Today Contributor: My name is Elizabeth Mikeska, and I am the librarian at Wooldridge Elementary School. I love connecting literacy to making and creating in our library makerspace. When I’m not at work I love to hike with my family and sing karaoke!
This year I decided we needed a shift in our thinking about blended learning and incorporating technology tools into lessons on our campus. For the past two years I feel like the push for blended learning was being confused with the platform of BLEND, itself. The teachers on my campus were NOT having it. I tried to encourage them to use BLEND. I gave them examples of how to use it in the classroom. I had them see BLEND in action from the ONE classroom teacher using it. I had my TDC meet with them to try a different approach. Nope. They wouldn’t bite.
I get it…it’s hard to add new things to your tool belt when you feel completely overwhelmed by the already demanding expectations put on you as a teacher. So, I decided it was time for something different. I asked my TDC for help on showing our teachers technology tools that would encourage blended learning and that could be immediately incorporated into daily lessons or stations already in place.
With a lot of support (thanks Josephine!) we designed a flexible rotation model for our first DOI day of the semester. It was a huge success! Teachers were able to pick and choose from different tech tools and each session was led by teacher experts from our campus. A google survey was sent out beforehand to determine who had knowledge about the tools and was willing to share out. We were able to have them experience three different tech tools and leave the pd with a one-pager filled with others they could explore.
The feedback I received from teachers and administrators was overwhelmingly positive and inspiring. Teachers would stop me in the hallway in the weeks to come to tell me how their kiddos had been loving Chatterpix or Animoto or other tools. It made me feel hopeful and that blended learning just might have a better chance of surviving on our campus! This was a first step…a baby step…but a great beginning to shifting our thinking to having blended learning be part of our everyday teaching.