in place. This would be our district's rally cry. As a Title I teacher, I was intrigued by the section where the one district used it for their RtI. The regular classroom wasn't meeting their needs. These are the students who really could boost student achievement with a blended learning environment with a focused goal. This would my school's rally cry.

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    1. I am nodding to each part of what you are saying! I think that we understood as a district the impending need of the technology as a means to carry our content, but I don't think that we had a specific goal in mind at the time other than providing different options for expression, engagement, or representation. While these goals are certainly worthwhile and have benefited our students in a lot of ways, I think that it would even still be prudent to take a look at what we hope to have administrators, teachers, and students accomplish as a result of the available innovations.

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    2. I agree with what you wrote about the RTI. I think that sometimes a different approach will help our students learn better. I love that you made this your school's rally cry.

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    3. I would absolutely agree that our school corporation has not determined a specific goal in mind when providing the different technologies to staff and students. We have done the "layer on layer" of technology with no specific "SMART" outcome. I absolutely think this must be a priority for our corporation not only for the core content but also for nonconsumption. We really would need administrators on board and lots of professional development for staff in order to create such an effective blended learning environment.

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  2. Reading that the most common mistake was having an appetite for dazzling technology instead of an interest in the relief it might bring to a frustrating problem really stood out to me. About a year ago, our school jumped into several programs and apps all at the same time. There were so many going on and not enough time to really work on any of them in depth. Our students were only able to skim the surface of them. It was overwhelming and chaotic. Our school realized this and we our now just focusing on about 3 or 4 programs/apps. We learned that we need to utilize a few apps and not so many at one time. It also would have been nice if they would have offered professional development opportunities and get training on what the apps offer. I also have noticed that our school will buy too much at one time and we don't even use all of it a lot of times. They also get rid of some things that still work! My computers/printer were still working great and when I came in one day they had taken the computers out!
    I also liked the part in this chapter where Larry Cuban reported that computers had little or no impact on the way students learned. Teachers (that's us!:)) delivered the instruction. Students used the computers for word processing, to search the Internet for research papers, and play drill-and-kill games. This is exactly what our kids use their devices for a lot of times! Technology should be a tool used in the learning process.
    We use the RTI method to provide assistance to our students who are having difficulty learning. We set goals a lot like FirstLine Schools. Goal 1: to raise student Star/Dibels scores and Goal 2: by using Title 1 assistance. After this, BURST also may be added as well. Also when identifying core opportunities, the example of addressing needs of kindergarteners and transfer students entering the district with wide disparities in reading skills stood out to me since I teach first grade. This is a huge issue right now in our school. We have so many coming in that are struggling with reading skills. Our school just set up a Transition K-1 class to see if it will help this issue. So far there have been great results.
    I also like the part where it talks about how leaders should pursue both core and nonconsumption opportunities as they embark on blended learning. I like how solving nonconsumption problems gives students more available learning opportunities and how it can offer more convenient ways on how schools work. At the end of this chapter, it was interesting to read that in helping the team that is handling the threat, they need to redefine it as an opportunity with limitless potential. Everything is a learning experience and it is good to look for the best in each situation.

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    1. I teach pre-k at a church and we don't use technology except what we as teachers bring into the classroom. It is just a 2 1/2 hour day for these kiddos but on our surveys a lot of parents mentioned that they wanted more technology in the classroom. We are getting smart tv's in December. I'm not sure if parents requesting technology would be a rally cry. I don't think it's needed except maybe to prepare them more for the technology in elementary school. And a smart tv is definitely not going to allow me to blend at all. It is just going to be a dazzling piece that I can enhance our lessons with.

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    2. The implementation of technology dos and don'ts seems to be a common theme! I think this chapter did an interesting job at identifying that technology is there to amplify not "dazzle" students and parents. We got stuck in textbook adoption where we were highly encouraged to look at books with an Ebook feature or online features that would give access to quiz, videos, literature, teacher calendar and assignments. The issue came down though to was the textbook good for the students and the answer is not entirely and the technology features have had so many issues with loading and saving information that most teachers have stopped using it all together. As you said...focus on a few things that are helpful to kids which in fact may come from a few different sources..not a textbook package!

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  3. # 1 Any classroom dependent upon technology for its instruction/enrichment (blended or one-to-one) is only as successful as the competency level of the technology support team behind it. We are one-to-one at our high school, and our tech department is busy every single second. They are AWESOME - quick to respond, capable at diagnosing and fixing....I am rarely delayed in my classroom instruction (or even more rarely must I change plans) because of technology issues.

    # 2 However, even in light of our great tech guys, it is CONSTANTLY an issue with students and their computers: no charge; left at home; dropped and ruined screen; lost charging cable; on and on and on. In addition, without programs that allow the teacher to "see" all screens at once (iTalk, etc), it is very difficult to monitor each student for his focus and staying on task. Kids are adept at switching screens at a nanosecond's notice. They can breach any firewall and out smart any security device going. The nuts-and-bolts of technology are often so bothersome that the technology loses its efficiency.

    # 3 On page 98, I LOVE the caution to formulate SMART GOALS before choosing blended learning or a particular model/curriculum. This is in keeping with the notion of deciding what standard one wants students to master and THEN choosing texts that will facilitate that instruction (as opposed to just "loving" a particular text and trying to find ways to smash it in).

    # 4 When I think of goals I might choose for my corporation and student achievement, all of them could be facilitated through methods other than blended learning: student/teacher ratio; longer class periods or block scheduling; fewer testing days; an extra (required) "reading" class for 9th and 10th graders. The increased capabilities for project based learning was about the only goal I would have that would REALLY benefit from a blended learning situation.

    # 5 It was suggested that software companies/computer companies' practices of advertising, offering grants, and targeting school systems as potential customers has lead to some of the "computer cramming" that occurs today in our schools. I believe this to be true. However, I also expect that as blended learning becomes more and more "advertised" we will see curriculum companies and blended school "experts" advertising, offering grants/services, and targeting the school systems as potential customers. I image each will offer differing "bells and whistles" that will appeal to students and teachers while managing to offer cheaper rates, discounted services and other financial boons that will appeal to school boards and departments of education. The cyber competition will be no different, but the product will change.

    # 6 The Video # 15: That wasn't blended learning as defined within this text. There was a dedicated teacher leading instruction to a small group of students. Interaction occurred via the computer, but the teacher was directly involved in direct instruction through the computer/texts/discussion. It was still teacher directed. The teacher was leading text based discussion questions. The teacher was monitoring student tasks and projects. It was NOT on-line sources providing the directing instruction and then students coming together with a teacher for further investigation/projects/applications. It looked great, but it didn't seem to me to be pure blended learning.

    # 7 Threats vs Opportunities I loved it!

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    1. I really love your comments about the down side of one to one computers. Our corporation is very urban and I have a hard enough time getting them to return their reading books to go on the next day. I envision, if these are sent home, many of your concerns besides possible stealing from students by neighborhood thieves.

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    2. I really like your #2 statement. The students have much more knowledge about technology than the teachers and often make the excuses! #7 threat vs opportunity was really on point in the way we view them..always try to look for the positive!

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    3. We have block scheduling and it really is helpful for doing station rotation and creating an opportunity for the teacher to see each group during the period!

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    4. We are a K-12 1:1 district. I echo your comments on #1 and #2. I agree with comment #3, and I wish I could clearly define what if/any SMART goal was at the onset of our 1:1 initiative. The position seems to be changing, and I think if we had a clearly defined goal for long-term teachers and new teachers/administrators, conversations and implementation of ideas would be easier.

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  4. After reading Chapter 3, I immediately found the Harvard Business Review article by Gilbert and Bower, number 18 on the notes index and read it! These gentlemen quote Mark Twain in their discussion stating, “Every once in a while one stumbles across a good idea, but with any luck you’ll right yourself and pass it by.” The definitive sarcasm used by both the Harvard authors and Twain made me smile. We discuss the importance of teaching children about overcoming failures; however, we turn to each other in P.D. and say why are we continually “changing” our approach to education. We often see this as futile and a waste of time. When I started reading this chapter I immediately wrote down the 4 electronic tools that I have learned and used in my classroom in the last 5 years: Haiku web page maker, My Big Campus, Moodle, and Canvas. I then read the statement on page 96, “ . . . computers overall have had little effect on how teachers teach and students learn.” I completely disagree with this statement, after reflecting on Twain’s quote. I see this “stumbling” as a chance to reassess and not pass by the opportunities that are presented to us as educators. I pushed myself through the derogatory language presented in this chapter about “replacing the factory model” (Horn and Staker 103 and 107) and attempted to focus on the idea of reframing and goal setting. From year to year, there is always the chance for stumbling, but instead of worrying about the scuffs on the knees and always righting oneself – think about the vantage point from this new perspective. Instead of thinking about the limitations and bias in reference to resource management in your organization, look for the positives in a new initiative and how individually we can best create changes in our classroom for a student centered system and continue the conversations.

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    1. https://mail.nacs.k12.in.us/owa/redir.aspx?C=wrkVXRufUyg7mtTaskGsAKZKc2Dt2evewoBZ7c3JvV8VbLqVD7fUCA..&URL=https%3a%2f%2fhbr.org%2f2002%2f05%2fdisruptive-change-when-trying-harder-is-part-of-the-problem

      Here is the URL link to Gilbert and Bower's article.

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    2. Your experience with Moodle likely puts your class at the cutting edge. I have not spent as much time as I would like learning and exploring it, but I feel like it is the tool I need to bring targeted, self-paced instruction to my students.

      For many classrooms, however, I feel the authors are right: many teachers are still lecturing at the front of the room; expecting students to sit quietly, pay attention, and take notes; and assigning 50 homework problems a night. The incorporation of technology consists of projecting notes using PowerPoint, showing a video or working out an example on the SmartBoard, or scheduling a lab day to research or play games. Students are given Khan Academy if they get stuck, and there is a class website that is mostly static not just through the year, but year to year. Until we move beyond technology add-ons, we are facing major obstacles to blended learning.

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    3. I spent many hours in professional development learning Moodle for my classes. I used it for many years and felt it was a great learning tools for students. In April 2017, it was banished from our school as a resource. We now have Canvas available as a online tool. I like Canvas but it takes hours to set up assignments, tests, projects for each class.

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    4. I think I agree with your stance on “ . . . computers overall have had little effect on how teachers teach and students learn.” Computers has completely changed everything about how we consume information. Its changed teachers, but not in way that really enhances their teaching. They look up content on YouTube or TeacherTube or some other webpage that makes things easier. Why don't we allow our kids the same option? Why do we still try to lecture at them? How can we become better teachers who better engage our learners with these options at our fingertips?

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    5. I too agree with what you have said about computers having little effect on how teachers teach... Just like above, we have been a 1:1 school for quite sometime, but teachers are still lecturing, students note taking, and homework being assigned. Even last year, when we got new math books, we signed up for the "computer" book and yes we are able to use the computer to assign homework and can modify it, but what is the difference between a book and this? Yes, it does grade it for you, but what if the student doesn't understand, are you really looking at the computer answers the students put on the computer?

      I agree with Brandon too. I, myself, have looked up lesson plans and ideas to help me prepare. Why can't students use the computer to help them learn, find answers, and research?

      I agree with Laura also. I am a user of Canvas, and love it, but it does take a lot of work to set things up, and even when grading a test... If the students don't spell words correctly or write a sentence the way you did, you have to go back and regrade the assignment/test.
      I agree, we are still in the stumbling, but we always have a chance to learn new things. Aren't we life long learners ourselves???

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    6. I too had a hard time disagreed with the authors' quote about "computers overall have had little effect on how teachers teach and students learn.” With our district's use of Canvas, I have seen many of our teachers leverage Canvas' ability to deliver effective and timely feedback to their students. Going 1:1 with Canvas and Google Apps for Education has transformed their instructional practices and demonstrated positive growth in their students. Many have stated that their students write more often, and the quality of their writing is improved compared to years past. We also have teachers who will experiment with Mastery Paths in Canvas so that they can better differentiate/personalize instruction for students. For many, it has reinvigorated their careers.

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    7. We have used Moodle...then switched to My Big Campus....then switched to Google Classroom....another example of a situation where change is put into effect right as we are becoming proficient with a program...Some are using the lesson/planning/connection component that is part of our grading program. Right now, I get the best results emailing with students and sharing documents. Fewer steps.

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  5. There are several different rallying cries that have led to blended learning in our schools--lowering dropout rates and helping students recover credits led to flex blend learning; adding more course options and scheduling flexibility led to la carte blend learning; transformative learning opportunities made possible by the integration of meaningful technology into the classroom led to more teachers using the flipped classroom and station models of blended learning.

    Our district tries to be meaningful with technology integration. Before going 1:1, with the support of an IDOE Innovation Planning Grant, we participated in professional development opportunities and site visits that explored innovation in the classroom, including digital learning and integration best practices. We did a digital learning audited; we reviewed our infrastructure. This allowed us to create a strategic digital learning plan (not dissimilar from the SMART goals model) to ensure the meaningful integration of technology into our classrooms. The blended learning model is a key component of this meaningful integration, especially as we try to move up the SAMR model towards more transformative learning experiences.

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    1. I think that with any new technology, great PD can make the difference between a successful implementation and a poor one. Last year, our district started using Canvas, but before Canvas was officially rolled out to teachers, we had the opportunity for extensive summer PD with the LMS and then as the school year progressed, we had additional PD that was individualized and based on the level of the teachers, and what they wanted to learn about the system. The roll out of Canvas was slow, and
      expectations for teachers were staggered throughout the year. This allowed all of us to progress at our own rate while at the same time holding us to district expectations. I believe that this process allowed for a mostly seamless integration of Canvas into our classrooms.
      I hope that as a new year starts, that we will continue to have meaningful PD that is targeted to individual teacher's needs. The whole process was pretty good example of blended learning for us adults. Now we have to be able to provide the same opportunities for our own students.

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  6. I think having a direct problem (that isn't just that we need our students to have technology readily available) to focus on is essential. Without it, as the book stated, we just have another piece of technology. I honestly don't know if my school had a rallying cry in mind when we went 1:1 last year. As far as I know, I believe we were just concentrating on getting that technology in the student's hand. I may be wrong on this-I'd like to ask my leaders. I do know that we had extensive PD in technological integration and best practices but I am not sure if there was that single unifying goal. I don't necessarily think that hurt us but I can definitely see some changes that already need to happen next year in order to keep the focus off the technology and on the goal.

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    1. Sounds like my district is in a similar position as yours in that it is still trying to get enough computers for our students. I believe a goal is evolving as more technology is being purchased.

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    2. We do not have computers for every student. We share a computer cart with 2 other classes. Many times my students only have access to the computers twice a week. One time is specials class and they only play games. The other time is in my classroom but are mostly used for assessment. I would like to see this change.

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  7. I really liked how the author's point at first identifying a problem before bringing technology in....beginning with a defined problem so students, teachers, parents all understand the purpose of the technology and the purpose of blended learning.

    For my school,I think our defining problem and ultimate goals would be to boost student achievement and to provide access to out of reach courses and opportunities.

    I also really like the idea of creating a SMART goal before implementing blended learning....what are we trying to achieve through blended learning? How will we know if we are successful?

    Finally, the author makes a great point..."The most common mistake schools make with technology is to fall in love with the technology itself. This leads to cramming-the layering of technology on top of the existing model in a way that adds costs but does not improve results." Defining the problem and laying out a plan are key so this does not happen.

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    1. I also very much appreciated how the author addressed some schools bringing in technology without clearly defining their goals. Technology for the sake of technology often makes a very expensive paperweight.

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    2. I agree with the identifying the problem before we bring in technology. As I read I could see that many schools use technology on top of their day-to-day instruction...maybe in effort to bring technology to the table...but not realizing we are bombarding teachers and students with more...

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    3. I agree with the point of identifying a problem is vital. Without a clear goal/problem to solve, just investing in technology to say we use is defeats the whole concept of blended learning!

