Blending Technology and Improving Instruction  

August 30, 2012

On June 4th, 2012, 35 teachers swooped down on ESU 10 for 7 days to learn how to design and deliver high-quality units of instruction in a blended learning environment and share with other like minded educators with a passion for growing and learning from each other. Teacher from Amherst, Anselmo-Merna, Ansley, Cozad, Elm Creek,Gibbon, Grand Island Northwest, Greeley-Wolbach, Gothenburg, Lexington, Loup City, Overton, Shelton, and Wood River attended the workshop.

We used instructional design strategies from "Understanding by Design," a Blending Technology and Improving Instruction framework for designing effective instruction. This framework uses a backward design approach by focusing first on identifying desired outcomes, then determining appropriate assessments, and lastly, planning relevant, effective and engaging learning experiences both in the classroom and online. Teachers had access to a warehouse of resources and materials to support them in this new way of teaching as well as building a community of likeminded educators.

The technologies we used focused on a web based accessible environment in which students will have access to a variety of tools provided by ESU 10 and other third party hosts to engage them and give them opportunities to enhance their 21st century learning. From a digital
dashboard, students use their single sign-on to access Moodle, Google Apps, their ePortfolio and a host of other district, regional and global services to help them succeed in their learning.

Quotes from participants:

• The key concept that I will take from this workshop is that the true measure of understanding in the transfer or application of knowledge.
• We as teachers need to be up to date so that we can effectively engage our new generation of students with our proven strong instructional design of curriculum. The implementation of the blended learning environment is essential for success and true understanding! We need to reach all students and adapt to the variety of learning styles!
• If you know what your goals are and what you want students to know, then creating a unit with valuable content with the technology integrated is what makes sense.
• Personally I feel Moodle goes hand in hand with the UbD approach! I had to laugh at myself because when I first began I was wondering how I was going to do Ubd on Moodle... now I'm wondering how I will use Moodle for anything else!