Reply – Re: Topic #1: Introduction to the Online Learner
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Re: Topic #1: Introduction to the Online Learner
— by Kimberly Knapp Kimberly Knapp
I teach 5th grade literacy at Vernon Middle School in Marion, IA.  Currently, I am not aware of any blended learning going on in our school, but a few teachers are beginning to move that way. Our district hired substitute teachers for a day and allowed us to visit a classroom, in another district, that implements blended learning.  It was great to see blended learning in action and truly got me thinking about how to plan and teach differently.  

Each classroom at Vernon has 16 Chromebooks for use.  This makes it a bit difficult to create a full classroom plan, but usually, we are able to snag Chromebooks from another classroom in order to make sure each student has a computer to use.  I feel like the literacy classroom has some great advantages for using a blended classroom structure.  With the difference in learners and learning styles a blended learning classroom can be structured at a  slower pace for the struggling learner and create more challenges for the more gifted learners.  Not to mention the average learners would be able to push themselves, too. I like the fact that while blended learning is going on I could pull kids and work with them in small groups on any concepts they are struggling with.

Some challenges I could see with implementing blended learning is not having a one to one Chromebook ratio for students. Having only 16 computers in the classrooms has taught us to be very creative when we are planning lessons.  At times, also, our internet is interrupted and this causes some major issues. I also worry about some students knowledge of computers.  You would think in this day and age all of our students are able to operate a computer.  But, there are still a few who struggle. It's a learning curve that we need to be aware of while using blended learning.

One item that stood out to me in the introduction is how important blended learning is for our students.  The 21st Century skills learned from a blended learning classroom will be with our students into their adulthood.  Blended learning will impact their learning, communication skills, and help students to be more well rounded. It will be important to plan lessons well to better prepare my students for their future.