Blended Learning | News
District's New Blended Learning Programs Aim at Personalized Approach
Two schools at Henry County Schools, a 40,000-student district in Georgia, are instituting new blended learning programs that meld online and face-to-face instruction with personalized and adaptive learning techniques.
After a period of high student growth for the district, the new programs were put into place at two locations, the Locust Grove Middle School and the Impact Academy. Student data plays a particularly large role at Locust Grove, where teachers combine self-paced online instruction with face-to-face lessons. Using an instruction model that resembles the flipped classroom, students reviewing basic learning materials at their own pace for two hours during the day and then and work with teachers, and each other, in smaller classes on critical thinking and problem solving projects.
For the Impact Academy program, students take courses online and then receive personalized support from teachers in class. The academy offers classes to students that otherwise do not fit into their normal schedules or that are not offered at their local campus.
The two programs are featured in a documentary, "Opening Up a New World," produced by Edgenuity, whose software the district uses to pace instruction. The 10-minute film spotlights how the district turned to technology as a means of addressing the diverse learning needs of its students.
"It was important in our district to stand up and say, it’s not okay to accept the status quo. We need to do more for our kids, we need to expose our kids to more," said Aaryn Schmuhl, assistant superintendent for learning and leadership at Henry County in a statement. "Through online and blended learning, we are giving them the tools to be successful by their own accord, and it will help them in high school and beyond."
Stephen Noonoo is a reporter, contributing editor and consultant specializing in education technology. He is on Twitter @stephenoonoo.