After much research on Blended Learning/Authentic Learning over the last online course, I revised my Literature Review to reflect more current information. I was pleased to learn that Blended Learning is allowing more learners access to education all around the world. Are there roadblocks, sure. Did everything work out perfectly in each case, I would say not. Were there lessons learned throughout the implementation through final stages, definitely. My innovation plan focuses on blended learning in my Graphic Design class at the high school level. But, I feel that there are many opportunities to expand the blended learning platform throughout my district. Professional development could be adapted to the Blended Learning method, tutorials, more course offerings, homebound students, alternative education students, and students who are frequently absent.
What worked? I created a one-semester course in Blackboard by using coursesites. I submitted my plan to the new Director of Technology and met face-to-face with him to show him exactly what I need for the district to purchase and support for my plan to be successful. I am still patiently waiting for an so answer. As you all know in education, funding is always an issue. If we can not implement my plan due to lack of funding, at least I can submit a proposal for funding for the next school year.
What didn’t work? Where shall I start? Administration turnovers, network issues since day one of school (due to funding), new textbook adoption has me duplicating my online course on two different sites (twice the work), new software requires a huge amount of processing speed that my current computers don’t have. My lab will not be updated until next year. Another area that needs adjusting is the self-paced portion of my plan. Some students are taking advantage of the self-paced aspect, but some are falling behind and not meeting deadlines. Other students are going extremely fast and I am afraid that they will finish at least three weeks before the semester deadline.
How to apply lessons learned. First, be patient. I should have started out with a more detailed plan on how I could get the funding and resources that I needed, then roll out the plan next year. I need to do spend more time on how to teach through Blackboard instead of being the student on Blackboard. I am going to try to find workshops or network communities this summer to actually beef up my skills on Blackboard.
The huge whirlwind that we learned about in a previous course seems to be drawing me in each week. One big mistake I made since starting my innovation plan is taking on more responsibilities at work. I must learn how to say no. Our whirlwind not only happens at school but also at home. Again, I bit off more than I could chew.
Bottom line – don’t bite off more than you can chew. Change is constant – learn how to embrace it.