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  8. Let me share a story. I know of a young man who is in High School in a small rural high school. The district is relatively poor. Lot's of kids on free and reduced lunch. His parents do not have a home computer and no wifi. Cannot afford them. When they have to use the internet or get emails, they go to the local public library. they have jobs which do not require or provide computers or internet access so they don't use it. They young man started to fall behind because more and more students in his classes were required to use technology. While in school he was Okay but was having trouble getting homework completed without tech at home. The school system was trying to implement more technology because they understood how it boosted student achievement etc. But some of the students just did not have access and or the skills to achieve in the system. The young man I am talking about eventually became frustrated, his grades dropped and he dropped out. At some point the school corporation understood the need to get some sort of technology into the hands of the students. The rallying cry went out. The district raised funds to place an Ipad into the hands of each student in the district starting in the 7th grade. Eventually, they got funds to provide Ipads to 6th graders and increased the amount of computers in elementary classrooms. the verdict is still out as to whether students achievement has improved, but students do seem to be succeeding. the goal of using blended learning in the school district has been achieved. Now comes the measurables. So far the students of the corporation seem to be succeeding.
    Still the corporation was able to define their goals against the initial backdrop of failure. After some initial failure, the impact of blended learning was maximized. Support and resources were secured. Disruptive innovation was achieved. technology is in the hands of more and more students. They like it and are doing well.

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    1. So our desire to force more tech on some students has caused the opposite effect of what we want--some have dropped out. I GET their frustration. We are NOT providing resources to every student, and we are NOT teaching tech skills with adequate depth, and teachers do NOT have the time required to right those wrongs. Of course, those who may drop out might have done so anyway--and for many reasons, but it just hurts my soul that this would happen at all. I hope you find measurable success with your school's efforts. I will say that I am not a fan of IPads, and do know of one school that implemented them and then reversed the decision quickly. They just lack a lot of features that older students need.

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    2. That makes me both sad and angry that the young man dropped out of school because of technology. It is the responsibility of the school and instructor to provide students the opportunity to do the assignment and learn the content. If resources are not available at home could alternative assignments be given? Open lab opportunities provided? My heart goes out to that young man.

      I teach a couple of PLTW courses which require students to use specific computer software. If students are not able to complete the work in class it is considered homework. For students who are unable to download the free software on home computers (it's not very MAC friendly and has massive storage requirements) I provided opportunities for students to come in before or after school to complete their assignments. Grades should reflect what a student knows. I would not be able to properly assess their knowledge if the didn't have the opportunity to finish their work.

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    3. WOW, I can't believe the school system failed him. I agree with Laura Erli.... why didn't his teachers take note of his failing grades, etc and find out why. Why did they not offer him time to come into school and work on his assignments?
      Our school is 1:1 and also a rural school. I know many of our student's don't have internet at home. I allow my students to come in early or stay after school if they need to do their work. I also offer up any half hour of my class time for them to come in.

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  9. Our school is 1:1, yet there are still many gaps in both educators and students using the technology properly. I know I often find it hard to adequately provide my students with avenues to utilize technology to help them learn at their own pace and let it be self-driven. I have felt in the past (and somewhat still do) feel that is as classroom teachers need more education and training in ways that are thought provoking and can help out students become better students by using the technokogy. Many educators are older and didn't have much, if any technology. So it's hard to envision and fear Learning with technology always in the picture. However, I do feel that we all adapt and grow as educators to deliver great material to our students via technology. We may be just two steps behind more often than not. So if like to see more training. We all want to be better educators and we need some help from those that are more tech-minded.

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    1. At the opposite end of the spectrum I have seen teachers obsessed with the technology and the teaching is more about what the device or software can do than the intended curriculum. There needs to be a balance.
      Just like you said, teacher training can help with this.

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    2. YES! There definitely needs to be that balance!!! I have also seen both ends of the spectrum. Technology for technology sake means nothing. It has to be meaningful in every aspect!

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    3. Our classroom teachers need more education and training to be more confident in utilizing the technology and to be able to provide the right environment for the students to use this tool for learning at his/her own pace. The training needs to be more focused and in depth to ensure the educators feel more at ease in using this wonderful tool.

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    4. For technology to be successful, both teachers and students have to be trained, which I know has caused concern in my school due to the time needed to teach the students. I think it is imperative, though, that this time is spent to ensure the students know what to do with the technology. However, rightfully so, our teachers are concerned with taking the time away from their curriculum. It is a very tight line to balance.

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  10. This chapter helped to alleviate some of the panic I felt last week about computer programs taking over my job (phew!). As Jill Wagler pointed out in her response earlier this morning in her discussion of the chapter's ideas, teachers still deliver the instruction. My school corporation has been a part of the 1:1 initiative for the past 6 years. Kids were given devices, teachers were told to have the kids use the devices... and that was about it. We did have pd opportunities; however, we were given ideas on how to use the devices, not told how to use the devices. That lead to the great divide: some teachers went all in with websites, apps, etc., some balked and wouldn't use them, and some used
    the devices as word processors. I've heard from secondary educators that it is a struggle when kids enter the middle school as their familiarity with programs/apps run the gamete of barely knowing word processing and typing skills to knowing more than some of the teachers. That is a problem. So here we are with our technology-rich environment, but there is not a focus for use.

    I have read multiple times throughout the book that disruptive instruction will most likely occur in secondary education, while perhaps not so much in elementary schools. That said, I feel it is important to think about the application and usage to address a problem with a "rallying cry".

    1. Basic reading skills that develop in grades K-2, that then lead to students taking IREAD in grade 3. Our school has seen a decline in these skills as evidenced by scores in IREAD over the last 5 years. The skills are not necessarily standards for instruction in 3rd grade, but our 3rd grade teachers feel that there needs to be some sort of instruction/remediation that is not allowed time in their curriculum. A blended learning approach could a) provide reviews of these skills allowing teachers to evaluate areas of need, b) allow teachers to work more diligently with students who are at risk with their reading skills, c) blended learning could offer more opportunities for enrichment for students whose skills exceed expectations for IREAD testing.

    2. Our students identified as HAGT could benefit greatly from a nonconsumption menu. Those students who need more learning opportunities could certainly gain more through an a la cart menu in language studies, arts, science, etc. that as an elementary school we cannot offer. Most students identified for the HAGT program could choose an area of interest and further their knowledge.
    Our school certainly needs to think about SMART goals and a "rallying cry" to ensure that the technology is enhancing education, rather than acting as a tool that replaces teaching.

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    1. I love your idea of using the technology to aid in practicing skills to go along with IREAD and would greatly benefit students as the teacher is able to continue with third Graf ematerial, but can also have those conversations and interactions with students as she evaluates the data from this technology to help with these previously taught skills.

      I also agree with having blended learning help our gifted students as well to continue their studies with opportunities online that may not be offered in person.

      Great ideas!

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    2. I also agree with you that technology should work to enhance education. It is important to use blended learning to help all students grow whether it is our gifted students and/or learning disabled students!

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  11. What do you see as a possible rallying cry in your school or district to implement blended learning? Is there a problem that needs to be solved, have you discussed a goal that you'd like to accomplish, or are there areas of nonconsumption?

    As I think about my own school, the problem that I see, and I think it's one that many schools are facing, is that we have more and more demands yet our resources are being reduced. We want to give students a lot of choices with their class selection, particularly with electives, but we still have to fulfill our basic requirements.

    I see the use of technology/blended learning come into play with certain advanced placement courses that we don't currently offer. Or, if a student has a real desire to take an elective or other course during their high school career and can not fit a certain required course, we have been flexible and allowed them to take that required course online.

    On another note, I liked what the authors wrote in the section titled "The Alternative to Cramming." They state, "The problem or goal must instead be rooted in improving educational effectiveness--by such means as boosting student outcomes or opportunities, doing more with less, or improving the ability of teachers to do their jobs" (p. 98). We can implement technology for technology's sake. We have to focus on the pedagogy and let technology be one of the tools we improve our pedagogy. During our early years of 1:1 implementation, we talked a lot about the SAMR Model of technology integration. That model really helped guide us in the early stages. It wouldn't be a bad idea to go back and "rediscover" it.

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    1. I agree. It seems like the resources in our corporation also are going down while the demand is going up on what I am to do. I believe the programs like STEM and even the blended classrooms are great ideas when supported by the proper resources. I read books like this and feel that often the corporations that see success with programs like this are often the larger corps that have "lots" of money. I feel often times the corps like mine are over looked and just expected to jump in to programs like this.

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  12. Our rallying cry should be effective differentiation across the spectrum and across the curriculum. As a teacher of high ability students, I have heard and seen the ways teachers approach the student who finishes early. Many times, the answer is just "here's another worksheet" or "play that game on the computer." The same seems to hold true for students in remediation. Well-planned and adaptive blended learning can instruct, remediate, challenge, and address every student's learning where she is on that day.

    Our school has had a lot of success in recent years because of a school-wide focus on using data to target instruction. If we added adaptive blended learning to that initiative, I feel our students could grow at their own paces and possibly exceed the expectations we have.

    The challenge, of course, is finding or creating appropriate blended resources that fit the curriculum. Since we are moving 1:1 over the next school year, I hope this book touches on curriculum resources soon so I can thoroughly research what is out there or spend time learning how to create what I need.

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    1. I love your rallying call. Effective differentiation should be a goal of every school. Are playing a game on line or doing yet another worksheet effective? Possibly, but most likely not. This is where the blended opportunities come in to play. You hit the nail on the head hear Pam.

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    2. Effective differentiation! I love this as well!

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    3. I also love the idea of effective differentiation! Students are all at different levels, but as teachers I think we often find ourselves teaching to the middle while hoping that the high ability students aren't bored and that the low-end students can keep up. Each student is an individual, and I think that effective blended learning can be used to teach each student at a pace that works for them.

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    4. Our district is utilizing Data Wise this year to really dig into our data this year to build plans to address our problems. I, too, hope to add blended learning in our plans once we determine what problem we need to solve.

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  13. This chapter was interesting to me as we prepare to go 1:1 next year in our building. The upper grades have already moved in this direction to help with student achievement and having technology available for each child. As an elementary teacher who teaches all of the subject content during the day, I’m still nervous how technology is going to play a bigger role in my classroom from what I’m doing now. As a building, we plan to come together and decide what our expectations will be. Some teachers have already done well with helping the other teachers who need help with ideas. This new approach will involve working together as a building. We need to make sure we have our SMART goal in place though and a proper plan.

    After reading the part where Larry Cuban reported that computers had little or no impact on the way students learned stuck out to me. Teachers were the ones who delivered the instruction. Students still used the computers, but the teachers were the main source for learning. Technology was more of a tool being used. I hope my role as an educator isn’t lost due to technology.I feel like this may be how it starts in my room. We have had trainings in place for what it could look like at the elementary level, but I don’t feel like I will get a grasp for what it is going to be like until I’m actually using more technology in my room. I’m also wondering how I will be able to monitor my second graders when everyone is on a device. It is easier when they have a book in front of them to monitor, but I will also learn how to monitor when everyone is behind a device.

    My hope is that the technology will be used for what it is intended to be used for and that we have a specific plan. The learning should be meaningful and useful. I also hope that we take things slow, so we can understand what it is supposed to look like instead of having to learn many things at one time. If we have too many things thrown at us at once, we might lose sight of what the main goal should be and it could fail. I’m staying optimistic as we move in this direction.

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    1. Good for you, Kelly. I like your realistic expectations AND enthusiasm. I think you're exactly right about needing to use the technology in the room yourself before you fully understand how it will impact you and your students. My district has been 1:1 for about five years now, and sometimes the learning curve has been steep; I have dabbled in some different approaches but am still not using technology as effectively as I think I could. I do know this, though--teachers in your building are the ones who will figure out what works best and how to use it effectively. I never would have gotten through these years without at lot of consultation with others on my staff. Best of luck to you as you experience this sustained or disruptive innovation. 🌞

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  14. I believe that my school corporation has "fallen in love with the technology" Throughout the course of this past school year we have been talking about implementing technology and going 1 to 1. All the conversations that I have been apart of have centered around the technology.

    I agree that the corporation or school should have SMART Goals set in place before implementing technology. If not the technology becomes nothing more that a book end or prop in the classroom similar to the white board story in the book. I also think that everyone in the school should be included in setting these SMART Goals and know what they are. Letting the communication airways become closed or one sided does not help anyone.

    I liked in the chapter that it talked about solving problems that already exist and the example of the school that took over the online learning by creating their own "online learning school" through the corporation. That is a high concern of my school because we lose students to online schooling and that could be a fix.

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  15. I connected with this chapter--schools have no choice but to consider technology. My school has made the mistake of "jumping in" without a clear plan in place.This resulted in computers having little impact on learning but a lot of frustration with students and teachers. In my classroom, computers are limited (not one-on-one) which extensively limits my ability to use them in a successful way. Currently I use as a station which takes a whole week for each student to use.

    The SMART objectives presented is a good guideline that I could utilize in my classroom. These goals would also make a sound start for a school wide technology plan. I think we are currently utilizing what we have but not as best as we could. Since it is impossible to start again, this plan would at least be more productive. The SMART content as well as the "opportunities" section gave good insight on how to begin.

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    1. I agree with you that I think utilizing SMART goals when identifying needs will be effective! It will help with a plan on how to implement blended learning.

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    2. Debbie

      I use SMART goals for classroom projects in all my classes. The students have to need to identify the problem to solve before they can begin their assignment.
      Specific
      Measurable
      Achievable
      Relistic
      Timely

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  16. My school is guilty of the most common mistake... implementing a 1:1 program without clear goals for strategic use. In the fall, we will place computers into the hands of all students in grades 7-12. Teachers are not prepared for this. There has been little/no instruction regarding effective use of technology in the classroom. We've taught teachers how to use different apps and introduced them to fun tools, but the computers will simply be an expensive notebook if we don't change our perceptions and mindsets on what good teaching looks like. My building if full of veteran teachers who have very traditional views on education. Compliance in the classroom and consumption of information are the primary focus for the majority of our teachers. Teachers are still delivering instruction, and computers will not be effective until that changes. To compound the problem, our test scores and graduation rates are good (usually the best in the county). Most of our teachers do not see a need for change, especially the implementation of computers.

    The "rallying cry" in my school will have to start where there is a NEED for something different - credit recovery and the offering of classes that we are not able to accommodate due to small staff size. In the general ed classroom, a small group of teachers who strongly believe in the shift towards student-centered classrooms will lead the charge. I have the sinking feeling that it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better, but I ultimately believe that my colleagues will have to change their practices as we work to create students who are college and career ready.

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    1. When we first implemented our 1:1 initiative, something that was not done well in every classroom was teaching the expectations for use and care of their devices. Some students were handed their devices and had to sign a page detailing expectations (along with their parents). Of course, several did not read and/or understand what they were signing, However many were not taught proper "netiquette" (online etiquette) and basic expectations for use of school devices. We, too, had issues with students using computers for non-educational purposes. My suggestion would be to first teach the kids proper use and how to be good online citizens. BrainPop has some good videos. Then you can work on utilizing your devices effectively.

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  17. We fell into the "technology first" trap but in our defense, the true meaning and potential of blended learning was not on our radar. Now that I have the true definition and a better understanding of its disruptive potential, I believe our school can make that shift to disruptive innovation. At least we have the devices and all have been trained on the nuts and bolts. Now we can focus on setting our "aspirational goals." After one year of 1:1, the staff realizes that we did not effectively alter the way we teach. Now it is time to study how true blended learning can make the difference in the success of our students and our staff.
    The section on non-consumption opportunities made me realize this may be our best selling point. With our challenging population, that is where we may have the greatest impact. With effective data collection on our students, we may see the benefits of blended learning with the students that could benefit the most.
    We have much to do but this book and the discussion have provided sound guidance.

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    1. Mark, I like your comment "With effective data collection on our students, we may see the benefits of blended learning with the students that could benefit the most." Too many times we've collected data on students and then do nothing with it or get the data too late in the year to make much of an impact. I too can see where we could benefit students by combining collected data with blended learning so that we can differentiate learning for the best outcome for students. This is what excites me to see the growth of students, especially those who are stuck because they have missed some vital fundamental learning along the way.

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    2. I also think that a lot of schools focused on getting the tech in the class and what to do with it after the fact.

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  18. This chapter had me thinking about what Carmel's rally call could be. We already offer credit recovery programs. The senior transition program offers seniors with additional learning and internship opportunities outside of the school. J.E.L. offers career skills to students who are focused on specific job areas like automotive body repair or cosmetology. So what are the areas of Nonconsumption? Then I saw the part about a student learning Swahili. Amazing! As many opportunities as Carmel offers there are still some that have not been met.

    We have all been in situations where we have been seduced by the technology. But without proper professional development we don't know what to do with it. Therefore, it results in what this book calls "Cramming". It is just another layer of noise in an already overwhelming classroom. Page 100 comments about one schools success in developing their own on-line A La Carte curriculum with the help of professional development for their teachers. This is still going to be the key.

