CoverAbout This SeriesDiscipline-Specific Editions in the SeriesGeneral Introduction to Blended Teaching1. Introduction to K-12 Blended Teaching2. K-12 Blended Teaching Competencies3. Evaluating Blended Teaching with the 4Es and PICRATNew Content in the SeriesAppendicesAppendix A: AcknowledgementsAppendix B: Research12-3. Arts: Online Interaction12. The Arts: Intro to Blended Teaching12. The Arts: Intro to Blended Teaching12-1. Arts: Why Blend?12-2. Arts: Online Integration & Management12-4. Arts: Data Practices12-5. Arts: Personalization 15. Special Education (SpEd): Intro to Blended Teaching15. Special Education (SPEd): Intro to Blended Teaching15-1. SpEd: Why Blend?15-2. SpEd: Online Integration & Management15-3. SpEd: Online Interaction15-4. SpEd: Data Practices15-5. SpEd: Personalization
15-1

SpEd: Why Blend?

15-1.1 Blending in ELA Teaching

The first question you should ask yourself before embarking on the journey of blended teaching is “Why blend?” Teachers who are still searching for their answer to this question may end up spending a lot of time and energy implementing changes that do not serve any larger goal or purpose.

Guiding Question: Why Blend?

Teachers must answer the question “Why blend?” It is not sufficient to blend just because it is popular or because others are doing it.

In the two videos below, Dave Lee and Jenifer Pickens explain how blended teaching has improved their classrooms. What reasons might you have for blending?

This is an example of how you can contextualize your videos. We are trying to both introduce the videos and tie them to the competency of the chapter. Place your videos and quotes where they make the most sense in the chapter.

 

15-1.2 Reasons for Blending

There are three primary reasons why teachers choose blended teaching:

Brianne explains how blended teaching allows her to be both more efficient as a teacher and more creative. (Video)

Oftentime teachers have multiple reasons for blending, but almost always one of these three reasons is primary in their minds. Table 1 below shows some simple SpEd examples and how they might help the teacher to achieve multiple purposes simultaneously.

Table 1

Examples of Multiple Purposes for a Blended SpEd Activity (Replace with examples that fit your content)

Blended Example Blended Purpose
Facilitates student collaboration and feedback during the writing process. Learning Effectiveness: Sharing online writing eleminates the need for students or teachers to create hard copies of student writing to receive feedback. Because feedack is easier to provide, students can receive more detailed feedback. Students learn collaboration skills as well as the ability to rethink, rewrite, and revise their writing.
Access and Flexibility: It is also easier for students to respond to recommendations and revise their papers online.
Increased Efficiency/Cost: It saves the effort and cost to make physical copies of student papers. Using collaborative online documents can also make the collaborative process and providing feedback more efficient.
Creates a space for discussions that involve all class members.  Learning Effectiveness: Many students struggle to fully participate in class discussions for a varieity of reasons, and others dominate these conversations. Online discussions give everyone the opportunity to participate (meaning they have time to discover what they think and write about it), creating more robust, reflective, and divergent discussions. 
Access & Flexibility: Online discussions allow all students to voice their ideas.
Increased Efficiency/Cost: Online discussions efficiently give every student a voice. They also free up classroom time for other activities. 
Promotes differentiated instruction in grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, reading fluency, and reading comprehension. Learning Effectiveness: Based on student data, students can be assigned learning activities specific to their weaknesses in the different areas of language arts. Students who don’t need to work on capitalization don’t have to. Students who don’t understand how to use possessives can receive instruction and activities designed to help them learn this concept.
Access & Flexibility: Students have access to instruction specifically targeted to their needs. They have the flexibility to access the content they need and which they have not already mastered. 
Increased Efficiency/Cost: Students don’t waste time where they are already proficient. They don’t have to wait for other students to catch up or worry about being behind.

Think about why you would like to blend your classroom. In your blended teaching workbook, write your thoughts, creating your own purpose. 

Write a brief statement about why you want to blend your classroom. Which purposes and outcomes are you most interested in for your blend? Access your Workbook here. Make sure you save your copy where you can access it as you go through the social studies chapters.

15-1.3 Common Challenges to Teaching/Learning English: Problems of Practice

All teachers face challenges. It's part of the nature of sharing a learning journey with a large number of young people. For many teachers like Todd Jepperson, below, blended teaching helps them adress and overcome some of those challenges. (The red text here refers to a video. You will probably just delete it.)

Your choice to blend will be more meaningful to you and your students if it helps to address challenges that you and your students face in the traditional non-blended classroom. We refer to these challenges as “problems of practice.”

Definition: Problem of Practice

A problem of practice is a current problem or challenge that you believe could be improved through blended teaching.

Problems of practice can fall under any of the three purposes outlined in section 1.1. However, the most meaningful and powerful problems of practice for teachers deal directly with improving learning outcomes for their students.

Fig. 1

Problems of Practice in Special Education (send me the problems of practice you would like to include. I will recreate the graphic with your content and upload it to the chapter.)

 

PoP_ELA.png

These five pathways are a powerful tool to help you think deeply about problems of practice that are relevant to you. Once you identify specific challenges in your current approach to teaching, you will be able to begin to explore what online approaches may be combined with your in-person approaches to make a better experience for your students and you alike. This process engergizes you and your teaching. Teachers who choose to blend often find that they enjoy teaching in new and fulfilling ways.

This is a good place for a video or quote on teacher burnout. 

Finding Your Problems of Practice

Now that you have reviewed the five pathways to identifying problems of practice, it is your turn to look at your own practice and try to identify a couple of challenges that you can consider as you continue throughout these SpEd chapters. What student outcomes and teaching practices would you like to improve? What stands in the way of your teaching having the impact you would like it to have?

Identify 2-3 problems of practice (PoP) that you can use as you consider blended options for your classroom.

Note: You should identify several problems of practice (PoP) because not every PoP has a good blended learning solution.

If you haven't already opened and saved your workbook, you can access it here.

End-of-Chapter Survey

: How would you rate the overall quality of this chapter?
  1. Very Low Quality
  2. Low Quality
  3. Moderate Quality
  4. High Quality
  5. Very High Quality
Comments will be automatically submitted when you navigate away from the page.
Like this? Endorse it!