Blended Learning: The Classroom of the Future?

I recently read a fascinating NPR article called “Meet the Classroom of the Future.” It describes the experience of a sixth grade class in Brooklyn, NY as they implement blended learning in an effort to increase student scores. The article defines “blended learning” as “combination of human capital and technology” in a classroom.

Blended Learning STICKER

 

Here are three excerpts from the article I thought were interesting:

“Beneath all the human buzz, something other than humans is running the show: algorithms. The kind of complex computer calculations that drive our Google searches or select what we see on our Facebook pages. Algorithms choose which students sit together. Algorithms measure what the children know and how well they know it. They choose what problems the children should work on and provide teachers with the next lesson to teach. This combination of human capital and technology is called “blended learning.” And regardless of whether it makes you uneasy, the program, Teach to One, seems to be serving Boody Jr. High well. A recent study of the 15 schools using Teach to One, had mixed results, but showed they are outperforming their peers nationally on average.”

“When these sixth graders get to class, they either log onto their laptop or check a monitor at the front of the room. It tells each student where to go — the room is quasi-divided by book shelves and small dividers into 10 sections… The computer also tells them what kind of lesson they’ll do.”

“Whether [the students have understood the lesson] or not, the algorithm will ultimately find out. At the end of class the kids do a short quiz called an “exit slip,” which the algorithm uses to gauge what they’ve learned. In five questions, this exit slip gives the algorithm the information it uses to decide which students will be grouped together the next day, and what work each of them will do. In a sixth-grade class, in theory, students might be working on everything from 4th grade level math to 8th grade level math. Around 5 p.m. every day, teachers get an alert telling them how students will be grouped and what lessons they’ll need to teach.”

This concept of blended learning is very interesting. As the article indicates, there are many pros and cons. One of the main concerns is that these algorithms end up teaching to standardized tests. I haven’t researched the idea enough to have a solid opinion for or against. The article ends with this sentence: “What remains unclear is the point at which standardization begins to take away from those other educational hallmarks: creativity and critical thinking.”

What do you think of this idea? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

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Telling Time Worksheets – Blank

Time telling STICKERAs standardized testing draws near, it’s time to review! I made this blank clock worksheet so I can draw in the hands to review whole hours, half hours, to the minute, etc. depending on the grade I’m teaching. When making materials, I try to make them transferable between grades when possible. I’ve made 2 whole sheet pages and a half-sheet.

Click here for the free, printable PDFs:
Bubble Time – Blank
Bubble Time 2 – Blank
Crazy clocks – Blank

Awesome Test Prep Ideas

test prep ideasIt’s official. Test review season is upon us! Here are some ideas to help make your standardized testing prep a little less painful and more effective:

  • Play TONS of review games. Change up the teams frequently for the best results. Click here for a list of BOMBtastic review games!
  • Come up with a theme and a mascot to cheer you on. Use the theme in review games, certificates of achievements, rewards, etc.
  • Laminate station rotation tracking charts and have kids use overhead markers to track their progress through the stations.
  • Use your old benchmark tests as review questions for your review games.
  • Start a review system early on in the year, so your kids will not have to go as long between learning new content and the standardized test.
  • “Test prep does not always have to take place at a desk with a number 2 pencil in hand.  Instead, try having students answer questions in one of the following ways:
  • Label each wall in your classroom either A, B, C, or D. When reviewing answers, have students move to the wall labeled with the multiple-choice answer they chose.
  • Give students different colored pieces of paper or Popsicle sticks.  Each color can correlate to a multiple-choice answer (red is A, blue is B, etc.).  Have students hold up the color based on which answer they chose.
  • Turn your classroom into a museum by creating a gallery walk. Hang test prep questions around the classroom, students can move silently, in partners, or to music to the different “exhibits” around the room. They can then answer the questions on a worksheet or in a notebook that they carry around the room with them.” (Bottom four bullet points from Ashley, Teach For America)

Need more ideas? Check out my golfing review game or no prep Jeopardy.

Teacher Memes/Cartoons- 9

Don’t we just love standardized testing…

Getting Kids Pumped for Standardized Testing

Here’s a cute video submitted by an AZ elementary school. The AZ state test is called AIMS, and the video is a parody of Taio Cruz’s song, “Dynamite”. They made this video and used it to get the kids jazzed about the upcoming tests. Great idea!

Click here to see their video on YouTube.

Sneaking Graphs into Your Classroom

The ability to interpret graphs is a crucial skill in today’s world of standardized testing. Here are some creative ways elementary school teachers have brought graphing into their classroom:

P1030250 P1030322

How have you brought graphing into your classroom?

Click here for more free math stuff!