Monday, May 14, 2012

Blended Learning at Villanova High School

This is my 20th year in teaching.  I have used wikis, blogs, and other technological resources in the past to help present useful information to my students.  This year, I was introduced to the Learning Management System (LMS) as part of the WECDSB’s Blended Learning program.  In English, audio and video files can greatly improve a student’s understanding of and appreciation for any given piece of literature.  I find that the LMS is an extremely sound, easy platform for both the teacher and the student alike.  I do not have to worry about lost files or broken links. 

The benefits to the LMS platform are obvious and impressive to me.
Course material is always available to students who are:
  •         away from school for medical reasons
  •         have missed class time for disciplinary reasons (suspension, etc.)
  •         using the material for Credit Recovery purposes
  •         accessing the material for a Blended Learning Unit* 
In my case, I would like to focus on the last scenario – Blended Learning. I have spoken to teachers who have taught e-Learning classes as well as those who are using technology to complement classroom examples.  Regardless of the level of ability (Locally Developed, Applied, or Academic – Essential, College, or University), I have found that students are easily engaged in activities that they can lead using technology. 

I generally plan the entire semester and try to determine how much of any given unit I can ‘blend’ with technological activities.  I have started with a moderate amount of material.  I hope to determine over the next 2-3 years what is and what is not appropriate as far as the amount of ‘Blended Learning’ that I feel comfortable delivering. 

I have prepared an overview for Act One of Macbeth complete with the audio for Act One.  I now have the choice as to how much of Act One.  I would like to do in class or assign for reading outside of the class.  I do not need to reserve CD players to bring to class; I can simply go to the LMS and cue the play where I would like to start.

As the class moves through this unit, once again I have the option to assign this work in class, for homework, or as an extra activity.  I like the fact that the students can see the tasks at the beginning and plan accordingly. 

This activity could easily serve as a homework assignment, an extension to an activity that was started in class, or a larger project.  The opportunity to include both audio and visual examples is extremely easy in the LMS.

I have been using the LMS for the first time since October of 2011.  I can honestly say that the tools are extremely easy for both the teacher and the student to use.  I hope to be able to gradually include more modules (Units of Study) each semester as I become more proficient with the program.   

Dave Janisse is an English teacher at Villanova Catholic High School 
and has been teaching for 20 years 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very useful blog. Keep up the good work.