    I honestly believe that my school is already on-board with blended education. The end of the chapter sounded a bit manipulative to me. Telling us to first frame the rally call as a threat, then re-state it as an opportunity because "threat rigidity" sets in. I find that I am more responsive to the idea of an opportunity rather than threats. Often threats sound like paranoid ranting to me. This may not be the case with everyone else. If blended learning is really a realistic opportunity for your school stating it as such should be enough, should it not?

    The last part of the question stated for this week is what areas do I see as nonconsumption that we could make a goal to provide? Well, thanks to the example in the book, I believe that there are many languages that could be made available in addition to the several our amazing foreign language department already offers. In my area of Engineering and Technology I think it would be nice to see an automotive electronics course, advanced civil engineering, construction management, and materials testing within the manufacturing industry. I am sure there are numerous other opportunities out there, but we should start somewhere.

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    1. Laura
      I also teach at Carmel High School in the Business Department. Because of the senior transition program, our department has seen a drop in number of students for next school year. I also taught the Work Based Learning Business Cooperative Experiences class where students have early release last period of the day. The students leave to go to work in the community. This class was amazing for students to focus on their chosen career cluster. Unfortunately, this class has been cut because of low enrollment.

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    2. I agree with the "manipulative" way that sounds..threat then opportunity. Not sure the authors meant it that way but I also felt a bit uneasy about that reverse psychology of sorts! I do like the way we could distinguish these new methods as an opportunity and not a threat...but an opportunity that should be taken because it is good for kids. Maybe the authors were thinking that to "own" these new methods as a threat to the education of kids would make teachers more apt to try them and not put them in the basket of "what we are doing now".

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  19. Chapter three. I think it is pivotal to define a problem and set a goal, if this isn't done then what direction are we going? I think this could be done at all levels in a corporation. After reading this type of professional book I focus on what I can do. I can say it SMART for my classroom pg 102. I started with a business degree and I see where concepts in running a business are infiltrating into education. Schools provide a service and there is competition, because of voucher programs, so we must provide the best product for our communities. I live in a rural community and I would love to see local schools in a 30 mile radius work together and find those nonconsumption opportunities. Small town relationships with big city opportunities.

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  20. After reading this chapter, I feel an important point to remember is how to maximize the impact of blended learning. I believe a huge goal of our schools is to improve student achievement and increase students' independence and responsibility. It is essential to identify the goals to achieve and/or the problem to solve in order to implement blended learning in the best way to meet the needs of the students. Every school must be able to identify their needs in order to support their reasoning for blended learning. I believe it makes sense to use SMART goals when leaders look at a specific plan for their school. This process will help make the plan more individualized for the school. I am confident using SMART goals will be effective because SMART goals are effective when creating goals for my students with IEPS. This process will help make the plan more individualized for the school just as when creating IEP goals it is more individualized for each student.
    The authors state on page 103, "Online learning is disrupting America's classrooms, particularly at middle and high school levels." I feel this really shows that online learning is powerful, and it is not going to disappear in schools. It is our job to figure out the best practical way to use it for our students in order to meet the goals of improving student achievement as well as creating more student independence and responsibility.

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  21. Since my school is already 1:1, I think we are on track for providing blending learning opportunities. Our nonconsumption opportunities would be related to electives of interest for our diverse community. Perhaps we have globalized students who would want to learn languages to support future job opportunities. Maybe we want to provide some tech school types of training for students who want to become advanced in computer programming, etc. Or maybe our opportunities could be life skills courses in car repair, dental assisting, etc.

    I also think my personal goal would be to provide a more meaningful, tailored instruction and be able to provide valuable and timely feedback to all students. By using this model I can connect science with career fields, local and global problems, and experts in diverse backgrounds. I can also work to let no child fall behind in class or get bored in class, and I think this will further build a respectful relationship with my students (where they know I care). *I also love that absent students could be completing instruction anywhere, as we have athletes, volunteer groups, and other student groups who travel internationally during the school year.

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  22. I really enjoyed this chapter and connected with it. I would not say that my school has stated a problem nor have we created the SMART goals. I don't even think we are in-line with creating a blended learning model...we teach preschool so we would have to incorporate parents to help with this. I thinking go "ala carte" would have to be our direction. Possibly displaying lessons on-line so kiddos who miss can see what they miss or creating a higher level learning model...examples of lessons that go above what we have done...or maybe teaching a second language.

    This chapter struck me most with thinking of my niece. She struggles in typical type of school environment. She is labeled as a senior...however, she will have to do her senior year twice in order to catch up. She is a great example of how doing the same day to day stuff she won't get on track...and I believe she will fall further behind or even drop out. I think for her finding a cyber charter school would be beneficial. I think reading this book will give me some wisdom and guidance in helping her be more successful.

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  23. Chapter 3 had me going to my districts website to read what our technology goals are (we have 4) and our district also had a timeline through 2018 (pretty much on track with what they have planned out). Only 1 goal focuses on student learning with an emphasis on integration and resources to elevate student learning in all academic areas. I really struggle with the resource part of this goal because I feel this is the one area that is going to/is holding our district back on the blended learning. I have found one online source (No Red Ink) that I have used that would fit into a blended learning classroom. When I dug around No Red Ink, the site actually gave suggestions on how to use the site in a station rotation classroom! I have been guilty of linking games to Canvas to reinforce concepts or using just word documents to complete assignments. This is far from a blended learning classroom. I feel I need to reach out to my districts technology curriculum people on resources that I could use as part of the online component of blended learning.

    Page 98 said "the problem or goal must instead be rooted in improving educational effectiveness-by such means as boosting student outcomes or opportunities, doing more with less, or improving the ability of teachers to do their jobs"..the last part is how I view technology. It should help me do my job so I can reach all my students regardless of their level.

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    1. Holly, good idea to check the technology goals of your district. Your comment will prompt me to do the same. It is so easy to give an assignment so students are using the 1:1 laptops because we, as teachers, know we need to use them, but is it an assignment that drives student achievement, or is it just replacing paper and pencil with a computer. We have also used "No Red Ink" because we wanted something measurable we could use with our Remediation students. I, too, wish for more resources.

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    2. Holly . . . the resources is the part I questioned to about our district. I started searching for good resources to use to "teach" students so I can then reinforce and remediate for students in class. I wish that it was easier to locate good, sound materials.

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    3. Amy...I think the No Red Ink is great for the language portion of our classes. I also think with a bit of brainstorming we could figure out how to do the rotation model within our classes and give our students more help on their writing. For my science class, I am really hoping our new techbook gives me options to perhaps do a modified flipping of the classroom.

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  24. The greatest obstacle I see for our school is that there is a major gap in many of our teachers education/skill set regarding technology. We will be 1 to 1 in the fall, so we have spent countless hours learning and preparing for August. However the things we are learning don't just come naturally to individuals that didn't grow up with technology. It can be extremely daunting. Where do you begin? Why? How do you make sure that it's what is best for kids? Once you have an idea, where do you start? There are so many questions that myself and my colleagues have. I grew up with technology from the time I was very little and as it has changed, I have been pretty quick to catch on. I have spent some time with a handful of the teachers in my school trying to help them with different aspects of the technology that we have been shown so far. Something from the chapter that stood out to me, that I think could be really beneficial to these teachers and to myself was the "Say it SMART" acronym. As a teacher, not a school leader, when I think about these SMART goals, I don't think big picture like what is written in this book. I am not thinking about a statement that helps schools focus their blended learning aspirations but instead I see it much more simply. Like I mentioned before, one of the hurdles we have come across is all these questions about what, how, why to implement technology. The SMART acronym really helps to see the answers to these questions more clearly. It really helps to narrow an idea. I have thought a lot about what areas of my teaching and my classroom will have a technology component. In thinking through the ideas that I had previous to reading chapter 3, I am thinking now in more specific terms. There will be lots of challenges in moving to blended learning but this chapter offered several ways to beat those challenges.

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    1. You are absolutely correct about the levels of technological knowledge in the educators. I know just enough to get by whereas my friend is always there to guide me. There are so many different applications out there no one can work on them all and become proficient at all. We are never given enough professional development to become good at each available app.

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    3. Sarah--- You have been wonderful in helping our building and teachers with technology. I totally agree with your post. I'm glad you've been there to help me when needed too. I agree that there will be challenges with blended learning, but with the proper trainings we could make it work.

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    4. We went 1 to 1 last year and the leaders of the school put a major focus on the idea that the computers and such were tools- they do not replace the teacher in the room and a good lesson plan. Some teachers jumped in right away and others it took more time to get the tech part rolling.

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  25. I feel that my school does a great job of offering a diverse sampling of courses for students to take and that there really isn't a class students couldn't find...However, also believe that our counselors and administrators would work with students to find a way for a student to take a course in a "blended" setting if needed. So... I feel that our "rallying cry" would be in part, to allow students to seek out those few courses not offered (again-few). An area that we have been utilizing blended learning for several years is through credit recovery. This is a way that struggling students/student with extended illnesses can find success in courses and still be able to graduate.

    Some other random thoughts from Ch 3-I'm not sure if other schools are similar to mine, but I've had a couple students each year that come to my class with a warning that they are "not allowed computer access" - this means that they've violated our tech guidelines, or hacked into our teacher server and accessed tests (yes, this happens). So... what do we do with these students? Would they not be allowed into a "blended learning" school setting? These and other security issues are addressed on pg 97, but offer no solutions. It also talks about lost/broken technology. I have had a few times where I've been planning a lesson with a technology section and that day (or days) the technology/district server is down! I know to always have a back up plan, but if an entire school relies on just technology, is the entire day lost?

    At the bottom of page 98, I boxed in the quote, "The problem or goal must instead be rooted in the improving educational effectiveness." As I was reading this, I was thinking of a particular observation that I had this past year by an administrator. We were discussing the lesson, and I mentioned that in my planning, I tried to think of a way to include some form of technology-but couldn't think of anything. My admin replied that my lesson was great and they didn't see any way it would be enhanced by technology... my point is, why do we think technology has to always enhance everything? Maybe the larger "rallying cry" is finding passionate teachers who make class exciting! (I was also thinking this as I read the end of pg 105.)

    Pg. 105 discusses how most US schools already have programs in place and are using many innovations that serve students better. If this book is encouraging disruptive measures to already highly successful schools, I'd think that those disruptive measures would have to make some really great big promises to even begin to tempt an already successful school to change and take a risk! Why wouldn't they want to keep doing what's worked for them currently?

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    1. I also wondered what would happen if students were not allowed technology privileges or if the technology was simply not working. I know I have had lessons planned and then no internet for the entire day!

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  26. This chapter indicates that a blended program must begin by identifying a problem that might be solved by implementing blended learning. This leads me back to the chapter in which the administration of a successful school advised that he had no problems, so why rock the boat. Our authors indicated these administrators should disrupt their curriculum delivery anyway. Perhaps the theory is that even well-performing schools have as-yet-identified problems that would be solved through the disruptive nature of blended learning, and that they must not have looked hard enough to identify those problems. I am not really onboard with this theory. We must surely innovate or perish, and technology in the classroom is a basic literacy that students must master. However, it still seems that jumping into every possible option has flustered and frustrated teachers and students alike.

    The chapter begins with technology that fell flat, such as worthless White/Smart boards in Hawaii and students who used IPads as disposable toys instead of dependable tools. Our book indicates that we should not be dazzled by every shiny object we see, but that we should, instead, identify a problem that might be managed with a better digital solution. I have seen plenty of evidence that this is typically not what is happening.

    I just attended a total of 3 days’ professional development, and was introduced to a bare minimum of 50 different online sites or apps. One comes away overwhelmed. I realize I am not expected to become a pro at all these options, yet I am expected to learn many of them, on my own, and constantly entice students with something “new and bigger and better and with more bells and whistles” at an alarming rate. This is not a method to which I subscribe. I find students spend more time learning each teacher’s newest tech option than the curriculum. Every teacher must layer tech skills onto content, but students must still master the academic requirement, and there is already so little time for that.

    The video clip on page 99 showed a teacher or administrator who said they had to jump in and learn as they went. Is it not possible to decide on a few well-researched digital options at the district, school, or department level, give teachers the time and support to learn it well, then use it for greatest effect? I imagine this is too often not an option because tech advances every day, and the time-suck required to master a system will leave schools, teachers, and students behind the times—so we all become mired in the muck of the constant learning curve, and ask students to do what we do—jump in and teach ourselves/themselves. I know this is one way to allow students to find their own limits and ask their own questions, but I see evidence that this chaotic style has created a generation that sometimes does not feel safe making the leap. They’re willing to try and fail, but educators must be there to act as the soft spot for them when they do (being able to fix the tech problem, answer their questions, talk them back from the brink when they are frustrated). I see teachers who often have no answers, and throw up their hands (“Oh well, the testing system kicked you out when you went to lunch? I guess you will just have to start over”). Cognitive disequilibrium that is not eased can result in fear and anxiety. At least teachers should be well-versed enough with the school’s technology to help students through the messes they make.

    I noted that schools in this chapter often made the decision to add blended learning because they were losing students to charter facilities, and therefore losing funding. I understand the concept, but are we acting too fast? Perhaps the role is better suited to smaller charter schools and the students they tend to attract. It would be wonderful for all schools to serve all needs for all students, but is that goal really practical? As stated, some schools are trying to parent, supervise, provide nutrition and adult education, and more. Doing one thing well makes more sense than doing many things poorly.

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  27. Like many others who my district did not start with a SMART goal, much like the Los Angeles Unified School District, my district just gave all students iPads and thought that would help them learn. No training was given to parents, students, or staff of any kind. Students were allow to just about anything they wanted, parents would call the school and complain, which I understand but sadly as a school building we had very little control over what needed to be restricted, even the people who were in control of it had NO CLUE what they were doing. We good a leap before we had any clue what was in front of us.

    This coming year the high school is starting a credit recovery lab, we have had to send students to other school or make them retake the class. This way students can recover more than one credit per semester while still taking other classes. They are also interested in allow adults to take classes at night. We have students who need to work to help their families, there is a hope to help them by allowing them to come to school for less time while taking classes in the lab and still be able to work.

    I think overall most school districts would benefit from the self paced more personalized education. Rather than this is what we are "supposed" to learn this, which leaves everyone behind that is not ready for this weeks lesson and wont get nexts weeks lesson if the don't get this weeks. It's a horrible cycle. No wonder students hate school.

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    1. I do think teachers are in the middle of this frenzy. Administrators or districts may make a decision regarding technology, then teachers deal with the daily failing of the devices/program--yet they are still being pushed to innovate within their own classrooms. I have already taken a peek into the next chapter and it addresses the teams that should be put together to make decisions on implementing new tech. Nothing is fool proof, but it is heartening to see that some schools will admit that, even an expensive decision to digitize can sometimes fail. Even with the strongest restrictions on computer access--kids can find ways to hack the system (you mentioned needing more restrictions). I do love the options to take AP classes and online courses for credit recovery (or to free up time slots for students involved in many electives), but it has been eye opening to see elementary kids who can locate porn sites or enable games that were supposedly disabled.

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  28. I am not sure if my district has a “SMART” plan in place but there are many discussions on exploring technology and possible ways of improving scores. Last August our distirict’s rally cry revolved around a technology boot camp where the staff received some instruction on the new programs. While the staff was assembled the administrators gave an overview of the plans for ways to improve ISTEP and school scores through the use of technology. This training is still continuing through monthly professional development days. The district is still working on having enough computers for everyone and implementing changes with the district’s internet this summer. I am still trying to figure out exactly how to implement the use of technology in my classroom.

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    1. I think many of us are in the same boat. We have the technology but how to we successfully implement meaningful change without this just becoming another "thing"?

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  29. The psychology of the "Threats Versus Opportunities" caught my attention at the end of this chapter. At first I was feeling aversion to the idea because it seems like teachers/schools have received plentiful threats the past decade in education. I made myself go back and reread the section and ponder its veracity. On second reading, I admit it has that element of human nature that makes sense. The key would be to transform the threat into an opportunity. Too often threats remain threats; reframing them into an opportunity is where the idea has value, effectiveness, imagination, and power. I noticed the explanation and the "To Sum Up" section both referred to an implementation team. Does my school corporation have an implementation team? Not really. Teachers and students were provided laptops, but now it feels like it is up to the teacher to figure out all the wonderfully innovative possibilities that exist to make the technology worth the investment. Teachers in my school really try by attending conferences, reading books, and seeking knowledge. They could be helped along by a clearer vision, SMART objectives, and well, an implementation team that provides some resources. I don't feel like we really have that, and we have been very busy the past year with financial issues made worse by making a big announcement and springing it on an unprepared audience of parents, students, and teachers. That threat sucked up a lot of our time and energy. We are now participating in a study this school year that will help make future decisions.

