My original Innovation Plan was to incorporate the Blended Learning Model into my Graphics Design classes. After reading about influencing my peers, creating crucial conversations, and watching numerous videos in this course, I have come to the realization that I must influence and involve other teachers on my campus to adopt this method in order for the students to receive the digital skills needed for life after high school. We must empower other teachers with the knowledge to design blended lessons appropriate for their subject matter.
I started my teaching career as a business teacher in 1988. Technology has evolved, Professional Development has evolved, but the mindset of SOME teachers has not. Each year when we begin a new school year, there is always the latest and greatest invention that is going to raise our test scores, integrate technology into the curriculum, boost self-esteem, change the way teachers are evaluated, and the list goes on. The one constant that I have noticed is that most of our teachers are reluctant to change. We sit through the meetings thinking about getting our classrooms ready for that first day of school. There is no true buy in to the new innovation unless the teachers are personally motivated to try the latest and greatest. I think I can influence my coworkers by modeling the behaviors that I want them to buy in to. If we want our students to thrive in the digital world, we must provide the education that our students deserve. We all want our students to be employable and productive citizens. They deserve to have an educational experience in high school that will help them seek and reach their wildest dreams.
Three years ago, I attended one of these faculty meetings where a young administrator at a previous school started a faculty meeting with a kahoot.it. As a technology teacher, I was fascinated, but as I looked around the room at the seasoned teachers, I saw panic on their faces. I’m sure they were thinking about adding one more layer to their busy day just to accommodate technology integration. If only half of those teachers felt comfortable enough to try this form of assessment and review, there would be a level of excitement to spread throughout the campus. Personally, my students come to class each day wanting a kahoot.it and they are keeping me on my toes to have something new and relevant every day.
The results that I want to achieve with my Innovation Plan is to incorporate the blended learning model into my classroom by May 26, 2017. I plan to set a goal of using this method at least 50% of each class versus the traditional method of teaching. I will measure the results by calculating the number of hours teaching using this model. But, what is my ultimate goal? How can I influence those around me to use the blended learning method?
Fortunately, I already have two other teachers on board with me. Since most of the assignments for my students are project-based, there will be electronic evidence that can be viewed by other faculty and staff online or through e-mail. I believe that there will be those reluctant staff members who won’t even attempt to change, but there will be some just curious enough to take a look at the new way of teaching. How do I influence those who are reluctant to give it a try?
In Joseph Grenny’s book Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, there are six sources that influence others. I must be able to motivate others around me to try the blended method. I believe I can provide example lessons plans and examples to the faculty and staff that will inspire at least half of the faculty to try one lesson. Peer pressure will probably kick in once the whirlwind of the first days of school slow down a bit. I can then identify those teachers who have the ability to try the blended learning and offer assistance with the logistics of transferring paper and pen assignments to digital assignments.
Another avenue to approach is using rewards and incentives for those teachers who are actively trying the blended learning method. Each school year, teachers are required to create personal goals in the classroom. If we can tie in at least one personal goal per teacher to incorporate blended learning by at least 10% next year, there would be an incentive to the “killing two birds with one stone” mentality. One type of incentive would be to award those teachers who are effectively using the blended method in their classroom with additional technology or upgraded technology in their classroom.
If I could only get the other faculty members to see how much the students embrace this type of learning and how blended learning really does authenticate their learning. If only the faculty members could see more lightbulb moments in our students, I know they would at least try one or two components of blended learning. My ultimate goal is to have teachers who will assist each other in developing lessons and lesson plans. I believe meetings need to be held at least twice per month to keep the motivation strong, answer questions, add ideas, see project examples, and work through difficulties. Eventually, these meetings will be held weekly to track results and provide feedback.
Finally, student work should be showcased around campus and at school board meetings for the public to view. Students will need to keep all of their projects in an electronic portfolio that can be used as evidence of completed work for post-secondary education and the workforce.