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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Thinking about blending instruction? Tips for getting started!

Thinking about blending instruction? Blended learning environments (classrooms utilizing a mix of face-to-face learning and digital instruction) provide a number of benefits to student learning. Students can work at their own pace, instruction can be differentiated across multiple levels, and the use of technology for learning prepares students for the future.

One of the biggest changes for students in a blended learning environment, though, is the need to work more independently and to rely on peers as resources, and less on the teacher as the main source of information.

That being said, there is some scaffolding that you'll need to do in order to create a blended learning environment in your classroom that runs smoothly:

1) Don't take a teacher group during the first few blended sessions
-Students will need to practice independence
-It will take students some time to get used to using resources other than the teacher when they need help
-Provide a poster or "cheat sheet" for students to access when they help figuring out where to go when they have a question

2) Put "tech help" policies in place so that students won't get slowed down and won't need to disturb the teacher group when a tech issue arises.
-Consider having student tech leaders in class to assist with this

3) Create an "Ask 3" rule to encourage students to use each other as a resource for help first.

4) What other resources do students have in class for help?
-During whole class lessons, take notes on chart paper, posters, or have students take notes in journals
-Create a subject-based/topic-based walls
-Create a class website where lesson notes are posted (or a YouTube channel where video notes and lesson videos are posted)
**Make sure that students have a variety of places to access information

5) Be thoughtful about what lessons you blend.
-Some lessons might be easier for students to understand if taught live by the teacher (in which case, maybe you do a station rotation as opposed to differentiated instruction) or whole class (ie. multi-step problem solving lessons, etc.)

6) Don't expect things to go perfectly the 1st time... or the 2nd, or the 3rd... students need to learn the model and practice the model before they get good at it.
-Try blending a couple of simpler lessons the first few times, that students can feel successful learning independently in a digital format

7) Keep it short!
-If students can't sit still listening to you lecture live, a video doesn't make it any better. Think 1 minute for each year of their age.

**Have some more tips for getting started with blended learning? Share them below!


  1. Great tips- thanks for sharing through the #educoach challenge! - Amy

  2. Thank you for your practical helpful hints!