    One thing that keeps bubbling up in my consciousness in relation to this book are some technology-related issues that happened to me personally the past week. A conference that I was interested in that my principal approved, focused on student achievement, was cancelled. Day #2 of a technology conference that three teachers from my school were attending was cancelled due to the school having no electricity. A conference I'd like to attend in southern Indiana I will miss because of a calendar conflict. It takes a lot of energy for teachers to find opportunities that promote growth. That is why so many of us try to seek these opportunities in the summer. It is just simply too busy during the school year. Fear of technology failure does factor in to wanting to try some aspects of blended learning ideas at times. I need to remember the Bible verse: "If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done" (Ecclesiastes 11:4). The nonconsumption areas are the perfect areas to explore, and my school has done some of this. I also feel our school would need to be very communicative with parents about what we are trying and what our goals are so they can view the technology and blended learning as opportunities and not threats.

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  30. I really get frustrated discussing this topic since it mostly pertains to middle and high schools. However, with a good plan and ingenuity, elementary students, particularly high achievers and remedial students, could use some new and interesting technology to help enrich and remediate them. That is not to say all students can not benefit from the ideas in these chapters so far. I really like the credit recovery for high school students. My oldest had to go to night school to take a class and with regular classes during the day, working his job, and going to night school, he was running on empty.

    My other problem is the fact that many of my students do not have computers or tablets let alone internet access. I am overwhelmed by the cost of internet access and I do not currently have a computer (I do use my tablet). We do not want our children to feel less than others because they can not afford things (at least things the family considers important). But to loan them a computer to take home is not right either. I pay for what I need and want. This is a sticky point.

    I believe one of our rallying cries should have to do with keeping our students in our schools and not run to the charter and religious based schools. They do not have more than us or better than us. They do have better discipline which we shy away from because of this mass exodus. Our state has caused many of our problems and need to take responsibility to help us make our schools desirable.

    That is my rant which is another story. I guess I just needed to talk (write).

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    1. Jeanne, I agree we need to keep our students in our public schools. I don't even think they have better discipline than my school because we have excellent administrators who have turned our discipline issues around. I think the state of Indiana has done damage to our public schools and the desire of many young people to pursue education as a career choice. It is definitely time to rethink these policies that have created this climate.

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  31. I cannot honestly say whether or not our district had/has a rallying cry as we implemented 1:1 in our middle and high schools last year and continue to do so in our elementary schools this year. After reading the sections explaining how to identify core opportunities versus nonconsumption opportunities I made a note in my book. I wrote that as a classroom teacher, I feel like I am more focused on core opportunities and that identifying nonconsumption opportunities happens more at the administration level. After finishing the chapter though, and reading through some of the above replies, I don't think my first understanding holds true. I think we all -administration, teachers, aides, and everybody who works at the school- need to be on the same page with our rallying cry. Only then can we work together as a team to make sure all students are receiving the best education they possibly can at the level at which they need to be met. For the first time last year I taught Algebra Repeat with two other teachers. About halfway through the semester we attempted a true blended learning model using Canvas and other resources online (mostly Khan academy videos and ck12 resources). We wanted to try something different, because we believed that traditional teaching was part of the reason some of them failed first semester. However it only lasted about a week and a half before the students were completely lost and we returned to lecturing the material. The lack of a cohesive goal and understanding of that goal I believe led to our departure from the blended learning model. I will be eager to return to school and discuss what our rallying cry really is, both at a subject level and a school level. While we struggled last year fitting technology into our classrooms, I think that making sure everyone understands the goal of the technology will help us all be better teachers.

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  32. Personally, I believe RTI would be the best place to implement blended learning. We have struggled the past couple of years with exactly what needs to be happening in our RTI classes, so why not give this a shot? We currently use a computer-based program mixed with direct instruction and occasionally small groups or one on one. That may look good on paper, but the kids get extremely bored with this. I think it would benefit from some station work or something else to keep them interested. A goal for us in RTI would obviously to be any improvement we can see in our state test or NWEA tests, an improvement in lexile or class work.
    Another place I could definitely see blended learning working in would be honors classes. This would keep these kids engaged and learning more at their own pace. I'm going to be discussing a couple of options with my team about maybe giving the flipped classroom a shot this year.

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  33. Personally, I believe RTI would be the best place to implement blended learning. We have struggled the past couple of years with exactly what needs to be happening in our RTI classes, so why not give this a shot? We currently use a computer-based program mixed with direct instruction and occasionally small groups or one on one. That may look good on paper, but the kids get extremely bored with this. I think it would benefit from some station work or something else to keep them interested. A goal for us in RTI would obviously to be any improvement we can see in our state test or NWEA tests, an improvement in lexile or class work.
    Another place I could definitely see blended learning working in would be honors classes. This would keep these kids engaged and learning more at their own pace. I'm going to be discussing a couple of options with my team about maybe giving the flipped classroom a shot this year.

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    1. I agree with your RTI statement. My last school did a lot with RTI and it showed.

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  34. Chapter 3 - Start with the Rallying Cry
    1. I agree schools have no choice but to consider technology.
    2. Interesting that the massive investment of computers in the classroom, it had little effect on how teachers teach and students learn. The investment of computers increased costs and drew resources away from other school priorities.
    3. Larry Cuban reported with a sample of schools, computers had little or no impact on the way students learn. Teachers still deliver the instruction (p. 96).
    4. 1:1 program in Los Angeles was chaotic. More and 300 students evaded a security filter to access unauthorized content. Also, parents were worried about lost or broken iPads given to the students to use.
    5. Blended learning to be successful needs to identify the problem to solve/goal to achieve. The goal must improve educational effectiveness, boost student achievement, provide out-of-reach courses and opportunities, improve a school financial health, improve teacher training, reduce learning loss associated with absences, and offer more career training.
    6. I agree that for students to be involved with the online learning program they need to be screened to determine if they are likely to be successful.
    7. SMART goals must be determined for blended learning to be successful.
    8. I think using Station Rotations, Lab Rotations, Flipped Classrooms could be successful in the high school setting.
    9. Nonconsumption exists when schools cannot provide a learning experience.
    Opportunities identified include: serving students who have dropped out of school, helping students recover units and credits to stay on track, providing access to electives, providing SAT/ACT test prep, reduce learning loss from absences. Solving nonconsumption problems gives students learning opportunities to be successful.

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  35. I am reading so many interesting comments this week! Our school, like many of you, is 1:1 - with varying degrees of usage and efficacy. As an elementary teacher, I have found technology to be a huge benefit in my class. It has given me more time to interact one on one with my students, it has allowed me to differentiate material more effectively, and it has provided an avenue through which students are able to do remedial work. Furthermore, it has helped me to work on things like research with the students, finding reputable sources, etc.

    I agree that goals are important as we embrace technology - but I would also contend that it is okay to explore with technology and be adventurous. I am one of the "older" teachers, and I am not tech-savvy by any means. That being said, I love to "see what is out there" and I have been so pleased with things that I have found, ways that I have been challenged to make my lessons better - thereby making my students' experiences better.
    It is easy to leave the computer and let it me that expensive paperweight. I agree that professional development is important and just as we have goals in mind as we plan our lessons, we need to have goals in mind as we utilize technology. I would say that we did not have concrete goals in mind when this 1:1 program was introduced in our school. We were however, given the freedom to explore and be creative and share ideas with each other. As we all embark on the technology wave, I only hope that we don't waste time waiting on someone to come up with all of our goals. I believe we need to jump on board and get creative!
    I beleive that blended learning can work in any of our classrooms.

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    1. Hi Linda,
      I love your observations and willingness to embrace technology as you see it applied meaningfully to students. We are going 1:1 this fall in K-5 with Chromebooks. I feel a sense of urgency to find out what programs/apps I should be looking at this summer. I teach second grade, and I would love to learn from your experiences if you wouldn't mind sharing. Thanks a bunch! :)

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  36. I have a traditional class and an online class. Both are trying to address the issue of non-consumption. For the traditional class, blended learning is seen as a way to introduce students to college and career readiness skills that instructors may not have the expertise or time to deliver.

    The online class already reaches students who would not normally be able to attend HSE classes. The problem with this class is that we have a large number of students that drop out of the class before completing 20 hours. Adding an additional, flexible in-person element to the online class up front is hopefully going to increase student persistence and achievement.

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  37. As a teacher with the first year f a 1:1 initiative under her belt, this book study couldn't have come at a better time. I see so many insights within the chapters and I am hopeful that some of the things I am reading about can be better applied in my classroom in the future. I certainly understood the reference to school corporations investing lots of money in the technology for students without a clear statement about what would be accomplished with it. I am grateful for all of the individual technology for each student, but I feel that some of the intent was "too much, too soon". I am fairly confident in the use of technology, but I think that I was a bit overwhelmed with the scope of what was brought to us in our initial year of the 1:1. Our corporation had organized a group of teachers to be the eLearning coaches, but in my opinion, they were not adequately given the time to explore the technology that was being implemented. They were trying to stay ahead of the game, but never really had a chance to master any parts of it adequately. I think "baby steps" would have been a better approach. We managed to get through the first year, but the spectrum of where individual teachers were on the scale was quite different. We had no set guidelines on how to imolement the technology nor the expectations for it. I saw a variety of levels in just my own building. I tried to maintain a more structured approach while others gave students less boundaries and less structure. I don't know that either way was right or wrong, but they were very different. I am actually curious to see our test scores from this past year to see how my own approach affected my students compared to that of others
    I really appreciated the explanation of SMART goals found in chapter 3. In fact, our school counselor conducts a lesson on this very topic each year in regards to how students set their own goals for success. I can definitely wee a correlation between the counselor's lesson and how it can apply to our use of blended learning in the classroom. As I mentioned Ina previous entry, I teach at the elementary level, so I feel that the success of blended learning will be felt last at this level. I know that some components can be utilized at the elementary level, but I am still not sure how much resistance there will be. We definitively need to analyze a specific rallying cry as a staff and work towards that goal together.

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  38. After reading this chapter it became very clear to me that there is no goal behind the technology that is in my school. Teachers are just willy nilly throwing "blended" items at students for the sake of using technology. In my school we really need to come up with a smart goal to set us on the correct path it technology is something that we want to correctly use in our building. We have some really great programs available to us that meet the kids at their level, but they have become mundane because they are the only source of instruction that some classes are giving. Our rally cry needs to be first on teacher preparation on how to correctly go about using blended ideas and decide as a school what type we would like to use. I also think that should be a wake up call as a second chance program for students who aren't going to be moving to high school or who are on the verge of failing because they can't get their behavior together to be in class all day. I think for this to fully take off and get supported by the full building a few of us are going to have to try it out and have success before the support will be there. It's sad, but it's true. It is time to get out of our teacher comfort zone and write these SMART goals and boost these test scores!

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  39. I think that our teachers are all doing different things as far as incorporating technology. We have teachers who use iPads & google classroom daily, we have teachers who use them occasionally, some who use the iPads to keep students occupied when they are done with their class assignments and a select few who don't use them at all. I think we have this problem for a few reasons. As our school is new to the 1 to 1 concept they tried extremely hard to make sure every student had a device but there was not adaquate training for teachers on how and when to use them. Also we have never all been required to use a certain system. I think our schools and teachers would be much more willing to use, and use much more frequently, our iPads if either of these things were to take place. I look for it to happen in the future, I just think that perhaps too much imphasis was put on getting every student a device as quickly as possible and we left out a teacher training element in the process. I realize it is also difficult to get an old dog to learn new tricks so to speak but I think that presented the correct way everyone would be willing and better able to utilize iPads as a grest learning tool.

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  40. I think that our teachers are all doing different things as far as incorporating technology. We have teachers who use iPads & google classroom daily, we have teachers who use them occasionally, some who use the iPads to keep students occupied when they are done with their class assignments and a select few who don't use them at all. I think we have this problem for a few reasons. As our school is new to the 1 to 1 concept they tried extremely hard to make sure every student had a device but there was not adaquate training for teachers on how and when to use them. Also we have never all been required to use a certain system. I think our schools and teachers would be much more willing to use, and use much more frequently, our iPads if either of these things were to take place. I look for it to happen in the future, I just think that perhaps too much imphasis was put on getting every student a device as quickly as possible and we left out a teacher training element in the process. I realize it is also difficult to get an old dog to learn new tricks so to speak but I think that presented the correct way everyone would be willing and better able to utilize iPads as a grest learning tool.

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  41. With the rush to be one to one in the two school districts I've been a part of, there were no SMART goals or training given other than basic computer knowledge and uses. This had lee to cramming in both cases, and I Pads and Chromebooks that students have not been put to proper use. They've actually been a negative part of the equation. With schools so focused on standardized test scores, it doesn't allow enough time or resources for teachers to implement more differentiated classrooms. They brought in the NWEA test go "help," but we weren't trained how to find or use the data effectively. I consider myself an old-school teacher and would like to effectively use technology in my classroom, but time and money is going to be need to train everyone, and a SMART plan needs to be made. Having technology to just have technology isn't working.

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  42. After reading this chapter, I felt pleased that my district has done a good job of planning for 1:1. The planning began in 2013, and since we were the last to go 1:1 in our area, we were able to learn from our neighbors. Our 1:1 initiative has been a component of a three prong strategy to increase student learning. Step 1 was moving towards 1:1, step 2 is training all departments/grade levels in Understanding by Design, and step 3 is training a pilot group of K-12 teachers so they can implement the grading practices of Tom Guskey with the potential move toward a standards-based report card for K-12. I believe that step 4 will be implementing blended learning, but it lacks a concrete plan other than lots of PD on how to use tools that can be used for blended learning.

    Next year, our elementary schools go 1:1, and I expect the rotation models to be given a try by many teachers. We also have a few teachers dabbling with the flipped classroom, but for the most part, we are just technology rich. On the good side, we have serviced our non-consumers with credit recovery through the Apex online curriculum. In addition, a good number of our students access online learning through Indiana Online Academy and other sources to get ahead so that they can take fine arts and advanced science courses.

    After reading this chapter, I felt we are more blended than I would have imagined, but we need to get more intentional in blending our individual classrooms.

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  43. Our district is has been a 1:1 district for many years. I am sure that there was a goal when the administration decided to move this direction. However, this goal was not understood by or explained to the teachers. Teachers use technology is a variety of ways. We have tech people who lead professional development on a variety of programs, websites, and apps for students to use. I think this becomes mind boggling for many teachers and is overwhelming. I agree that a SMART goal would help eliminate the confusion and feeling of not knowing what to do. In my small school, one teacher uses the READ 180 program, some teachers utilizes technology for individualized math deficits (Catch up Math) while teaching current standards, other teachers uses technology just to show videos, and others use the rotation model. Rarely do teachers have the time to see what others are doing to get ideas to use in their classroom. Much of the focus, unfortunately, is on getting students to pass the state assessments. When students come into your classroom 6 or 7 grades levels below, blended learning may be the answer, but is passing the state assessment the problem we actually need to solve? In my opinion, placing focus on career needs in high school would be a much better problem to solve. My hope is that one day that is where the focus is and high stakes testing finds a different level of importance. When trying to set up a blended learning environment (which I am sure was my district's goal), having a plan and having the instruction to enact the plan is crucial for everyone being on the same page.

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  44. I think the rallying cry for my district would be to use the 1 to 1 that was implemented last year to serve the needs of our ever growing district. I don't know what the goal was for going to 1 to 1 because I was not with NACS last year, but I do know that my last district did not have a clear goal for the 1 to 1 and it has caused issues like the ones that are talked about in chapter three. That district settled on putting I-pads in the hands of all the students with out a goal in mind as to how they would improve student learning. I have heard all kinds of things about their usage at the high school and most of it has not been good. Many teachers I have talked to at my old school don't even use them because there was no clear plan as to why they need to be in the classroom in the first place.
    As far as a goal for my current school- we are growing and I can see some of these models in the book being used with the 1 to 1 to serve a growing school population. I think our district has already started a version of the "Ala Cart" model in the book in allowing students to take "zero hour" classes where they can come in early four days a week and leave school after 6th period to go to internships and other things. I see this short of things growing as our school population goes up. We have the building- why can't we have schedules and things built around the student population. Our test scores are already good- so I don't think the rally cry is going to be in that area. I see it in the area for providing advanced classes and other courses that don't fit the mainstream model while tailoring the school day for students with jobs and internships and sports after school.

