December 20, 2011
With 20 schools now using Team Blue, more and more educators in ESU 10 are being introduced to this invaluable resource for teaching and learning in a blended environment. Although I am excited by the number of students and teachers that now have access to Team Blue, I am more excited that teachers are using this as an opportunity to look at new ways of teaching and engaging their students using sound instructional strategies and technologies to support learning at all levels. With active users from 6th grade to 12th and from all areas of the curriculum, teachers are providing new learning opportunities to their students and extending learning beyond the walls of their classrooms. It is indeed an exciting time to be in education!
So what is all the buzz about? It's about taking all the great things we know about good teaching strategies, using the instructional design model Understanding by Design and integrating a robust framework of elearning software and network technologies to support teaching and learning in this blended environment of face to face and computer aided instruction. Understanding by Design uses a backward design model of planning units of instruction that follow three simple stages:1) identifying desired results, 2) determining acceptable evidence, and 3) planning learning experiences and instruction to support these. The missing link, in the past, has been the electronic framework to support this design plan. With Team Blue, students and teachers now have access to a "Learning Dashboard" - a portal that gives them access to those pieces they need to be successful throughout the day, throughout year, and throughout the time they are with the district. They have access to communication tools such astheir calendar and email, updated news, and announcements from the district and classroom teachers. They have the resources to research and participate in engaging and meaningful work. Students have access to all the tools the teacher gives them in the classroom so they can easily participate in discussions or other online activities after hours. Then they can save all of the commendable material they have worked so hard on as a student to showcase to future employers and/or post-secondary educational institutions.
There is much to discover and this model allows you to take as little or as much as you need to engage your students and give them the tools they need to be successful! To learn more about Team Blue and how it might fit into your teaching plan, visit us at http://learn.esu10.org - I look forward to working with you!