The Following blog was written by: Chris Kenniburg of Dearborn Public Schools
Top 3 Ways to Stop Blended Learning
Everything you need to know to put a halt to blended learning in your K-12 school
When it comes to making a decision on a learning management system we are often bombarded with all kinds of advice. The sales pitch for any new LMS is well done and very convincing with promises to make teaching and learning “easy”. A tool that will get used. Please continue reading because we have some incredibly bad advice for you to consider for your next LMS adventure.
Blame the Current LMS for Lack of Adoption with StaffIt isn’t a lack of training or poor implementation. It is the system and software you are using causing the problem. Training was never an issue. The school provided several hour long in-services throughout the year where you went over all the “button pushing” staff could handle. Instead of taking a step back and evaluate how staff is using the current LMS, you should charge ahead and find another LMS that will correct how they are using it so that the students are more engaged.
Technology Makes Teaching and Learning Easy
By believing your current system is flawed and not useful you are free to wrap your expectations and goals into a new LMS. This is the critical point at which you are free to imagine a better way of learning and what this new software will magically do for you. Nevermind putting these same expectations into your current LMS with a real plan to achieve them. The new LMS is so easy to use that it can’t possibly fail to meet your expectations! At each and every step of the way the new LMS will make life easier for teachers and students. The old LMS is holding your staff and students back. Go ahead, it is time to pick a new LMS.
Change... Because What You Have Isn’t WorkingIt is time to consider a change. Your current LMS is clunky and hard to use. What you need is the magical “easy” button that brings engaging online learning to life! After all, it cannot be staff isn’t interested in using the LMS for everything that they do. There is absolutely no way the majority of staff doesn’t know how to translate classroom learning to online learning! What we need is a change because the current LMS has let staff and students down. Let everyone know we are changing tools again! This new tool will surely fix things!
Bonus Tip: Let Each Teacher Decide What Tool To Use
If you finished reading all of this and you are still not convinced you can put a halt to good technology use in your school then we have the final and best advice: Let teachers pick their own tools. Let each teacher pick one of the hundred’s of tools out there. Parents and students will absolutely love having unique tools and passwords for each class. Figuring out how each tool works helps build character and perseverance. Just leave it up to the teacher to decide because you don’t really need a common platform to share success and best practices.
These tips and tricks can be used in any school to completely disrupt good learning and set back future technology adoption for years with staff.
On the other hand...
Keep it SimpleLearning one tool is simpler than trying to mix and match a variety of tools that somehow resembles a cohesive platform for online learning. Moodle is that “one tool” that provides the best features and allows schools to provide it long term for staff. Keeping it simple means teachers can share common assessments, build courses together, and collaborate because they are all using the same tool. Staff is also building common skills and know-how with one tool they can rely on long term. One tool that is fully capable of meeting the most basic needs but also provide highly engaging tools for advanced teachers. The long term investment and commitment should be in a tool you have control over. Open source tools require effort but the investment will last much longer and without financial commitment for something that you may never fully utilize.
Be ConsistentWith so many LMS options out there the messaging and consistency of that messaging must be laser focused. If your LMS tool changes with the seasons then why would a dedicated teacher invest the time and energy to develop robust learning opportunities? They don’t. They know that whatever the tool is, it will be gone shortly. We’ve used Moodle for over 12 years. We’ve always had teachers use it to get the most out of the tool, but we also have many who are just scratching the surface. The very good news is we do not have to pay a yearly fee for those who are just scratching the surface.
Do the workYou can invest in yourself or you can invest in someone else. You can operate your own LMS or you can invest in a pre-packaged product. Either way, you are always investing time, energy, and money. We prefer to invest in ourselves. We invest in staff to teach and learn skills that will help them do amazing things with students. We invest in ourselves so that we can control the learning tools that are vital to why we are here: educating kids.
Chris Kenniburg is the webmaster for Dearborn Public Schools.
Follow him on Twitter @kennibc