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  45. For a possible rallying cry, I agree with what some others have already stated: Blended learning can be used as a means to differentiate learning for students so that each student can approach each topic at his own pace and with different methods of learning the material. That being said, I think this goal would take a great deal of time to implement. For my own subject material (chemistry), the school district would either have to purchase a program/course or allow teachers a lot of extra time in order to put together/find extensive online tools. This would have to be done for many different subjects/classes and would require either a huge amount of man hours, or a huge amount of money, both of which are generally in short supply.

    I think that the greatest potential for blended learning lies in areas of nonconsumption where students are interested in specific areas of study that are not found in a school's course catalog. For example, I would love to see an offering of forensic science at our school because I think many students would be interested in the course.

    One thing about this chapter that stuck out to me was that "the most common mistake is to set forth with an appetite for the dazzling technology, rather... Regrettable, this leads only to the cramming of more devices, screens, gadgets and software into students' and teachers' already noisy lives." I have not been a teacher very long, but it seems that almost yearly, we are jumping on some new education bandwagon. In the 6 years I have been teaching, my district has encouraged the use of Moodle, Edmodo, Google Docs, Google Classroom and now Canvas. Just as teachers and students get used to one thing, we are required to move on to the next thing, with no real evaluation of the effectiveness of the tools. (SMART goals made before a new tool is implemented would be very useful here) Unfortunately, this gives teachers, students and parents the impression that nothing is long-term in education, the new flavor of the year will not be around very long, which acts as a disincentive to utilize things to their full potential.

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  46. The rallying cry in my district to implement blended learning is to improve student achievement. There is also a strong push to increase student responsibility, teach digital citizenship, and other 21st century skills though. In my district, the middle schools and high school went 1:1 last year and this coming year our elementary schools will also be 1:1. As teachers, we were not told how or when to use the new technology in our classrooms. As a result, some teachers barely used it last years, others used it every day, and the majority of us fell somewhere in between (mainly modifying lessons to integrate the use of laptops, but not creating anything new). I would consider my district technology rich now, but far from a blended learning environment. In order to become a truly blended learning environment, I think more training and specific directions and expectations related to the use of technology will ultimately be needed in my district.

    I think one area that should be a target for blended learning programs in my district would be homebound students. This year we had several students (for various reasons) who were put on homebound. While this is not a true area of nonconsumption because the school does continue to provide a learning experience for the homebound students in some way, I think the homebound students would ultimately benefit from a blended learning experience. It can be difficult to find teachers who can meet with students after school and find a time and location that works for both the teacher, parents, and students. An online course would eliminate some of these issues.

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  48. My google shows unknown so my name is Juliette Lucas..

    The rallying cry in my school at least for first grade would be that we mostly use technology for testing. That is what they go to the computer lab for occasionally during the day.

    They also have a weekly 'special' that is technology where they learn how to use the computer and a few skills.

    We use technology in the classroom - the teachers computer-showing videos and taking brain breaks, but this as we know is not blended learning.

    The students all have log ins to things like IXL and Accelerated Reader to take comprehension quizzes over books read.

    So I would say our Rallying Cry is that we don't utilize our computer lab to the fullest.

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  49. Having a good rallying cry without question is a necessity. In our district they got computers before they ever really understood what they wanted to do with them (or so it seemed). Now our students hate computers because they just use them for their assignments and feel like that's all their teachers are having them do. Rarely do I hear stories either from our teachers or our students about using them to actually learn content. I have no doubt that some teachers are allowing them to use certain websites, but I feel like we haven't really even started to chip away at the potential of what we could do. I have only heard whispers from people mentioning teaching putting lessons online for students to view whenever they wish. I have been at my school now for 4 years and hear what our school goals are, but never how we intertwine the technology with it. We have begun to try to implement eLearning days during our snow days. Teachers are to have lessons ready for those days, but I'm curious how many of them actually put video of them teaching a concept out for their students to view?

    The nonconsumption part confuses me though at times. So by providing classes that are not presently being offered or seen great interest from students/parents, this concept can grow? Somehow I am struggling to grasp that particular concept.

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    1. I've always wondered how teachers handle snow day lesson plans. My school recently has gone 1:1, but we haven't added eLearning days to our school yet. (In Indiana, you would think this would be the "necessity" rallying cry a school district might need!) I think it's a real challenge sometimes to come up with an entire video or online lesson on such short notice.

      I'm also really confused about the nonconsumption part of the chapter. Is nonconsumption supposed to refer to classes not being offered? For some reason, that's not what it sounded like to me, but I'm just not getting it.

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    2. We use eLearning plans for snow days. We have these prepared and ready to go in advance. While this is great in having those days "not wasted" or causing us to fall behind in our calendar, it is difficult to have a meaningful lesson that can be dropped in at a forecast's notice. For English/Literature it is easy to have a lesson on a poem or nonfiction article ready to do. Any standard can be targeted and it is not wasted time. It is, however, out of sinc with what we may currently be doing in class. Did that make sense?

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  50. Like many other people who commented before me, I don't think my school really had goals in mind before we went 1:1. I will say that, unlike the Los Angeles school district the book mentioned, our school spent at least a year (probably longer) going to local school districts and researched how they rolled out computers, what programs they used, etc. So while we had problems our first year, it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

    But I think it could have been better as well. As I mentioned, I don't think there was really a goal in mind when we got our computers. And if there was, I don't think it was communicated well with teachers (and shouldn't they be the ones to know?). I saw some parallels between our technology and the Hawaii school that got the interactive white boards that they never ended up using. Not that we aren't using the computers, mind you, but I think in both cases, there's simply a lack of a proper objective involved with both of them. We didn't have a common problem we were trying to solve, like the Pennsylvania school that created a virtual school to keep money in their district. That makes sense.

    I think if our district was looking for a rallying cry, it could be related to offering other a la carte classes. We're an affluent district and there are many classes available to students at the high school level, but I think it would be really cool to see it trickle down to the middle school level as well. And really, both levels could gain something by using programs that let students study something they're interested in. We have a number of students at my school who take study hall or rotation classes because there's nothing else they want to take. These would be the perfect time to allow students to learn a new language, take an art class, study a historical era they're interested in, discover a new science class, etc. The possibilities are endless and I think we would have fewer issues with these rotation classes. (There are so many students that do their best to lie and skip these classes just to wander the halls.) I would love to see them doing an a la carte lesson over an Asian studies class if that's not their interest. Not to mention I think the teachers of a few of these classes would be thrilled with the change as well.

    I'm a bit lost with the nonconsumption part of this chapter. I've read over it a few times and I don't really understand what the term means. I don't think it was explained well. (I'm an English teacher; I like definitions.) Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

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    1. I concur, the term "nonconsumption" seemed like an odd choice of vernacular. By definition nonconsumption means "a refusal to purchase or consume something" - the implication being that a district is making a deliberate choice to refuse students an opportunity when we know as educators that resources most often allow choice with limitations (a "budgeting" will occur).
      Horn and Staker state, "Nonconsumption exists any time schools cannot provide a learning experience; they have no easy option other than to do without it." Nonconsumption by this definition is ANYTHING that a student wants or needs to learn but is not currently offered. Again this seems like loaded language to me. "No easy option" seems to imply that sense of refusal from the textbook definition of nonconsumption. Rather than stating a lack of opportunity to provide the study of for example Farsi when there are only 2 students that would like to take the course and most world language teachers are not licensed in the Farsi language, these authors would coin this as nonconsumption.
      My understanding is that through the empowerment involved with Blended Learning and a true student driven classroom, any student can be instructed in whatever course they choose whether it be from the list provided: SAT/ACT prep, speech or behavioral therapy, recovery credits, or even my example, Farsi.
      When you think of creating nonconsumption opportunities in this way it is a rather exciting concept!

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  51. I felt better about blended learning again after reading this chapter. I especially liked the reiteration that said if problems are seen as a threat, the instinct is to stop being flexible and focus instead on resources that counter the threat. It followed this statement with the advice to redefine the threat as an opportunity with limitless potential. Resistance to change often creates a barrier between what might be a very good idea and the implementation of it due to professional development or time restraints. I like having a clear objective for the technology being used rather than using technology for technology's sake just to prove we have put our students on a device. The SMART objectives helped define in easy terms how to create a mindset with what I do in my classroom to ensure all lessons are worthwhile.

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  52. I really like the idea of having a rallying cry but I am not sure if my corporation had a set goal in mind when we became 1:1 schools. I feel the SMART goal idea is terrific. I have heard is term and use it as I write goals for my special needs students! Having a SMART goal even on a classroom level would give teachers a starting point for introducing technology and online learning as a part of their daily schedule.

    I agree with another post about a problem that has began to show up so how the students have started with excuses, link forgetting the devices at home or it is not charged. Things we have noticed are students getting around the security that is in place, watching videos or playing games in class or simply not doing what is expected. Hesse types of issues will continue to escalate if not addressed in a timely manner. The other problem I see that needs attention in my school corporation is the teachers not using the technology available. Many educators are not "tech savvy" and often resist. The PD opportunity is often so superficial and time is limited. We need to figure out how to educate the educators so they feel comfortable with the technology and programs we have available in order to move forward toward true blended learning.

    I am a person who sets goals and have been working hard to meet these goals. I am one who has been working hard to incorporate more online learning opportunities for my students. I know that completely independent learning for my special needs students is not possible but I can make blended learning goals that they are able to achieve. I like the last part of the chapter "threat vs opportunity" is great because it looks for the positive side rather than looking at the negative!

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  53. I think that the rally cry for our district would be to initiate a pilot program to determine which of the models of blended learning discussed in the book would be most beneficial to our students and would most easily integrate with our commitment to Universal Design for Learning. As a secondary initiative, I think it would be worthwhile to form a committee that could delve more deeply into exploring areas of nonconsumption and brainstorming ways to use disruptive innovation as a means of addressing those needs. I have a few thoughts about this chapter that I would like to share and I would invite you to express your comments or thoughts about them as a response to this post.
    1) In this chapter, the authors suggest that the most successful programs provide enrich student achievement and quality of life, provide access to more and diverse content than is otherwise readily available, and possibly help to improve a system's financial health. I think that it could be prudent to explore these options for additional curricular options, but I fear that those who would be best served by these programs are those who might have the least amount of physical access to the tech necessary to benefit from them. How do we enrich the students immediate quality of life to ensure that they are able to meet the minimum requirements to access the disruptive innovation?
    2) I am having a somewhat difficult time with the ways that the authors are discussing sustaining versus disrupting old models of thinking. They keep referring to the idea of moving beyond the factory model, but they also keep suggesting that using new tech as a means of sustaining a functional model is a good idea. While I understand both of the ideas fundamentally, I am also torn as to whether the authors would persuade me that the former (factory model) is an outdated modality, yet the idea that new tech should be used to support sustaining the model seems contradictory to the ideas they are presenting through the use of the disruptive innovations. Is anyone else feeling like these are conflicting ideas?

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  54. The authors make a great point in this chapter about the rush schools take to make more learning online and “21st century”, but not with a solid goal or plan in mind. A lot of districts have gone to more computer use… without a specific strategy to enhance learning. Our district recently made a big push to make computers more available to students in school, which is useful, but it seems like this was just plain necessary as so much of the computer lab time was being used not for instruction, but for standardized testing. The new computers are just replacing what was available before ISTEP/ECAs started sucking so much bandwidth from the school.
    I am interested to see how certain schools are using blended learning to save money. In the long run, it can save on labor costs (i.e. teachers), but now you have to spend money on software and curriculum. I am curious to see actual budgets. Not to be cynic, but it seems like this strategy will benefit the large education corporations in many new licensing fees. I wonder if the Christiansen Institute, indirectly benefits from this?

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  55. In my district, I see opportunities to take advanced courses as an opportunity for blended learning. We have two high schools in the district, so students at both schools could be offered courses from the same supplier. We already share some services, and personnel, so this could be a logical progression. It has already happened, but not with the success that upper administrators were looking for. Figuring out all of the technology was a big issue, but I think it is better now. We have at least one course that is being taught in one building, but is being offered to students in both buildings. I must admit, I see greater participation and success being attained by the students that are in the building where the teacher is present. With the broadcasting technology that we currently have, there does seem to be a disconnect between the class that is consuming the course through an online method. I'm not necessarily trying to be a proponent of the brick and mortar experience, but I do think the students have responded to that better because it is what they are used to. I, like others who have mentioned this above, would like to see how these examples that are in the book could be implemented in smaller, more rural settings, considering the financial requirements that they seemingly have.

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  56. As our school district rolled out 1:1 last year for secondary students and will roll it out for K-5 this year, I found the quote on page 97 important. "Powerful software and hardware often get used in limited ways to simply maintain rather than transform prevailing instructional practices." Last year I focused on incorporating this technology into my classroom to enhance learning, but at times fell short of transformational use. This is my desire, but as I continued reading the chapter, I often wondered where I can find all of these resources. Holly Miller mentioned No Red Ink in a post above. I agree with her that this falls into the type of learning described in the chapter that foster independence and differentiation.

    Page 98 challenged me again to question why I will use the device and how it will further student understanding. "But the temptation of these slick interfaces and dazzling products can get people more excited about the product than about a solution to a problem (98). Further down the page the author stressed that goals have to be built on "improving educational effectiveness."

    Over and over throughout the chapter, I wondered where the resources for disruptive learning are. How do I find these resources? Where do the funds come from? I am curious if others in this group have knowledge of free resources that have worked well in their classrooms.

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  57. Well I just switched school districts this week, so I'm not exactly sure where my new school is with technology. I will discuss what we had in my former school.
    I feel that my district was trying to have a plan but it was not concise or focused. We received additional funding for a grant and with that they brought in people to overview what our current technology use was in the school. Now at that point we had a 3 mobile carts throughout the building and 2 computer labs. It wasn't a lot but we did what we could to make it work for the necessities of teaching and learning. After they came through, we started adding a whole lot of chrome book carts (the fancy new technology) into the school. By the end of the school year, we had 7 mobile labs plus our two computer labs. They also started using Google Apps for Education. The teachers were not provided much, if any, training on the new technology or system so we did what we could to implement it. There was no goal just that they wanted to see it being used in the classroom.
    There needs to be a SMART goal created so the technology use can benefit all the students and teachers. I feel as if blended learning can be so great if done properly. I am also wondering if there are materials out there to give more information on the different forms of blended learning and ways to go about implementing them. I feel like I know the basics of what blended learning is and what it looks like but not enough to implement it.

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    1. Kaleigh, Your school is not alone. What you say here is exactly what my school is doing. Here's all these chromebooks. Show us what you're doing with them, but we have no training for you. Extremely frustrating.

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    2. I hate to be so clueless, but is "use of technology" a component int he RISE teacher evaluation method? I never really look that closely at my documents. I know we are encouraged to use technology, but I am wondering if we are evaluated in that area?

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  58. I teach pre-k at a church but the school my children go to did send out a rally cry. There were two schools in our district where the students were very badly behaved and were not passing tests. They were the two lowest schools in our district. The corporation redistributed the students to different schools, a lot of teachers switched schools, some stayed, and they switched the school to a Signature Academy which is a project based learning school that families apply to send their children to. We did not go to Blended learning but the rally cry was heard and answered. The improvement has been so drastic that the school that is lowest now has switched to project based learning as well.
    Another example is the school system I grew up in. They took an elementary school and switched it to an Academy. This school is blended and the students that go to it are ones who are not doing well in school, do not like school, etc. Those students who may have ended up dropping out, now go to Harris Academy and learn at their own pace online with teachers on site. Some graduate early if they work really hard. But everything that is possible is done for these students to graduate.

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  59. The Rally Cry in my school would be to raise test scores for our IEP and lower academic students. Many resources are already being used in this area. Being the HA coordinator in our building, I sometimes feel that this is being done to the point of leaving out our middle and high academic students. Blended learning would offer the opportunity to focus on all academic levels.
    Some thought while reading this chapter..
    1. Our school is adding chromebooks for student use. We are not 1:1 yet, but heading that direction. But I feel (like many others in this study) that this is being done to say we have technology, rather than "applying strategically to a problem." No PD offered to teachers. Very little collaboration time for teachers to talk about what is working for them.
    2. I was relieved to read the authors put great importance in PD. I've been teaching on and off for 25 years. This is truly an area of great need in our field. School systems are quick to adopt the "new thing" offer a couple of days of PD and leave you to use the few skills you've learned until the next "new thing" comes along. I was happy to read that adding technology without ongoing teacher training doesn't work. More administrators need to understand this.
    3. I also like defining you goals using SMART. My building should apply this strategy with the addition of more and more chromebooks.

