It is no secret that there are many Blended Learning definitions, and they mean different things to different teachers. As schools look to implement Blended Learning, we’ll explore seven models and how Odysseyware can support classroom, school, and district goals.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended Learning is an instructional approach. It’s a way that we combine in-person instruction and integrate technology into our classrooms. In a nutshell, it blends face-to-face learning with opportunities for students to integrate with technology while learning in class. It does not replace the teacher!
According to an iNacol report on Blended Learning,
Horn and Staker’s definition expresses that “blended learning is any time a student learns, at least in part, at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home and, at least in part, through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace. The modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience” (Horn & Staker, 2013).
Think back to the time we thought the use of calculators in our classrooms was the best thing since Velcro! It was innovative and exciting, and schools were trying to figure out how to integrate them into instruction – such as how and when. This, in essence, could be considered an ‘old school’ version of Blended Learning. It was the integration of technology into our ‘brick-and-mortar’ classrooms.
Fast forward to today and our technology has simply evolved. We have tablets, laptops, and smart phones. We use cutting-edge software such as Microsoft®, Apple®, and Adobe® products. Some of us might have voting ‘clickers’ and smart boards. We might be encouraging our students to create a culminating project in the form of a video or presentation. These are all forms of Blended Learning that are taking place in our classrooms on a daily basis.
What sometimes gets a little murky is when we start throwing in other education ‘buzz words’ that represent how we are implementing our Blended Learning approach. And the why we choose different models varies in classrooms and schools depending on goals and needs. Within the “big umbrella” definition of the Blended Learning approach, you can find multiple models in which Blended Learning can be leveraged.
What are Models of Blended Learning?
The various models of Blended Learning are often times what we as teachers are most used to using in our classrooms – we just might call them something different, or not call them anything at all because it’s just something we’re doing because it’s helping our students to learn best.
Models vary in the way:
- the teacher plays a role,
- the physical environment in which the learning is taking place,
- how instruction and learning is being delivered, and
- the flexibility of pace and place of learning.
Let’s explore seven Blended Learning Models (as established by Blending Learning Universe) that we may be currently using or are interested in trying out – and how Odysseyware can be leveraged for each.
Do you wish you could build computer lab time into a student’s schedule? Maybe your school is already doing this, as it’s been a popular choice for many years now. A Lab Rotation Model would be similar to how our students rotate through different subject area classes already. However, in this model students would have a ‘lab’ time built into their schedule in which they would go to the computer lab where online learning occurs. Lab time is built into the student’s schedule.
Odysseyware can support a Lab Rotation Model through giving schools the capability to leverage more than 300 standards-aligned courses and instructional materials in core subjects, enriching electives, CTE courses, and college and career readiness test prep.
This model is another very popular approach already in place in many classrooms, especially in the elementary classroom. In this model, teachers have set-up stations in which students rotate through at fixed times. Teachers may also refer to this model as “centers.” For example, in one of my classrooms, I had four, twenty-minute rotations set-up during my 75-minute math block. Students rotated through the different activities – including one with me that was teacher-led instruction and one of which was a form of online learning instruction.
The Odysseyware platform and the integration of ClassPace™ can help teachers with their Station Rotation Model. ClassPace is a flexible, easy-to-use digital resource tool with a powerful bank of standards-aligned content resources and real-time data dashboard. Teachers can quickly differentiate instruction in minutes, monitor progress, and quickly define next steps.
Download The Design Rationale of ClassPace™ whitepaper to learn how this powerful and flexible resource can bring any Blended Learning classroom to life!
This model is similar to the above model, but instead of small groups of students moving to stations at fixed times, individual students move through stations on their own individual schedules. This model is much more personalized to the individual student because they may not be rotating to every station. They are working on their own ‘playlist’ that is uniquely theirs.
Odysseyware’s ClassPace was developed with differentiation in mind. Teachers can group students into content practice and individual students can work through their own Playlist – allowing for high student agency.
