Today’s Contributor: Laura Rice
I teach 7th grade advanced science at Small Middle School. This is my 8th year at Small. For the past three years I have been a member of the AISD Science Technology Cohort where I have learned a lot of uses for technology and I am excited to now be the Campus Innovation Coach.
When I was first introduced to BLEND I could not wrap my head around how to get started. I was caught up in what the “content” of the lesson would look like on BLEND, when in fact my BLEND skills were too limited to accomplish something equivalent to lessons I was currently using in my classroom.
I attended the Blended learning summit in May and the CIC training in early June. By July, when I attended BLEND 101, I was beginning to panic that I had nothing ready to start the school year. After BLEND 101 I realized that I first needed to practice the mechanics of BLEND before I went forward with creating assignments. I set up a module called “Welcome to my Classroom”. I created content pages for each of the topics on my Weebly website. Using that existing information I built a “website” on BLEND as my homepage. This gave me an opportunity to practice all of the skills needed to build modules on BLEND.
As I built this module, I uploaded pictures to each page and learned the mechanics of uploading forms that students would need. I also built a practice quiz on the expectations for my classroom. After that I created a calendar for upcoming deadlines. During our August 15th PD with teachers I introduced this idea as a launching point to help teachers get started. Many of them embraced the idea and got started right away on BLEND.
Since school has started I have expanded my use of BLEND. The students have really appreciated that I have been able to upload upcoming assignments onto BLEND. Many of them have taken advantage of this and downloaded the assignments at home to submit to me in class. I have also shown them the calendar and how lessons are stacked from each teacher. More and more I am seeing students make use of this feature and having great success with BLEND.
Editor’s Note: BLEND is Austin ISD’s new Digital Learning Space. Built on the Canvas platform, BLEND can be used for personalization, communicataion, collaboration and organization. AISD teachers and students will connect, design and learn in powerful ways using this new platform. Are you an AISD teacher? What will you design?