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  60. During the 2016-17 school year my school implemented a new reading and writings units of study program by Lucy Calkins. The program is great, but it can definitely be enhanced by incorporating some blended learning techniques. The major issue, I would not call it a problem necessarily, is that the units of study is wordy and lengthy which makes it hard to fit it into the ELA block. I think if I outsourced some of the content into a blended learning model then my students could get more out of the material and have an opportunity to interact with the curriculum digitally.

    My class peaked in the units of study last year when I taught the mini-lesson and gave them an exit ticket or in-class assignment to work on during independent reading time. Now I am thinking about creating a digital platform for students to post responses and then comment on each other's comments to drive the discussion and interaction digitally. The potential of building a stronger reading community is worth the challenge of incorporating this new blended learning idea!

    One of the challenges I faced as the teacher with daily exit ticket and reader's responses was doing a ton of work sifting through all of their entries, choosing some good examples, and preparing what to share to lead the discussion the following day. I think if I delegated this task to my students and they chose student responses they liked and found worthy this would more evenly spread the burden of fostering a great literacy discussion each day in class. This would also help to facilitate collaboration and interaction with text and give those students a bigger audience versus only the teacher reading the responses. This process could evolve and grow as the school year goes on.

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  61. I have a couple more notions as I read through the entries:

    # 1 I agree that computers have drastically changed education and how I learn and how I offer instruction. Having said that, however, I remind myself that the world's greatest teachers (Descartes, Plato, Jesus, Socrates, Muhammad) did not have technology. They lectured. Students listened. Of course, one would certainly acknowledge that their students were much more highly motivated than my 10th graders! :)

    2. Three of my children are college graduates. Two have masters degrees and one is currently on a PhD track. When I talk with them about their overall college learning/instruction, they agree totally that the HUGE MAJORITY of their instruction was lecture/notes/testing format. Lots of papers were written; some group projects; occasionally an on-line course taken - but the bulk was a lecture hall with the professor in front....lecture mode. Their colleges: Indiana University Bloomington; Ball State University; and IUPUI Indianapolis. Their major: Elementary Education; Clinical Psychology; and Philanthropy and Non-Profit Enterprises.

    # 3 Currently my 17-year-old is taking an on-line course in US History because she is planning to attend a vocational school as a Junior next year. This course has been very challenging for her. She is a slow reader and comprehension does not come easily. She is diligent about working on her class, but if I was not available to verbally restate many of the concepts or processes explained in the text, I am not sure how successful she would be. The presence of a teacher (face to face) seems even more critical to me as I work with her on this program.

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    1. I notice that I put a capital letter on "junior." I could just smack my hand!!!!!!!

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  62. The thing that stuck out the most to me was "schools investing big dollars in one-to-one programs without a clear statement of intent about what all that computing power will accomplish." I feel like our school is seeking and improving technology that is certainly needed but there is no real goal in mind for how to use it once we attain it. I am really hoping that through this book and the discussions we are having that I might gain some useful insight to bring back to my school. In a school where grade levels are combined, I feel like individualized learning is a must and blended learning seems the most effective way to do that. I think if I could choose a rallying cry for my school it would either be to increase the variety of classes offered (non consumption) or to keep the teacher from focusing too much on the students who are struggling and not challenging the advanced students.

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    1. The push for technology and blending did seem to happen without a clear goal at my school as well. It is very expensive and requires constant upkeep. I also hope that this book will help me blend more in the classroom and focus on a goal.

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  63. Good lessons are planned backwards - what do I need my students to know. I think the same is for incorporating technology - starting with the end first. I also really believe having a goal is extremely necessary. Otherwise, how do you know if it is successful or even working? Technology is not a magic wand to solve our problems, but it is a necessary learning tool for our students because every career will use it in some capacity. It is very important for teachers to know that the technology may produce the same results, but using it is also preparing our students for their future. Sometimes learning the technology can be a great end goal!

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  64. What struck me the most in this chapter was how schools, mine in particular, can put things in place without having a specific goal in mind and then the intent, which was originally positive and well-meaning, becomes a burden, and in a few years (or possibly not that long) is completely dropped. This is particularly true of one to one programs within the district and particularly the use of technology in our school. While many teachers would like to have a one to one program, we are continuously getting more chromebooks into students' hands without having a specific goal for their usage or for what the students are to be able to do with them and how it will affect them in their learning. Without that specific goal how can their productivity be measured and/or assessed?

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    1. I completely agree with you! We did this at my old school, and our corporation started outlining goals last year.

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    2. I have been in the teaching profession long enough that I am starting to see programs, with new names, coming around again. This program seems great on the surface and probably does a great job when funded properly. Technology often times to be dropped in our laps and we are told to "make it work". This is difficult since there often isn't training to support it.

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  65. With the rising enrollment at my school, we are facing the dilemma of not having adequate space. Obtaining more Chromebooks has certainly helped, and now through reading this book I am beginning to wonder if we would best be served by distributing our computers from our labs to our classrooms so that we can have a successful blended learning opportunity. We have been refocusing our RTI methods which would enable us to possibly free up space. I am looking forward to tackling the school year from the beginning by incorporating blended learning through rotation stations to a greater degree than before. I have always enjoyed the opportunity of challenging the higher level students to soar, but I realize that this method will meet the needs of all of my students. I don't want to make the mistake of just using technology to use it, but to use technology to grow each one of my students to the highest degree possible.

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  66. As I ended this chapter I began to take notes on what I think our school would focus on if asked what two pronged approach we would take. Our schools has just about everything one could ask for in terms of materials and technology carts of laptops, convertibles, desktops, Ipads, ect. has expanded to each department in the last year. So as I reflect on what blended learning could bring to our school to benefit kids who are in a high level and rigorous environment, I had to think of what I believe is the "rally cry" or challenge for students today. First, blended learning would assist our students in the application of knowledge not just the acquirement. For a few years now, I have had numerous conversations with other teachers about the lack of analytical skills for our students today. Maybe it is the fact that they can google the answer or look at someone else's answer on how they analyzed a question or problem but students have a very difficult time taking information and using inductive or deductive reasoning. With blended learning the acquisition of knowledge would be online and they use of it would be with the teacher who models and using discussion as well as working with peers and possibly whole group. Secondly, in terms of non-consumption, I think online class are fine but as others have discussed it leads to the reduction of teachers who provide not only information and process skills but the care that students needs as well. For our schools, our students need teachers to be role models and caregivers; therefore, I think our non consumption would be that we use technology to give students access to places and people around the world. Our students could use technology to Skype with other students around the world or create a Kiva in another country; global connections that would enrich their education! Both of these are opportunities that would enhance and amplify the lives of kids!

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  67. Chapter 3 really gave me a lot of ideas as to where I'd like to see our school go with technology and Blended learning. I love the idea of SMART goals, and I think I can easily begin coming up with some on my own, and with a bit of persuasion, get people with the power to make the important decisions on board as well. We may have fallen into the pit of "technology for technology's sake" but we definitely have the motivation to use the technology to benefit our students in the best way possible.
    Our areas of nonconsumption are definitely with kids who miss school. Attendance is an ongoing issue, and most of the time it is due to lack of transportation (due to our school being multi district), and extra-curricular activities. With the right amount of expectations set from the beginning, and the right amount of teacher motivation, I think our kids could really stay on track a lot better if a blended option was offered and consistently applied.

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  68. I think some issues for us might just be the lack of technology, or the lack of updated technology. In addition we would need time for training and right now we only have about half a day for professional development training. I think there are teachers who would like to try to implement some new things we just need to figure out a way around the barriers

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  69. I can't really answer this question about my district since I am starting in a new district this year, but I do agree with the "dazzle" of technology the book discusses. I do believe districts, teachers, and administrators like to use technology as an appeal, but do not always know how to use it correctly. We gone kids devices and they love them, but are we really using them to our best advantage? In my past experiences, I have experienced going 1:1 and some of the challenges that accompany that process, such as resistant teachers, lack of internet speed and capabilities, and kids wanting to use the devices for games and such. My past district spent the last year outlining technology goals and visions, and I agree that is a very important part of this process!

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  70. We are getting into blended learning next year to help the gap that exists in the classroom with the different levels of kids. We are hoping that this would be a way for us to reach each level at their own individual levels. We have been trying to do this using the STAR assessment and building lessons from that but that has taken a lot of teach time and resources to do and we are hoping that the program we are using will help guide the lessons better than what we have been trying to do. I am new to blended learning but I am loving the idea and the book so far has been wonderful. I am hoping to learn as much as I can about it before the beginning of the new school year!

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  71. “The most blended-learning programs are much more deliberate and share a common starting point: they begin by identify the problem to solve or the goal to achieve. They start with a clear rallying cry.” I feel like, as administrators, they probably have identified their goal, but as individual teachers we need to be aware of the goal we are all working towards. I feel like sometimes that we are just using technology to use it. The end goal is not presented to the whole staff. I feel that our school corp should be looking at using technology as a way to differentiate instruction for high ability and students who have an RTI. I feel that if we made this our rally cry and started here, we would be able to meet two different goals. I feel like with the push of one to one, along with the implementation of a new LMS, teachers and students are feeling overwhelmed. This creates a less blended environment and a just use of technology to use it.

    A “SMART” goal would give teachers and staff a place to work towards with technology. Without the goal, I feel like teachers are all doing their own thing, and not working towards a cohesive idea. This leads to teachers and students feeling like there is no plan and no common ground. As teachers, we need to work together so we all are working towards the same goal with technology and our blended classrooms.

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  72. I  must be misunderstanding the message of the book so far. I thought that blended learning is going  well beyond the traditional classroom where the teacher is the purveyor of knowledge and beyond the 1:1 classroom by creating environments that stipulate a specific way of using technology in schools. If that is the case and this is not about a simple merging of technology into effective classroom instruction, I have to ask myself, is there a need for a rallying cry in my district? They already have blended opportunities for those students who don’t “play traditional school.” We offer a number of fully weighted/advanced courses for those who want more opportunity. I can see the value in having some schools or areas within schools that provide blended settings for students and our district does that effectively.  I do not see them going to a fully blended environment because it’s not what’s best for all of our students.
     
    I am troubled by the idea from the book that there needs to be a rallying cry for schools to change to blended learning models in order to effectively reach students. While the blended learning model provides computerized instruction and perceived assessment of skills, the most important part of learning is missing: the human component. My rallying cry would be for more attention to be given to individual students by forming relationships with them and working with them to set their own goals. Then we provide an environment that offers multiple methods of meeting those goals that are not just predetermined computer programs.
     
    Forgive my skepticism, but after researching the authors, I really question the authors’ motives. Both are business professionals who have everything to benefit from districts adopting blended learning. In some way, they are linked to the companies that provide the software for the blended schools. This book feels like a big advertisement/argument for their products. The optimist in me hopes the book will acknowledge the value of a classroom teacher (beyond a mentor) and accept that maybe hybrid instruction has incredible value with appropriate technology support and professional development or that blended learning will offer opportunities for teachers to be professionals and provide ideas for ways to use the technology in a more fluid manner.

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    1. I am certainly more interested in the hybrid models where the teacher is still present and playing the role model and helping students reach those goals individually, not just supervising while the student sits on a computer to get work done. I agree in that I haven't felt that the authors have valued the teacher, but that they are placing more emphasis on the software.

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  73. I think a big push for blended learning in my school is to prepare kids for a technological future. Students will need computer skills later in school and life. We kind of rushed into every student having a laptop, but it pushed students and teachers to learn quickly and adapt. The school is always seeking to raise test scores, but the internet has all the answers and makes it easier for students to get by without thinking analytically. A big problem with technology in the classroom is students using it for personal reasons. The blocked sites list is constantly growing as kinds find new sites for games, chatting, and other forms of distraction.

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  74. The rallying cry for the school where I teach would be for RTI. We have so many gaps in learning and trying to fill the missing gaps is overwhelming. We lack the technology to completely implement a program for blended learning and I think there would be a need for professional development to retrain teachers in looking at the traditional classroom in a different way. My own children attended a small high school where they could have benefited from nonconsumption courses. Some courses because of the low number of students interested and the lack of staff to cover were not offered or were dropped from the curriculum. It is exciting to see how needs can be met through a blended learning option.

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    1. I believe it was chapter two that discussed how the disruptive model was beneficial because you could customize it to meet students where they are. I would like to observe a school where this model is used where many different learning needs are present.

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  75. We are a 1:1 school and have been for a few years. I have attended several professional developments and have come away with many "great" apps to use for my class. The problem is, never having the time to really learn what or how to use these apps. When we were given our computers, we did not have a lot of training on them. Many teachers had not even touched a computer in their life. I know as we hire the "younger" teachers and the old are retiring things will change, but we still have a handful of "old" teachers and using this new technology is something they do not want to learn and are feeling forced to use. I feel our "rallying cry" will need to start training us on the use of the applications we use in our classroom. Not just the basics, but what we can really use them for. I have stated several times that we use Canvas. I have trained myself on learning how to use it for more than just putting assignments down in the calendar. I have also begun teaching myself how to use Google, as I am finding it has a lot of perks with it.
    I agree with many of the other people who have commented on here, that a credit recovery and offering of classes that we are not able to accommodate would be very beneficial to our students. We do use Apex in our school, and it appears to be helping the students that need to recover credits. But it would be nice to have a way to offer other classes.
    Also, while reading this, I had to have a little chuckle.... I have been using SMART goals in my SPED goal writings for at least 7 years. It is a requirement that we use this.

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  76. I have been teaching in my current school for 5 years now and I have already seen so many changes in the platforms of technology that we as teachers are expected to utilize. I feel like every year we are learning something new, which can be difficult on top of all of the other things we have to do. But I do understand why; we are constantly adapting to new programs available and to what has or has not worked. One thing our head of technology is good at is listening to teacher’s requests when it comes to what works or what doesn’t and making the appropriate changes. We currently use Canvas to give our students content and even though we’ve only been using it for a year, we have already seen some changes made that benefit both teachers and students.

    I like how the authors discuss not using technology just for sake of it. I also like how they show examples of what school should not have done and how they learned from it. I think it’s all trial and error, however sometimes it’s unfortunately at the costs of students. I also believe parents should be involved in the choices as well -- the example given about the LA School district and how parents were outraged not just about the devices but also financially having to be responsible. My school is 1:1 but sometimes I wish we just had class sets. Our kids get so entitled and the computers get so personal to them since they are allowed to take them home. I’m sure most get used for non-school purposes once they leave the classroom.

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  77. This chapter really made me appreciate my school district's approach to implementing technology. I have heard of many districts that chase the flashy technology without training their teachers and the technology just becomes another thing that takes up space in the classroom. There is much to be said about researching something new to see if it will be beneficial or if the trend will burn out quickly. With that being said, I definitely see the rising use of technology in the classroom as here to stay. I never really stopped to think about the fact that by teachers teaching the students how to properly search for information online that we are shielding the students from the dark world that the internet can be. That makes it worth it right there. I also enjoyed reading how the technology was helping students who otherwise would have dropped out. Being in a more affluent district; I do worry about students having screen time at school and then going home and sitting in front of their devices for hours on end. The challenge this year will be finding a balance with manipulatives and screen time.

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  78. I agree with chapter three that it’s very important to make sure new technology will actually help schools to reach their goals and not just be crammed in for the sake of technology itself. I liked the idea of setting SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-related) goals to find ways blended learning can assist schools. I am lucky to work at a very good school with many motivated students, but I am interested in reading more to learn about how blended learning has been used to personalize instruction for students who have gaps in learning or students with specific learning differences. I am especially interested in finding out more about how schools have been using blended learning to increase reading comprehension.

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  79. Since 1:1 use of technology is still fairly new for my school corporation, I would have to say we are still determining which model of blended learning is best to improve our classrooms. To date, it seems as though most teachers are implementing the sustaining model in classrooms as they identify ways to use devices and technology. With this said I don't believe that we are missing the disruptive model completely. Whiteboards, iPads, Chromebooks etc... are used throughout the day on a regular basis and are certainly not being crammed in spaces to collect dust. At this time, we don't have students at the elementary level taking devices home. We still have a percentage of students that don't have internet access at home for the devices they use at school.

