Teachers directing students to seek answers to their own questions. A kabash on homework. Fewer multiple-choice assessments. And all this talk about about Raz-Kids, Typing Club, FrontRow, Spelling City, and other programs on the iPad and computer. Are you starting to worry that your child’s teachers aren’t really teaching? We get it. This isn’t your mother’s elementary school. And to be frank, it’s not yours either!
Bromwell hasn’t replaced teachers with technology – but we are on the path to personalizing learning for every student.
With the generous donations from the PTA and a technology bond paid for by taxpayers, our students are now participating in blended learning. Blended learning is a cohesive blend of classroom lessons and online lessons designed to tailor curriculum for every student. The blended learning system is part of our school’s plan to focus on individual student growth. It challenges and supports every student where they are.
The fundamental role of the technology is to enhance learning. Yes, many devices have embedded entertainment capabilities, but the role of this technology in school is allowing students to engage in an individualized program and create content of their own.
Now, more than ever, teachers are focused on having students develop and enhance skills in the areas of verbal and written communication, collaboration, and problem solving. Teachers are not only helping to provide insight and information, but are also creating real life scenarios and situations, and prompting students to seek answers independently or in a small group.
The work that teachers are doing at Bromwell this year is highly targeted, discreet, and data-driven. If you are unclear or have questions about your child’s progress, ask. Teachers appreciate the opportunity to explain what they’re doing.
Part of what has pushed blended learning into the limelight as an instructional model is the wealth of benefits it can offer to both students and teachers. Blended learning provides students with some degree of control over their learning experience. This compels students to take some ownership of their own education, which helps to prepare them for college and career life. It also teaches them to self-advocate and even makes it easier for them to ask for help since online learning provides students with formats for getting assistance that don’t involve raising a hand in a classroom full of peers.
Blended learning also empowers teachers. Most online programs significantly reduce the amount of time and effort teachers have to spend on simply grading papers, allowing them to focus instead on the data that those numbers represent. This means that when a student is struggling, teachers can identify problem areas and intervene sooner. Teachers also gain more time to work with students one-on-one and provide personalized instruction. And the same is true for when a child needs more challenges, the programs can push them to the next level.
The major goal of educational technology is to facilitate the educational goals and learning outcomes of a classroom. At Bromwell our goal is to challenge and support each student and prepare them for middle school and beyond. Parents, teachers, and paraprofessionals remain the most important educators, but this move to blended learning will only increase our effectiveness in providing the best education for your child.