Monday, March 12, 2012

Bytes and Bits – Transforming Traditional Classrooms into Digital Spaces

The School District of Janesville is exploring blended learning. Blended Learning is focused on the marriage between our traditional classrooms (face-to-face) and online learning (over the web). Our first Moodle class for educators, which includes 18 colleagues, is prompting us to think about today’s learners and how they learn best in a digital learning world.

Questions we are exploring:

How do we engage students who are typically less involved in classroom discussions – the shy, introverted, or daydreamers?

How do we hook our students to use the technology to collaborate, publish, and interact ethically online?

How do we motivate all of the learners through interactive web resources, through assessment design and differentiation, discussion forums, collaborative wikis and rigorous assignments?

How can we reach out to our families so they understand this new learning landscape?

One teacher in the blended learning class had this to say: “Our digital-age teachers and classmates are thinking harder, communicating more with each other than in a regular face-to-face class. They are applying technology and teaching skills to design a blended learning class.” It takes a lot of courage to take risks with technology, but teachers are seeing the results of their efforts.

Another teacher said, “We are challenging students to use their technology (phone, iPad, iPod, computer, etc.) to discover knowledge and be critical thinkers; to have the perseverance to creatively and collaboratively solve real-world problems; and to honor each other’s diversity and points of view by respectfully communicating in an online environment.”

Whether today’s village is made of bricks and mortar or bits and bytes; it takes the entire village to raise our children – parent, grandparents, community members, teachers and students. Help us redefine our future by adding your comments to this blog. We want to know how you see yesterday’s classrooms being transformed for today’s learners.

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