    Goals that would be great to accomplish would include garnishing more community support for 1:1 technology and bridging the gap of misunderstanding on how and why blended learning is being used in the classroom. Parental involvement with technology at home is crucial to the success of blended learning in the classroom. Perhaps if we could get more parents and stakeholders on board than we could move beyond our current level into a new one.

    If used in the appropriate way, blended learning can be an asset in helping our students succeed in the classroom. Blended learning is not a replacement for teachers but an enhancement to what is already happening in the classroom.

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    1. I love your last sentence. Blended learning is not a replacement but an enhancement. Students need contact with their teachers.

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    3. Heather, I'm curious as to how you are defining blended learning.

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  80. Since this will be the first year for elementary to have devices, I'm not sure we know what our goal is or where we see this going. In my classroom, I think I will start slow. As many other elementary teachers have stated, many of the examples are for higher classrooms so it is difficult to envision what it will look like until we are actually in it. I would like to start implementing technology in "easy" ways first. They may not be ideal but it will at least get students used to using the computer and familiar with expectations. I think as I get more comfortable with these "easy" ways, I will find it easier to implement more technology into other subjects and lessons. I think my goal for this first year will just be to become a technology rich classroom instead of full-on blended. I think that will come over the years as we become for familiar with resources and see where our students are lacking.

    Another concern I have is being able to monitor the students usage. With 26 students last year, that would've been difficult to make sure everyone was on the correct page at the same time. I think by slowly getting students used to using the devices, it will make bigger projects easier down the line.

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    1. I use Apple Classroom to monitor my students when they are on their iPads. I love this app!!

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    2. Is that a program that the corporation purchased? Is it something that the tech teams would have to install into all Chrome Books? I am not familiar with the Apple Classroom program.

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  81. Our district went from embracing New Tech at our high school to leaving New Tech and becoming a 1:1 district K-12 (IPADs for K-4 that stay at school most of the time, except for Elearning Days or fear of weather related closing and chromebooks for 6-12.) We have went from Moodle to Google Classroom. We have also used Edmentum products K-12, but our shifting a little to K-6. The district has been focusing on what we need for our English and Math classes. We use Everyday Math for K-6, and we have a new McGraw Hill adoption for 7-11 math and 9-12 English. We run our NWEA and ISTEP tests on these devices.

    The rallying cry for our district would be to clarify the expectations of technology and its use. We have freedom to use technology as a tool with an expectation to use it.

    I think we still have a problem in our rural area that not all students have internet access at home. I believe that this year we are making good progress with the adoption of new materials for math and language arts.

    We are working at many grade levels to use blended learning for areas of nonconsumption with our students working below and above grade level (Intervention and Enrichment). I think one of our goals would be to ensure that all students are receiving instruction at their working levels for some portion of the day.

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  82. My school is 1:1 with technology; each student has their own Chromebook that they are responsible for, yet, some classes refuse to use them because the students have figured out how to get around the security measures to get on games, facebook, or anything but, school content related. We also have Eno boards in almost every classroom, and my co-teacher has a SMART board. Even though we have these resources, we are not “forced” to use them, nor do we have a SMART goal, to ensure we are using these devices to benefit our students. The only time our students are “forced” to use them correctly is when we are state testing or NWEA testing. I have found, the only time I will let my students use their chromebooks is after our lesson and work is done, and if they were productive, they can play educational math games, and if they were not cooperative, they have to complete a similar lesson on Mobymax, or IXL. I think this is a huge problem and it does need to be solved. Its great that we have 1:1 technology for our students, but as a staff, it would be great if our administration took more time to teach us how to use the Chromebooks to better benefit our students and how each class can use them differently. I think it would also be helpful if we had a school wide SMART goal that ALL teachers were trying to accomplish, and if as a school, we were trying to help everyone out, when we see problems arise or we know a colleague could use some more guidance.

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    1. This lack of focus and communication has plagued our building as well. I hope sharing the idea of implementing a school-wide SMART goal PLUS each teacher having his or her own will help. That's is what I plan to work toward! :)

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  83. Several years ago, our high school tried flipping the classroom. The teacher worked late into the night and on weekends to make sure that his lessons were ready. The parents hated it. They wanted to traditional classroom back. I have no idea why they hated it, I just remember thinking about how much time it took and then it not being appreciated. Station learning is what appeals to me.
    I don't think that, in my K-4 division, blended learning is a goal, nor do we have a rallying cry. We all like to have technology and I think that most of us blend and don't realize it. However, we blend so that we can have more time with students in small groups, not so that we can be used by the school in a different way. If we were to make it a goal, it we be to have iPad use for students to complete projects, research, etc, while the teacher is working with students one on one or in small groups. While the blended learning idea is very intriguing, I don't see it being used to the extent in our school that is described int he book.

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    1. Erin,
      Great insight on how your school uses technology. I can see how giving students some ownership of projects and research through devices could be very applicable as well as individualized. My first thought is making sure that all children know how to properly use the device and HOW to research... that would be the important first steps of giving them the control. I envision a workshop approach to tech/research in the classroom. Do you and your colleagues do this with students initially?

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  84. My district is suffering right now from this "dazzle" effect. We went 1:1 with Ipads 3 years ago and it has been awful. For one, our network and wireless capacities cannot fully support the devices and I never know if things will be functioning or not. Secondly, particularly for our middle school students, the devices themselves are HUGE DISTRACTIONS. Teachers were given almost zero support for implementation and even less support for knowing how to operate the devices. I believe we have learned our lesson; Future endeavors seem to be being more heavily researched and carefully considered for the educational goals. I LOVE the focus that the SMART goal setting provides and intended to take to my building leadership.

    For me in my classroom, this chapter really helped me clarify my own goal-setting ideas. Instead if thinking about my year in a reactionary way, I am beginning to see some real goals I have for fundamentally changing the way I deliver content and, more importantly, seek to improve student skills regardless of where each person begins.

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  85. Our school is 1:1 but I must have missed the memo as to what we were aiming for. As we began the process, I felt like it was “let’s use tech because it’s trendy,” and it had nothing to do with what is better for kids. Things are getting better because we are getting more familiar with what is possible in cyberworld, but I think as a corporation we came at this all backwards. As far as a rallying cry to implement blended learning, I think it should be “Let’s do what’s best for our kids” no matter what that may look like. It should be ok to use regular textbooks too and not have someone look at you askance just because you have paper. It should depend on the students, not on what’s trendy.
    In our small school, some of our students are not challenged enough. There might be only a section or two of a subject and teachers are forced to teach to the middle. The same goes for struggling students. It is so hard to differentiate. We keep being told that we should differentiate, we try, but we are never given real examples of how to do so. And when many of us have 4 or 5 preps, it’s hard to have the time to find ways to differentiate within our classes. This is something that a blended system could address.

    Another issue is that from time to time students wind up taking a study hall or a course they don’t want because sometimes there is no other choice. I think it would be great if a student could choose a course that nobody else in the school wants. Why can’t we use blended learning to offer more courses?

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  86. This chapter addressed my concern of how my district is excited to move to 1:1 by giving students devices and a chance for individualized lessons, but has not addressed specific goals or ways to implement these tools. As mentioned in a few other posts, the conversation often focuses more about technology and applications rather than blended learning and SMART goals, etc.

    We are told to follow the SAMR model (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition) and will be at the substitution phase for awhile to allow for slower integration of the devices. There have been a few sessions on different applications, Google Classroom, etc. and the feeling of being rushed to introduce technology, but not be confident in how to do so overwhelming.

    I was familiar with the SMART goals as we do that as part of our evaluation system. To create these goals for the school as a whole regarding blended learning is what I believe to be our rally cry.

    The idea of using blended learning to offer electives that were once given at our school, but no longer exist (foreign language) is something I'd like to see. Also, allowing for remedial classes to be taken in a flex model would allow for these students to participate in elective classes during the school day (music, art, etc.) giving students creative flexibility while still focusing on core classes.

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  87. Our school has a number of technological resources that we, as teachers, are able to use. In the two years that I have been at Carmel, administrators and teachers alike have been pushing us to integrate technology into our lessons. There is talk of going one-to-one so even students that might not have a device at home would be able to become involved. As far as a "rally cry" to move towards blended learning, I don't know that we need the kind the third chapter talked about.

    That being said, I do feel that we have the opportunity to do some big things with blended learning. I have found in my math class that students are not in the classroom to create; they come to regurgitate information that they expect to be given to them (could be the subject, could be the maturity level...). With blended learning, they can explore and create to learn. Just this last school year, my students did a project in which they had to design a floor plan with specific polygons, as well as specific size restrictions. My coteacher and I discussed this project several times, and we had decided that rather than having the student draw their floor plan with paper and pencil, we would use technology. This allow students to change room sizes, move entire rooms around a floor, even calculate the area in the program. In doing this, students didn't spend so much time with the set-up of their floor plan, and were able to spend more time on other parts of the project that they were applying concepts such as surface area and volume. Next year, we could even ask students to go to a home improvement store's website and find pricing for carpet instead of giving it to them, or have them decide if they want brick siding or not... integrating the technology into the classroom should be preparing them for life beyond high school, not just a different way of presenting information.

    While my teaching experience is limited to just two years, the rally cry that my school needs is not "we need blended learning", but instead "what else can we offer to our students?" or "how can technology connect the content we are learning to what they will experience when they leave our brick and mortar walls?"

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  88. I do not believe that our school has created a SMART goal. I may be wrong though. Not all classrooms are 1:1 in our corporation. K-2 classrooms should be 1:1 in the coming years. I teach 4th grade and we have only been 1:1 for one year. We were a little overwhelmed when we heard we were going to be 1:1. We had so many people telling us different things. We weren't sure how much technology we were supposed to be implementing and how quickly. I started with one idea and once I felt like I had mastered that tool I added in a new program.

    We are a pretty small, rural corporation, and some students do not have access to the internet once they leave school. I feel .ike the amount of parent support has declined over the past few years. Yes, we have those parents that would bend over backwards and do anything to help their children,but those parents seem to be few and far between today.

    I am not sold on the blended classroom for 9-10 year olds. I use a lot of small groups and stations, but I am skeptical about young kiddos being in charge of the pace and staying on task in the classroom.

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  89. I am not sure if I could come up with a rally cry for the blended classroom. I believe that our corporation would need to start somewhere implementing the programs and using the techniques. Once a grade level starts the process and has brought the rest of the building into the mix, maybe then we could spread the ideas to the other buildings in our corporation. I see new teachers who are ready to "Change the World" of education, but don't have the experience for knowing what works in education. We also have a variety of older experienced teachers who feel "the proper way" is to use the techniques they have used for many year and had success. I feel that in order to implement a program like this, both sides (Old school and new teachers) need to be willing to listen to the other and make changes. If one side digs in and doesn't want or accept change then programs like this just won't happen.

    The small town rural school corporation that I work in often has larger financial problems to worry about that also slows the progress of implementation of programs like this.

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  90. A new initiative called Wellness 360 has taken hold in our school district. Our children have many experiences and are extremely hard workers who are self-motivated in academic and extracurricular endeavors. Additionally, parents in this community are very supportive. Naturally, there are some outliers, but that goes without saying. Therefore, we are looking to enrich children by expanding their knowledge on the importance of self-awareness and health, learning through failure, and finding balance in their lives and community.
    My questions would be: how would teaching children about a growth mindset connect to technology or a la carte classes? We are trying to help children find balance between academic rigor and a healthful lifestyle- where does technology or a la carte classes weave in? Any suggestions or comments would be helpful! Thanks!

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  91. I teach preschool and I do have a kindle for each student. I do not have them all using the kindles at one time but instead use them as a center. The kindles are used to teach students letters, numbers, letter sounds, etc. Students also use computers and I have four computer stations. Students need to learn to use the computers so when they take tests in kindergarten they know how to use the mouse to click and drag and other mouse skills. Students often do not stay on task when working on the kindles or the computers and are very smart about finding games to download that have no real academic purpose. Technology is a resource I use but my program is a 2 1/2 hour program and there are many goals and objectives that I need for students to learn that can't be taught with technology. Therefore I try to incorporate technology with the idea of setting SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-related) goals.

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  92. What do you see as a possible rallying cry in your school or district to implement blended learning? Is there a problem that needs to be solved, have you discussed a goal that you'd like to accomplish, or are there areas of nonconsumption?

    A rally cry at my school is definitely "budget!" As a small rural district with declining enrollment, we are constantly faced with present and future budget constraints that can lead to a multitude of cuts. I was especially impressed with the school in Pennsylvania that began its own virtual unit to keep students in the district. I am sure it was hard work and took additional manpower, but what benefits it brought!

    As I read I could relate where the author spoke of certain schools implementing technology for technology's sake. We have been a 1:1 iPad school for several years, but I know I am not using the iPad to its full potential in my classroom. It is my hope that this book will spur some ideas to make the iPad really be the educational tool it can be in my classroom to improve student achievement.

    As a small high school, we do have areas of nonconsumption, especially in foreign language and AP classes. Also, many students would like SAT/ACT help, so I would like to explore ideas for student-driven instruction to help students prepare for those tests.

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  93. Being new to my district I'm not sure if we have a rallying cry or SMART goal established. I personally can see many ways to implement blended learning to enhance my current teaching methods, however I am unaware of the nonconsumption issues that could be solved in our district.
    To elaborate on enhancing my current teaching methods I see a plethora of opportunities ranging from the types of products or assessments my students will be able to complete by using technology! These types of products may not be possible or take too much classroom time without the assistance of devices. I can also see a great opportunity to broaden their scope of resources which will only deepen their knowledge of a subject. Sometimes students find better resources from which to learn on their own than I the teacher can find.
    I can also see this enhancing my instruction through a more efficient way to reteach and review. So many times I wish I just had more time with certain students but the constraints of having to teach so many and on different levels keeps me from reaching that goal. Being able to differentiate more through the assistance of their devices will hopefully maximize our time.
    If I were to pick a personal rallying cry it would be "enhance my instruction". I don't have all the details worked out enough to write a SMART goal for that cry just yet...but the wheels are turning.

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  94. I loved the "smart" goals. I feel this is so important when implementing anything new inthe classroom. I think the "rallying cry" in our district is the need to keep current with the technology needs of the students and what they will need to know when they leave our schools. I'm afraid we have fallen into the "technology for technology's sake" a little bit ok the past, but I know our corporation has been doing a lot of research in how to incorporate it in a more effective way in the future. We are looking at going to a 1:1 initiative in the near future. I hope that the new technology will be used effecrively and that we will have ample training and time to incorporate new techniques.

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  95. After reviewing my school's attendance data for the past two years and reflecting on persistent parent cries for homework I think Blended Learning can offer a resource for students to "make up" missed assignments and to catch up on lost Brick / Mortar instruction. So many of our students are out for "unexecused" reasons and although I'm pursuing many avenues to combat/reduce that I think this could provide a safety net and increased student achievement as a result. Not sure if that's the best rally cry to pursue at the moment but the evidence can surely support it.

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  96. What a powerful and underestimated concept - start with the end in mind. We definitely need a clear goal for the technology before we start to use the technology! I could see my corporation rallying a cry for equalizing the opportunities across our three high schools. Two of our high schools are smaller and more rural than our one suburban, mega-high school. The students at the smaller high schools have fewer AP and foreign language classes offered. To solve this problem, for example, I know a girl who rides a bus from one school to the other in the middle of the day to take Japanese. Wouldn't it be great if she could save that commuting time each day by taking her Japanese course as an A La Carte blended learning option?

    I really like the SMART goals as defined in this chapter. I think it's important for all of us as teachers to define goals like this for each quarter. How can we personally become better at what we do? We spend so much time setting goals for our students, but it's important to, "practice what we preach" and spend some time reflecting on our own growth.

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  97. My district is 1 to 1 but I feel the biggest hurdle to start blended would be getting the parents on board. I think the district would have to do many sessions to inform parents. I also wonder about the lack of internet at home as a possible barrier. I think the rally cry would need to be teaching students to be life long learners. I think the blended is a great way to teach students to be life long learners.

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    Replies
    1. This is an excellent point! You are never too old to learn something new and we need to make sure we are developing future generations of life long learners!

