Friday, November 16, 2012

Blended Learning Book

A few weeks ago I finished a great book by a Sonoma County high school teacher that is available in my professional library for anyone to check out.  In Blended Learning - Leveraging the Power of Technology to Create Student-Centered Classrooms, Catlin Tucker lays out a clear vision for using technology to extend learning beyond the school day through online discussions  multimedia, and technology projects.  A few of us have had the opportunity to see Tucker present and ironically she teaches at a school that is fairly technology poor and many of her student have very basic online access at home.  However, she has found that even limited technology and a blended learning model can  "make me more effective, decrease my grading load, and teach my students critical 21st century skills they will use long after they have left my class."

During the first half of the book Tucker discusses the benefits, research, and models of blended learning with concrete models from her classroom.  The book is written from a very practical standpoint, so Tucker also includes rubrics, example lessons, and student guidelines from her own classroom.  The second half of the book consists of a series of chapters for each of the four content areas (math, ELA, science, and social studies) describing strategies for using blended learning an online resources to meet the demands of the Common Core State Standards.

In the preface Tucker provides three reasons why a teacher might purchase her book
  1. It advocates for a teacher-designed blended learning model with concrete strategies, ready-to-use resources, and examples grounded in the Common Core State Standards.
  2. It shows teachers how they can use an online environment to give every student a voice, increase engagement, drive higher-order thinking, and make homework an interactive experience instead of solitary practice.
  3. Teachers will learn how to integrate technology into their existing curriculum in order to build community and create a student-centered classroom that challenges students to be active participants in the learning process.
If any of these sound good to you, feel free to pop by my office, send me an email, or post a comment below to check it out.  I also have some digital resources related to the text developed for our VLA program.


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