Blended learning, a recipe for student success

With the advent of online learning and iPad usage, traditional learning models in the district needed to be reinvented. Blended learning is the result. It’s a national education program that combines online learning at home with face-to-face teacher-guided practice in a brick-and-mortar school. Built for today’s technologically driven society, blended learning is designed to deliver a highly personalized education for each student.

Personalized education

Students control the time, place and/or pace of their learning. Teachers no longer make one lesson plan for everyone, but facilitate learning with different students taking different lessons at the same time in the same class.

According to Kahle Charles, Executive Director of Curriculum for St. Vrain Valley Schools, blended learning is all about maximizing student engagement both online and in a more traditional school environment with a teacher who helps each student apply what they’ve learned.

“Blended learning deepens a student’s knowledge and mastery of a subject  while encouraging critical thinking every step of the way,” said Charles.

Flipped classroom an integral part of blended learning

Flipped classroom learning was introduced nationally in 2007 and has been implemented in five St. Vrain Valley Schools with a goal of introducing the program districtwide. The primary delivery of content and instruction is online and off-site in place of traditional homework, with face-to-face facilitation taking place in class. Schools currently using the program include: Coal Ridge Middle School, Longmont High School, Mead Elementary School, Thunder Valley K-8 and Timberline PK-8

Purposeful exploration at home

With 20-30 minutes of purposeful online education at home, the learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. Students become interested in a particular subject and can continue exploring that subject more critically at home.

Anne Atherton is a teacher and Job Shared E-Learning Coordinator for the district. She trains teachers to work with the blended learning/flipped classroom collaborative program. One example of blended learning is when students watch a video on a particular subject at home, then take a quiz online to see what they’ve learned.

“If they don’t pass the first time, they can re-watch the video, take the test again and proceed at their own pace," said Anne Atherton, Job Shared E-Learning Coordinator & Science Teacher at Longmont High School. "The next day, their classroom teacher assesses the results and helps the student based on their particular needs. It really brings the classroom alive.”