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Schedule and Time in a Blended Learning Environment

Schedule and Time in a Blended Learning Environment

Author: Gino Sangiuliano

This lesson will provide students with the skills necessary to use tools provided or suggested to evaluate their current scheule and time available for a blended learning approach

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Hello everyone and welcome to this lesson called schedule and time in a blended learning environment. With so many ways to access information today, and so many ways to learn, scheduling has become an important consideration in our schools. Let's take a look at some ways that we can maximize the time that we spend with our students.

A few years back, I had a student teacher in my classroom. It was a wonderful learning experience for both of us, and I was fortunate that she started at the very beginning of the year, when I was just getting to know the students. Those first days of school are so important and can set the tone for the entire year.

The student teacher, however, was eager to get started with lessons and the teaching, and I kept pumping on the brakes to work on ice breakers, service learning projects, establishing expectations, learning the routines, and community building ideas. As the year went on, she began to see the value of all the time spent early on and the impact those things had.

I remember her saying, I didn't think you were ever going to start teaching that first week of school. That's just one example of time being spent upfront to save time in the long run.

There are so many decisions that we make every day that affect learning outcomes. In the 21st century classroom, those decisions can be often based on the four C's. They are communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

And that includes decisions about timing and scheduling. A blended learning environment can help you maximize your learning time, and better time management can contribute to a blended learning environment. Well planned scheduling and time management can empower students and learning. A good place to start is by thinking about the following question. What do I want my students to know and be able to do?

With that in mind, let's explore some ways that these components for an effective blended classroom are impacted by time. Flipping has become a popular practice of many teachers at all different grade levels. The premise is that students use their time at home to watch a lesson online that was chosen or created by their teacher. Concepts can be paused, stopped, and watched multiple times.

When students come to class the next day, they are better are prepared to work on whatever activity the teacher has planned to deepen or extend their learning, and also making the most of their time in class. Formative assessments are a great way to maximize your time as a teacher. At the elementary level, many teachers have morning work waiting on the desks as students walk in.

Entrance and exit tickets are another way of getting the pulse of what your students know or need to review. These practices can easily be done digitally, and data can be gathered and tracked. Either way, it's important that formative assessments are naturally integrated with your practice to reap the benefits.

At any grade level, establishing predictable routines will help save time. Whether you use standing or flexible groups, when students know the procedures of transitions, time will be saved. If you use rotation or workshop model, I have seen teachers project stations and directions on monitors around the room.

If you ever have the opportunity to observe a colleague, I recommend you do so. You will no doubt pick up on ways that time is used wisely and ways that time is not. It's much easier to do this with someone else before you conduct your own time audit. Many teachers will tell you that differentiation is just good teaching. Like my story at the beginning of this video, differentiation can be a buyback of time.

When you spend the time creating lessons, materials, and routines that address the needs of individuals and small groups, you will go back to those practices again and again. There are so many online resources that can help you do this now. By using information gathered through formative assessments, groups can be created, and targeted lessons to students with different learning goals can be executed.

Project-based learning is an example of something that, at first glance, you might say, I don't have time to do that with my students. But when you stop and think about it, it makes a lot of sense. If students are given the opportunity to work on a project that they are motivated to complete, it's a great venue for them to practice the skills they are learning during core instruction time. So why is it important to reflect?

This quote by William Wordsworth is one reason. So that we don't develop poor habits. And I'm referring to both teachers and students. It's been my experience that for many, when time gets tight, reflection and feedback are the first things to be sacrificed. I cannot stress enough that doing this is a very poor decision. Reflection and feedback are the very things that will guide learners to improvement.

There are even digital tools that can help you do this in a blended learning environment. By knowing exactly what areas to target, the work is efficient and effective.

Let's go ahead and summarize what we covered in today's lesson. We began by looking at the four C's of 21st century learning, and how they're impacted by time. We looked at scheduling, time, and blended learning. And how to maximize that time in a blended learning environment. Here's some food for thought. Conduct a time audit of your classroom. Are there places where you can capture more instructional time?

Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The additional resources section will be super helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description, so you can easily target the resources you want. Thanks so much for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "Schedule and Time in a Blended Learning Environment"

(00:00-00:22) Intro

(00:23-01:11) Starting The Year Off Right

(01:12-01:31) Learning In The 21st Century

(01:32-05:04) Effective Use Of Time In A Blended Learning Classroom

(05:05-05:23) Summary

(05:24-05:54) Food for Thought

Additional Resources

Blended Learning Tool Kit  

This is A Creative Commons course designed to support teachers as they begin to use blended learning strategies in their classroom. Scroll down to see blended learning case studies to see how blended learning is implemented in schools and classrooms.

The 21st Century Classroom – where the 3 R’s meet the 4 C’s!

This post from the Tech for Learning blog provides an explanation of how the 3 R's connect with the 4 C's. As teachers begin to plan their schedule and learning activities in the 21st century classroom, it is important to consider the connection between basic skills and creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. This blog supports teachers as they begin to make those instructional shifts.