“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” —Bill Gates

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hooray for Haiku Learning!

Hi! A couple of blog posts ago, I talked about the process my school was going through in looking for a new LMS that would be suitable for all grade levels Nursery-12th. At that time, we were moving into phase 2 ready to test the two LMS finalists: Haiku Learning and Schoology.

Fortunately, for this round, the testing group grew. We had new teachers join us, in addition to giving all the school administrators access to the platforms. All the different stakeholders were well represented.

During the final days of phase 2, all pilot teachers were asked to submit a scored rubric evaluation of the LMS they each tested. Surveys were sent to parents and students. On a 5 point scale, Haiku Learning scored a whopping 4.66, compared to 3.33 for Schoology.

During the last pilot group meeting, each LMS pilot leader had the opportunity to speak about the Pros and Cons of their system. Feedback collected from teachers, students, and parents was shared.

Then, it was time to vote.

It was unanimous – everyone voted in favor of Haiku Learning!

ASFM is now preparing for the transition and will start the new school year with everyone on board. I am confident that Haiku Learning is a good choice and will very much support the Blended Learning environment that we strive to develop for the years to come.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Understanding Blended Learning through Design Thinking

The school year might be almost over, but at ASFM the learning just keeps on going!

As a way to socialize the concept of blended learning, teachers spent the last PD afternoon learning more about this educational model. The elementary staff was divided into 3 major groups. With the purpose to introduce an innovative approach to problem solving, each group went through the phases of the Design Thinking process.

1- Discovery
The advent of a new school wide LMS for the next school year comes along with other transformations in school. Challenge: How can we redesign the Blended Learning experience at ASFM?

2- Interpretation
Now it's time to gain empathy. Teachers paired up and took turns interviewing each other. How much of your teaching is f2f and how much is it online? How have you modified student learning? Focus question: What is your experience with blended learning, from a teacher's perspective?

3- Ideation
During the Interpretation phase, teachers were told to write down key words they heard from the interview. Using those words, the teachers' next task was to create as many vision statement prototypes as they could in a 2 minute time frame. They are asked to focus on quantity over quality. Take risks, it's all right to write down what may seem to you as a silly idea.

4- Experimentation
The next task was, in 5 minutes, to go with 3 different teachers, show them the prototypes and gather feedback. Remember: feedback should be kind, useful, and specific. Teachers can make comments, mark which is their favorite one, or suggest improvements. Once the teacher has collected this information, he/she will have 3 more minutes to modify his vision statement. Each teacher wrote down their final slogan. Through a voting process, one of the slogans was selected per group.

5- Evolution
Next steps: ASFM has yet to adopt a school wide vision statement that captures the transformation that will take place. The change has already started. ASFM is embracing the BL model and is off to a good start!