Blended Learning | Viewpoint

Blended Learning Training Resources for Teachers

In the sixth installment of their monthly column, blended learning experts Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker outline what teachers need to know about blended learning training resources, and where they can go to get them.

Teachers are increasingly driving blended learning in their classrooms. Many are becoming more engaged in how they can transform their entire schools to personalize learning for each student and redefine their own roles in exciting ways.

As teachers drive this transformation, there are many places to which they can turn for various blended-learning resources.

What is blended learning? How do I do it?
Some of these resources outline what blended learning is, describe what it looks like in practice, and identify the different models emerging across the country. We recommend our own research on defining blended learning and the different emerging models, as well as our new searchable profiles of blended-learning programs, most of which will be user-generated in the future. 

Education Elements, a leading developer of blended-learning solutions, also has developed several informational resources about blended learning including a video on the fundamentals of blended learning, as well as resources on how to design certain blended-learning models, how to select content providers, and the role of teachers.

In addition, two teachers who flipped their classroom in rural Colorado back in 2007 by recording their own live lectures have written a book on the topic titled, "Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day." The book is written specifically for teachers and was just published this July.

Where are some resources to get started?
Teachers do not have to create their own lessons and videos to do blended learning, as the authors, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, of “Flip Your Classroom” did. There has been an explosion of digital educational resources lately, which can help a teacher dive into blending learning.

The sheer number of resources now available can be quite bewildering to make sense of, as this "Ed Tech Map" from NewSchools Venture Fund (and on which Innosight Institute and Education Elements worked) can attest to. To navigate the different resources, teachers can check out sites like EdSurge, a place to learn about and share experiences about using education technology. In addition to covering the education technology market, EdSurge is creating an enhanced version of the education-technology map, complete with product reviews and reports to help teachers navigate the wide and wild world of education technology.

In addition, if teachers haven’t checked out free resources like Khan Academy, among others, it is worth doing so. This isn’t just to create a blended learning environment, which Khan Academy can help do, but also to allow teachers to play around with the various features of the Khan Academy such as its learning map and exercise and assessment engine.

To this end, as teachers dive into blended learning, they should also set aside time to plan how they will use the different data from the various content and assessment engines. The data should allow teachers to individualize for each student in ways previously not possible--and bolster each child’s learning.

Finally, the start-up community is creating a number of solutions for teachers that can, in some cases, help them as they move to blended learning. Increasingly, incubators of these education start-ups are emerging, like ImagineK12 in Silicon Valley. Many of the start-ups from these incubators are eager to serve teachers and often offer free pilots and things of that nature. Teachers interested in blended learning should take a look and see if they can be helpful to the start-ups and get some needed help as well.

There are plenty of other resources for teachers interested in blended learning as well. The field is fast moving--and in many cases, teachers are the ones crafting and creating the future. As they invent the future, putting the individual student in the center is the critical first step--and then helping students drive every other decision follows.

About the Authors

Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation and co-author of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns and Choosing College: How to Make Better Learning Decisions throughout Your Life.

Heather Staker is a senior education research fellow at Innosight Institute.