The Flipped Classroom Model is a hot topic as of late. And just liked Blended Learning, this model can also take on different forms of a definition. However, the consistent idea of this model is that just like the phrase implies, we’re doing something different in our classrooms when we implement a Flipped Classroom Model. We’re breaking away from the ‘traditional’ and ‘flipping’ our instruction around. What we would normally be teaching as direct instruction in class would be given to students to watch/review outside of our core classroom. Students can then take notes and jot down questions that this new concept provokes. What would then be considered ‘typical’ homework would be completed in class, allowing for learning through activity and teacher scaffolded support.
Odysseyware® can support a Flipped Classroom Model through the Odysseyware platform and/or the use of ClassPace®.
Online Learning is an essential component of this Model. Students work through online courses while in a classroom with a teacher. The teacher is available for instruction and support, including one-on-one support as needed, giving students highly flexible control over their learning.
Odysseyware can support a Flex Learning Model through giving schools the capability to leverage more than 300 standards-aligned courses and instructional materials in core subjects, enriching electives, CTE courses, and college and career readiness test prep.
A La Carte
Do you wish you could offer a Chinese world language class to students, but don’t have a certified teacher to deliver instruction for it? An A La Carte option may be what you need. This model allows students to take an online course with an “online teacher of record,” but still go to their face-to-face classes in their brick-and-mortar school. This is another flexible option that allows schools and districts to retain students in their districts but offer courses they may not have the staff or curriculum to do so.
Odysseyware Academic Services is a solution that many schools across the nation are leveraging to implement this model.
Our students are faced with many different circumstances, which may require extensive flexibility to their schedules. For example, more and more high school students and young adults need to work to provide for their families or may have children themselves that require flexibility in their schedules. An Enriched Virtual Model is a “step below” a full-time online school. In this model, the majority of coursework is completed in a virtual environment outside the classroom, but still requires students to attend some face-to-face learning sessions with a teacher.
Odysseyware can support an Enriched Virtual Model through giving schools the capability to leverage more than 300 standards-aligned courses and instructional materials in core subjects, enriching electives, CTE courses, and college and career readiness test prep.
The Benefits of Blended Learning
After reading some of the different models of Blended Learning, I’m sure you’re already thinking of some benefits of implementing in your own classroom(s)!
Some additional highlights from iNacol of benefits to Blended Learning are summarized below.
- A shift from lecture- to student-centered instruction.
- Teachers can have powerful tools at their fingertips for personalizing instruction.
- Increased flexibility in learning space, place, and pacing for students.
- Support intervention through differentiated learning strategies.
- More opportunities for one-on-one and small group interactions with peers and teachers – and an increase in student-content interaction.
- An expanded access to resources online.
- The ability to identify areas where they [students] need help and ways to get help, through the use of data.
- Opportunities to more rapidly close gaps using digital content and assessment tools.
- A la carte models of online and blended learning allow students to take online classes to have access to a broader range of courses.
Implement Blended Learning with Success!
Whether you’re already implementing a Blended Learning model, or are ready to get this party started, Odysseyware has a few different Professional Development options ready to assist you.
The Art of Digital Teaching
The Art of Digital Teaching professional development course by Odysseyware®, aligned to iNACOL’s National Standards for Quality Online Teaching, gives educators the critical support they need to more effectively integrate technology into the classroom and facilitate online and blended learning.
The Blended Way
Odysseyware® offers a multi-level, phased set of workshops and service offerings designed to help implement and enhance blended learning initiatives, anchored by the proprietary planning guide, The Blended Way. An Odysseyware consultant works with districts to build a solid foundation and ensure they have the tools and support needed to implement blended learning effectively.
Odysseyware Customized PD Options
Odysseyware consultants provide support to district staff in developing a unique course. Once completed, the course is housed within the Odysseyware learning platform and students can log in to take the course as they would any other Odysseyware course.
Get in Touch!
Learn how Odysseyware can support your classroom, school, and district goals for implementing a Blended Learning option. Engage with one of Odysseyware’s experts today!