Educate Texas Blog
By Jessica Bassett
Blended learning is any time a student learns at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace. Michael Horn and Heather Staker
Blended learning curriculum is one of many tools in the proverbial “tool-kit” to ensure all students are college and career ready. And as districts are increasingly encouraged to do more with less as financial constraints continue to stress the school system, innovation in the classroom is more important than ever.
We are excited to announce the launch of our newest initiative, the Texas Teaching, Technology, & Innovation Fund or T3IF. T3IF is a dynamic and district-led initiative designed to achieve three things:
- Enhance instruction and improve delivery of curriculum,
- Foster a culture that supports individualized learning across students, teachers, district leadership, parents and/or partners, and
- Improve system structure and policy to allow for full implementation of blended learning practices.
It was important to us to target districts that were already actively planning to implement blended learning curriculum in the 2013-2014 school year and as a result we have engaged five districts including Coppell, Hays, McAllen, Rapoport and Spring.
These districts were invited to participate in a day-long blended learning workshop to learn first-hand about the different learning models and more importantly gain perspective on what learning model(s) will be fit their district’s unique needs.
We believe that the intentional integration of technology in the classrooms has the potential to improve learning outcomes, better prepare students for college readiness and 21st century skills, and allow schools to realize cost efficiencies and scale in more sustainable ways. We also believe that now is a critical time for us to explore different types of blended learning models. The promise of technology is only beginning to take shape. There is still much to learn related to its implications on teacher practice, scheduling, staffing and use of space. And we look to this opportunity to learn by doing.
Following the training, districts will participate in a Request for Proposal process at which point we will announce the leading districts (as many as three) in March and begin the implementation process.
Education Elements is a leading developer of blended learning solutions and as such has been selected as our partner in guiding this initiative. Education Elements helps schools design the right blended learning solutions for them, and works side by side with leaders and teachers to embed online content and data into daily instruction - an essential process we believe is key to the success of the districts.
We are thrilled at this opportunity and look forward to sharing our experience and that of the participating districts over the coming year. We believe this will be a great lesson in shaping next generation learning for the state of Texas. Stay tuned!