Today’s Contributor: Christine Paterson teaches Social Studies at Navarro Early College High School. She has 11 years of high school classroom experience teaching Social Studies, 7 of them in New York City. She is a novice baker, loves to read, and is excited to take on the new challenge of CIC!
Stepping into the role of CIC this year has been both exciting and intimidating. As a result of my two years in the first cohort of the Blended Learning and Transformative Technology Leadership Pathway, I felt like I was brimming with ideas and armed with so many tools, but I was still wondering, “How could I enact change and share what I’ve learned with others?” For many years now I have believed in the power of modeling change at all levels, so I made sure modeling was part of the conversation I had with administration when they asked me to take on this role. Part of my focus as CIC has been getting administration to see the power of blended learning. Using the group function on Blend to create a space for PLCs to submit minutes and reflections is one way our admin team is becoming more familiar with the functionality of Blend. The process has not been perfect and it took a lot of time and help from our fabulous TDC but it was worth the challenges because it has provided our administration team with a better understanding of some of the benefits of using Blend. We discussed Speedgrader and have a plan for how the admin team can model giving feedback to PLC groups, which makes submissions more meaningful.
Besides the Blend LMS specifically, we have also worked really hard to model blended learning in our PDs. Not only has our PD team used Blend as a place to model campus initiatives, we have also really worked on embedding useful technology tools and constructing modules that reflect what we are doing in the classroom. In addition, we have made concerted efforts to provide teachers with a more personalized learning experience. In presenting the 6 Cs, we offered a variety of sessions so that teachers felt empowered to choose what they felt would be meaningful for them personally. Based on teacher feedback, this seems to have worked! Feedback included teachers saying,“Great to have choices and see how they apply to the 6Cs” and “Loved the take-away activities that we could take back to the classroom.”
In addition, one of the things we are most proud of is using the power of video recording to bring other teacher experts on campus and students’ experiences into the classroom for the C of Connectivity. We created a Padlet with interviews of teachers describing how they extend learning beyond the classroom and students describing the impact of this on their learning experience. One teacher responded, “I thought the feedback from students about what connectivity looks like to them was especially helpful as I feel that it’s easy to only view issues from our perspectives. It was great to see what an impact Austin Bat Cave had on [student].” Most of the feedback reflected similar sentiments and now our goal is to continue to add on and create a repository with more examples from core classes.
Now that we have all had an introduction to the 6 Cs, we are excited to complete a deeper dive in the spring. Teachers will choose which C they want to become an expert in with the intention of empowering all teachers to feel like they can facilitate PD on campus next year. We plan on using Playlists or May Do Must Do lists in order to continue with a more personalized learning experience, which is another way for us to model blended learning campus-wide!