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  98. My district is 1:1, and our biggest hurdle has been overcoming the stress that is associated with change. I really could relate to Horn and Stalker's statement that there is a "pressure to produce blue-ribbon results on a shoestring budget" (p. 95). Teachers and administrators constantly feel overwhelmed with the lack of time, money, and resources to needed to transition from traditional classrooms to blended learning ones, especially in low income, rural areas. Our professional development funds have been slashes, but this is exactly what is needed to help us do an excellent job. As Robert Fulghum said, "It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber."

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  99. Our district is 1:1 from 5th-12th using Chromebooks. I am entering my 3rd year trying to incorporate their use in my classroom. When our district decided to move to this idea, I don't remember a "reasoning" behind it. We teachers were encouraged to incorporate more technology, but weren't really shown HOW to do that. It took me a full year just to begin using Google Classroom. The first year, I simply used it to keep a running list of homework and send announcements to my students. The second year, I did begin using it to host my notes from class (that I delivered in front of the room) and collect written assignments. Once a week, students posted a single vocabulary sentence and I would project the sentences on the screen and review grammar rules, again with ME at the front of the classroom! Our science teachers have done a great job of using the Chromebooks seamlessly in their classes, but then ALL of their textbook and resources are online hosted in once place. As many ELA teachers know, there is not one source for our reading/writing/grammar/vocabulary curriculum. Enough griping!

    As for a rallying cry in ELA, I would say it is in the area of grammar and writing. Our district does not currently have and has not had for many years an actual curriculum source for either of these vital subjects. It has been up to our teachers to find those online practices, worksheets, prompts, and to determine the order to best teach the grammar. Imagine a classroom of students at varying levels of grammar or writing who can log in to a program designed to meet their individual needs! It would be amazing to see those students grow in both of those areas. That is my rallying cry.

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  100. Being on my school's technology (1:1) committee, I believe that the group of us have a clear expectation of what is needed for a successful launch in August. The issue that we have is most of our teachers are in the mindset of if it's not broke don't fix it. I think that most are not "afraid" of using the technology but more unprepared. We did a good job this year of offering personalized staff lead PD to help prepare our staff for the switch. They were given option almost weekly of different sessions (Google, apps, extensions, etc). Implementing these PDs having these really helped some of our leery staff come to the tech side.
    One concern that I have with going to blended learning is parental support. I have read through the comments above mine and some of you have this same concern/issue. How do we get parents to see the value in this? As I have mentioned in previous weeks, I have been tossing around the idea of a flipped classroom for my JH Alg 2. I am worried that parents and students won’t find the value in this strategy. Students would not be losing teacher lead instruction. I feel that this would lead to more discourse and real-life connections that so many math students search for. Will parents see that? If we as a junior/senior high can get more teachers, and parents, behind the use of technology I think that our goal of empowering students to become positive digital leaders will be reached by connecting to people outside the walls of our school.

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  101. As our district is moving toward 1:1, I have yet to hear a true purpose, any SMART goals, or a clear vision for this initiative. Although I am excited to be able to implement blended learning in my classes, I fear we, as a district, will have technology for the sake of having technology. Whereas I would like to do as much blended learning in my classes, I feel there must be buy-in, in the very least, at the administrative level. Goals (SMART) and vision must be discussed and in place to support this.

    Currently, in our building, we offer online classes primarily for credit recovery purposes. Being a small school, we could better utilize technology and online learning to offer electives that we are unable to offer.

    I often hear from my colleagues that they feel threatened that technology will take the place of teachers. I found the section in chapter 3 discussing turning these threats into opportunities. I think if leaders used this approach, more teachers would embrace blended learning.

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  102. As our district is moving toward 1:1, I have yet to hear a true purpose, any SMART goals, or a clear vision for this initiative. Although I am excited to be able to implement blended learning in my classes, I fear we, as a district, will have technology for the sake of having technology. Whereas I would like to do as much blended learning in my classes, I feel there must be buy-in, in the very least, at the administrative level. Goals (SMART) and vision must be discussed and in place to support this.

    Currently, in our building, we offer online classes primarily for credit recovery purposes. Being a small school, we could better utilize technology and online learning to offer electives that we are unable to offer.

    I often hear from my colleagues that they feel threatened that technology will take the place of teachers. I found the section in chapter 3 discussing turning these threats into opportunities. I think if leaders used this approach, more teachers would embrace blended learning.

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  103. For me, two main things stood out in this chapter. First and foremost, the "SMART" goals are very helpful in analyzing appropriate uses of technology. I need those specifics to help me discern what is best for kids. I admit that I can be a sucker for products that "dazzle" or hold visual appeal for me! Second, I read and reread the paragraph on p.100 about how the Quakertown district screens students before they enroll in the Infinity Cyber Academy to determine if they are likely to be successful. Does that mean that some students are not accepted into the program? Hmmm . . . that's not our reality, and the screening process could have a significant impact on their data as they analyze the success of their program.

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    1. I hadn't thought of the screening process impacting their data. That is true! But I also understand that they screen so that the program is successful. They don't want students to enter who they don't feel would benefit from it.

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  104. I most definitely view technology as an opportunity but I can see how easily the extra technological resources can become "crammed" into existing practices without SMART goals being stated and without strong leadership giving support and training along the way. I believe our district's rallying cry would be to boost student achievement with more individualized instruction and I would love to see this impact our RTI program in a positive way, however, I completely understand why a district would have more success starting with an area of non consumption. This would be a great starting point for blended learning in order to "experiment" since it is obviously better than offering the students nothing. In this way we aren't forsaking core instruction while piloting a new way of teaching - work out the kinks with non consumption so that it is a seamless transition to other areas in the core.

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  105. When we first went 1:1 about 6 years ago, we definitely put the cart before the horse. All of a sudden our middle and high school students had devices and teachers had no professional development, goals, or guidance as to what to do with it. We have since attempted to circle back and provide more PD, but we really have not set SMART goals in relation to our district expectations with instructional technology. It appears in our strategic plan and it is more about getting devices into the hands of our early elementary students - which is great! In an attempt to provide more ownership and direction from our staff who are deeply involved with instructional technology, my Technology Director and I are starting an Instructional Technology Task Force in the fall (it is actually beginning with this book study as they are participating as well). We are hopeful that this will provide some direction and guidance and will allow us to develop stronger, more focused goals and expectations for the district. We have multiple rally cries, for sure, but one major cry for us will be providing teacher ownership and direction for the coming year!

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  106. I came into my school 3 years ago. At the time, the school was a D school with a brand new principal and MANY new practices and changes being implemented to pull our school out of the hole, so to speak! Within my first year there, we raised our school grade to a C, and in my second year there, we climbed to a B. This past year, we raised to an A and a four star school.
    One of those many changes was to use data to target kids for remediation groups. I will say within the remediation groups we use a lot more of the blended learning than anywhere else in our school. We also use the data to target kids within the regular classrooms who according to data, should show high growth if pushed correctly. We, of course, would like all students to show growth, but we always target a percentage in each grade level to focus on. The bad thing is, I feel like we are targeting a select few at the bottom and throughout, but what about the rest of the students? Yes, we are doing our best to push them in the classroom, but I feel like we could do more. I think incorporating blended learning in the form of rotation labs would help differentiate our instruction allowing us to reach more potential growth. So my rally cry would be to incorporate more differentiated instruction within the classroom to reach the potential of ALL students!

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    1. I think there is a lot of power in our ability to use technology to differentiate instruction for all learners. When I work with teachers I try and focus on the power of formative assessment. That lend itself to then begin the conversation of how to then use that data to differentiate.

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  107. In my district, technology has been introduced in many ways as a sustaining innovation. We've tried to focus on the following goals:

    • Support and live our mission and vision
    • Increase engaging, rigorous student-centered learning experiences
    • Utilize equitable, anytime access
    • Develop competent and responsible future-ready citizens
    • Connect with fellow learners and experts
    • Create digital content and virtual/online learning experiences
    • Connect to digital age learning environments anytime, anywhere
    • Prepare for success in future college, career, and life pursuits 

    For us, our rallying cry started with the development of our vision and mission. From there, we tried to focus on learning goals that would allow us to update our classrooms into modern learning environments. I totally agree with the statement, “Why ignore an opportunity to improve on what already exists?” At the same time, we've been working to fill gaps of nonconsumption. We continue to use technology as a part of our MTSS processes as remediation tools for struggling students. We offer online and virtual courses for students behind on credits in summer school and throughout the school year.

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  108. My rallying cry would be tailor made professional development for different subjects. I used to teach in Collier County FL which is a very large district. We had seven high schools in the system. We would have PD days that were specific to our subjects. I loved those, and would take so much away. What I can use in technology would not have meaning or use to the math department and vice versa. I can't stand meetings and PD that have no relationship to my subject. It feels like I could use my time in a much more productive way. No, I know I could.

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    1. I agree with what you have to say. I feel that when I attend many of our PD days, the presenter teaches AP, IB, or honors classes. I know that what they are demonstrating works wonderfully in their classrooms, but I always walk away thinking that would never work with the students I have in my classes. I would like to see some more "tailor made" PD days, that would be more specific to my content and the students I work with in my class. This way I wouldn't walk away feeling that I could have used my time in a much more productive way as well.

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  109. As my corporation moves closer and closer to 1:1, they do seem to have a clear plan. It has been a very methodical process and it has involved training and professional development opportunities for staff, outstanding tech support, increasing bandwidth in our buildings, and providing digital citizenship training for our students. It is quite impressive!
    I mentioned last week that I have started to scratch the surface of blended learning in my 90 minute reading block, but after thinking about it, I realize that I am also applying blended learning to my RTI time. However, I look at my colleagues and they are doing absolutely amazing things with technology in their classrooms in nearly all disciplines and subject areas. I admire their management, planning, implementation of the technology available to us in our corporation.
    So, this fall as I prepare for a new year with a new batch of students, I realize that it's not so much about my corporation's rally cry as it is about my own personal rally cry. I feel like I have the technological and personal resources available that I need to be successful, but I need to develop my own SMART goals as I personally make my own transition to blended learning. And, while the concept is fairly new to me in terms of a clearly defined goal and initiative, I have what I need to be successful if I start by identifying one or two personal and clear objectives at the start of the year to develop and build upon.
    I can easily become overwhelmed with the task at hand, especially since I feel like my corporation is so organized and helpful. I am anxious, yet excited to dive even deeper into the technology my corporation has to offer.

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    1. I think it is wise for your corporation to consider all the possibilities and how to implement the technology beforehand. I also look at all the technology that is available to us and become overwhelmed by what is best and how can I make this work for myself and, more importantly, my students. It is also important to pick the style of blended learning that works best for your class at this time. I feel some places are ready for the disruptive style of blended learning, while others need to take that move more slowly for everyone, teachers and students, to be completely on board. Good luck in your technology journey!

      Delete
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  112. Please disrgard my post above. I had to do 2 weeks in one and pasted the wrong reply. below is my response for the 3rd week. I am sorry.

    The rallying cry in my school would be more like an out-cry of fear should blended learning become a mandate. There truly is only one reason for this and it is availability. We now have machines that have only improved one thing- the students ability to score higher on games. There has not been enough front loading of proper devices or training and with this limitations [ no games, no IM, no photos] have not been installed from the beginning. They [the devices] are having trouble being used simultaneously in the school for testing, they are having trouble printing from the, typing from them is not very user friendly and it all needs to change should this become a mandate for our schools. It’s as if we we were thrown into the deep end of using/ implementing/ and troubleshooting devices and told to swim or sink. I believe most of our staff members sunk. I so want this to change, but it is to the point that I have often said to many different levels of people in the school- administration to student- “My chalk works every time I pick it up”
    I think the rallying cry would be “It better be different this time … or else!” This may seem harsh, but many staff members have implemented programs only to find they don’t work, tried to use video clips only to have the system down and that makes for many a skittish learner as far as trial and error for using blended learning… again… my chalk always works. Open to try? Sure. Gung Ho about it? No. Gun shy due to past experience.

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    1. There was a teacher at my school who was actually marked down on his evaluation because he wrote something on the white board in his room instead of on the SmartBoard. Gotta prove that you're justifying the district's expense on technology! I agree with SO MANY things f the points you made on your post--the days when the server is down again so kids can't access what I need them to, the month when my overhead bulb burnt out and I couldn't use my Apple TV, the struggles with trying to use Compass Odyssey to individualize grammar/ mechanical skills only to discover that the curriculum was not that impressive (and the program did strange things on the iPad any way. Sigh. In particular, I like your suggested rallying cry.

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  113. There is some irony for me in that a "rallying cry" should also be SMART. We use SMART goals for our self evaluation models and we are instructed over and over again on the importance of making sure it is indeed a SMART goal. However, a few years ago when we first went to 1:1, our goal was pretty vague and open ended. It was much more tech driven than academically driven. The rationale was that tech was important and that we as teachers should use the tech as we felt best. Out IT dept. (mostly non educators at the time) wanted us to discover for ourselves how to "blend" the tech and the curriculum and we were given the LMS of My Big Campus. (FORE OH FORE!) At the time many of us found it completely frustrating and a somewhat futile endeavor. We spent an entire school year learning the Tech device and the LMS and not really discussing how it was going to impact education, especially how it would impact student thinking and learning. Now, I realize that was a bit of a blessing in disguise because not having the SMART goal defined for me, has allowed me to be more personal in my approach to incorporating tech. For me the "Rallying CRY" is increased student achievement in reading comprehension. Some of my students are at risk for not passing ISTEP due to low reading comprehension scores. I have tried to spend my time investigating websites that allow students to engage in text and discussion. My favorites are from the Smithsonian and an app called VERSO. That being said I still feel like there aren't enough online places that help students direct their own learning in this area. Math has ALEX but what is there available for Lang. Arts? I wish we had more time in our PD at my school to really investigate and research sites available that would impact the LA classroom. i'm open to suggestion. Please feel free to reply! Thanks in advance!

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  114. I was nodding my head in agreement through much of this chapter. This spring I watched a documentary on PBS about education; wish I could remember what it was called (I have a tendency to binge watch PBS). Anyway, one particular claim in it really stood out to me: the last major innovation in the delivery o instruction was the blackboard. Everything we've done since then has been a re-hashing (sustained innovation? Hybrid?) of everything else we've already done.i was watching the documentary on the SmartBoard in my classroom while entering grades. Situational irony.

    I definitely think my district heard the siren song that is technology and turned the ship in that direction mainly because other top-level schools in our area had done so. I'm sure there was talk of changing education for students, but like at least one other teacher posted, one of the main things they've learned to do is play games. I'm not sure that most of the teachers on my staff use it as more than a sophisticated way to deliver the same type of content that we did before. And I am guilty as charged.

    This next year, I want my personal rallying cry to be "Am I being SMART about how I'm instructing my kids?" I guess that's a rallying question, not a cry. But I want to use the SMART idea when it comes to how I work within my room. My district's answer to almost everything is "Here's a new app! Here's an hour (half hour?) of training on it! Your technology coach is only available one day a week in your building, and you must use your prep or personal time to meet with her!" Craziness.

    Just one more thought : I feel like one of the things I could better spend my time on is giving feedback on student writing; I was excited to see this as one of the core opportunities listed. It immediately started me thinking about how I could create time for this by utilizing technology more effectively.

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  115. When reading the third chapter, I was extremely interested in reasons schools would implement blended learning. To me, the main reason that stood out was providing opportunities to students who would otherwise have limited educational experiences without blended learning. It seems that if goals and areas of nonconsumption were appropriately addressed by leaders when planning, blended learning could open new doors of opportunity for students and educators. Working in a rural district with financial concerns due to low enrollment numbers, integration of blended learning appears to be a valid option for consideration.

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  116. As an adult educator, our entire program is geared toward an area of previous nonconsumption. These students have struggled in the traditional classroom setting, which has broth them to our door. I feel our problem is using the same style as the traditional K-12 classes with our nontraditional students. Some of our teachers have begun moving towards a blended learning environment by implementing the use of computer software to track student growth. Unfortunately, this is not used by all of our teachers and we have had complaints about the effectiveness of the software we use.
    I would like to browse other software options and use that in one or two of our classrooms as testing sites. I like the setup of the Individual Rotation model. I believe this model would be most effective for our students who come in with a wide range of previous academic knowledge. I would like to collect data on how our students perform with this style of learning and compare it to our previous years of teaching. After one year, I would like to see an increase of 20% of our students obtaining level gains after 40 hours of class time. After evaluating this method of teaching at the end of the year, if it has been effective, I would like to use a blended learning approach in all of our adult education courses.

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