This week’s assignment focused on tech trends in the NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition. When I initially read the report, the Wearable Technology section fascinated me. I thought I might research that more to create the artifact for this week’s assignment, but as usual I was undecided as there are so many topics I am interested in learning more about. After much thought, I finally came to the decision to research blended learning and the flipped classroom. I came to this decision because I realized I had been thinking a lot about how I can make adjustments in my teaching to create a more self-guided learning environment in my art room.
Re-thinking my teaching
The art class in a nutshell: Students pile in for an exciting unit that’s packed with different techniques and processes, and loads of creative fun. I give a presentation on the SMART Board, I demonstrate techniques and processes, and then the students are let loose to create their own unique artwork. This of course, is accompanied by some guidelines or requirements. There’s a lot more to it than the brief description I have given, but I’m sure you get the general idea. Although this has been working fine for me, I’ve been thinking about giving my students more of a choice in what they can create as long as the objectives are being met.
What I came up with, in another nutshell
There are a number of ways I could shake things up in my room. Here’s one idea: Present two units of instruction to my class, one on abstract sculpture and one on showing value in two-dimensional work. Both assignments need to be completed at some point, but students choose which one they want to work on. Once they choose, they will be given a packet with the resources they need to complete the assignment. Included in this resource packet would be links to videos created by myself or an outside source demonstrating the objective, a rubric, guidelines and anything else that is pertinent to the unit. Ipads would of course be provided for research. I feel this model would enhance student engagement and learning all while giving the student a bit more control over their learning. This model also allows for more student collaboration. My role as the teacher changes into being more of a facilitator giving me more time to work one-on-one or in small groups with students. It also allows more creativity and choice. Not all students have to create the same artwork to complete the objective, that’s what I really like about this idea.
Where I am now
Well, here I am now. I processed all of my thoughts (which usually takes me a long time) and decided to research blended learning or hybrid learning as the Horizon Report calls it. I read the section, Increasing Use of Hybrid Learning Designs and thought, “wow, this is right up my ally.” After reading some of the really long resources provided in the report, and researching on-line, I finally decide to create a simple website that could be used to present this model of learning to a staff in an elementary school. I pretty much just wanted to consolidate information, including videos and on-line resources to make it easier for teachers to understand the model. In presenting this to the staff, I would have them review the information on the site prior to coming to the PD that would be provided. This would allow more time for questions and collaboration with colleagues during the PD. Structuring the PD in this manner is an example of the flipped classroom model, where students get the instruction at home online and then apply their learning in class with their teacher the next day.
While my blended learning site is not quite complete, it still provides the basic concepts of this model and how it can be utilized in the K-5 classroom. Once I complete examples of my actual art unit(s) that incorporate the faux flipped model of blended learning, I will post them to my site so they can be used as a resource for other art teachers.
In wrapping this all up, the Horizon Report on the Hybrid Learning Model (or blended learning) brought out that this model is showing ”widespread growth” globally. Teachers have reported that, “hybrid learning improved their ability to be innovative, monitor student learning, and enable greater one-on-one instruction” (Transforming K-12 Rural Education through Blended Learning: Barriers and Promising Practices, 2013).