I have surveyed my students a few times this year to ask them how things are going in blended learning and what I can do to make it better. I thought that this next post should be their voices. They explain it best as to what this means to them. Recently I had a student stay at lunch to finish their narrative because, as he stated, "I am on a roll." When he finished and was leaving he said, "I never realized how much I enjoy writing when it is something I am interested in." Ummm... shouldn't we as teachers try our hardest to make this the norm for our students? We need to listen to their voices when facilitating and managing our classroom. When I read their voices I realized that I can't go back to a traditional classroom. I need to continue to listen to their voices. Will my classroom stay as it is now in my final few years of teaching? Probably not. Why? Because each year I will have a different group of students with different skill sets and needs. I will listen to what they need and form my classroom from their voices. Their voices are POWERFUL. Have a listen....
One of the first questions I asked them in the first couple of months was "What is Blended Learning?" I wanted to know two months in what they felt the program was and see how they were interpreting this. It was neat to see their responses. Here are some of their responses:
* You can work at your own place. Whenever you finish something there is always work for you. You don't have to hold yourself back if you work faster than others or have to catch up if you work slower than others.
* doing some subjects at your own pace
* It’s a fun class where you get to decide what you work on each day and we get to do fun activities as a group
* Working independently at your own pace, with teachers checking in randomly.
* Working independently at your own pace with no pressure or stress for work very well done.
* Blended learning is a classroom where you can work on anything and finish your work in other classes. It’s a class for student athletes who can balance school and sports to do their work
* an opportunity to meet new people and it is well run by friendly people and it is an opportunity to up your grades and do hard work to get good feedback from the teachers
* A self paced class that goes through the whole year.
* In blended learning, you are able to take multiple classes at once. The majority of work is done online, and you are also able to "blend" outcomes, so if something you're doing in ELA also applies to say, Social Studies, you are able to do one assignment that will cover both outcomes.
* A learning environment that allows you to work at your own pace.
* If you join Global sports academy you will be in blended learning where you do some of your school courses like ELA, math or any other subject your teacher decides. So part-time when you're not working with Doan, you'll be with Mrs. Lehner in blended learning.
* That it’s a fun learning class that lets you work at your own pace
* Everyone works at their own pace on different things.
* blended learning is where you get to work at your own pace and choose what you want to work on. It will give you a better opportunity to become more self-discipline
* Work at your own pace
I then asked "What do you like about blended learning?" Here is what they said:
* I like how I'm able to work at my own pace.
* That I'm not held behind and I always have work to do.
* Working independently and at your own pace.
* I like that we have a lot of time to do the work and it is not being piled on me.
* Being able to just work alone.
* That I get to work at my own pace.
* I like how easy it is to choose what I want to work on each day.
* The independent aspect.
* I like the freedom that we have with our work capacity.
* It's easier to get help.
* To work independently on the things you want to work on.
* Being in class with my friends and still being able to focus.
* Simple and not complex.
The next question I asked was "What have I learned about myself in Blended Learning?" This was really interesting for me. It wasn't all about academics. Many were life skills that we hope students are learning but do not measure. Here are their responses:
* I have learned I am a skilled writer, a proper writer, and have good writing stamina.
* Something I have learned about myself in blended is that I am very good with my time management, yet I stress myself out for no apparent reason.
* One thing I've learned about myself in blended learning is that I hate being behind. I try to get my work done as soon as possible so I can relax in my spare time. The same goes for my Physics class, which is self-paced as well. I was able to complete a day's worth of work in half a class, which gives me some freedom to do other things as well.
* One thing I learned is that goal setting helps with trying to complete tasks
* I learned how to be a better student in the class.
* There is one thing I have learned about myself in blended learning, It takes me longer to really get something.
* One thing I have learned about myself is, that I feel like I work better at my own pace. I think I focus better when there is a little less pressure on me.
* One thing I have learned about myself is that I am very organized when it comes to prioritizing classwork.
* These past few months in blended learning I have learned that I can get a lot of work done in class if I am focused and work hard.
* Something I have learned about myself in Blended Learning is that I have a love-hate relationship with self-paced learning. I like it because I can go ahead, but sometimes I hate it because I am scared of falling behind (even though I know I won’t.)
* One thing that I have learned about myself while being in blended learning is that I am getting better at managing my time and putting a better effort into every assignment.
* one thing that I have learned in blended learning is that I like to switch up a lot and don't really like staying on one subject for too long because it gets very repetitive.
* I have learned that I can read a 300 page book in 3 weeks.
* One thing I learned about myself in blended learning is that I’m getting better at ELA.
* I have learned that I work better in groups.
* I work a whole lot better at my own pace.
* One thing I've learned in blended learning was that I'm a pretty fast worker during class.
* One thing that I have learned about myself in blended learning is how hard I work and how respectful I am of other people and myself.
* From starting blended learning I have learned that I am actually good at ELA. I always thought I was horrible at it and I didn't like to write in ELA. But after getting all my assignments back and them mostly being fours I can see that I am good at it.
* I’ve learned so far that it’s good to do the same tasks as someone at the same time because it makes me want to finish at the same pace as they do
* Through Blended Learning I have learned that I enjoy doing English on my own but find math and science require more effort and motivation. I am going to work now and use English assignments as a reward for completing math and science assignments.
* That I can work when I am around my friends.
* I learned that I work really fast compared to others.
* I can work well around my friends most times.
* That I am actually good at writing, I always think I'm bad.
* I can work pretty well with less guidance.
* I can finish work if I just focus
* I need to work on setting deadlines for myself.
* That in math I like to double and triple check myself to make sure I understand it.
* I have learned that I am a naturally stressed person.
* I work better when it is quiet.
* That I can be organized when I actually try to.
* When I work independently I can get work done fast.
* I work good while listening to music.
* I"m smarter than I thought.
The one last question I asked was "What is something you feel could be improved in the Blended Learning Experience?" I wanted their honest answers. I tell them I want the experience to be positive for them and if they don't tell me what is or isn't working I can't fix it for them! Here is what I got:
* Nothing I think everything is good so far.
* Nothing I think it's perfect
* I would have to say nothing everything is perfect.
* Nothing right now!
* Nothing really it is working great for me.
* Not much really, I enjoy it.
* Nothing really
* Just need someone there to answer questions which there usually is
* Maybe have another teacher to help out. Working with Mrs. Lehner is awesome. Just sometimes there's a lot of questions to be answered so sometimes it takes a little longer to get help, which I completely understand
* Sometimes I just wonder if I'm ever behind because there's never any due dates, but that is super minor!
* Nothing I can think of right now, I really like the way it is right now.
* I can't think of anything I want to improve
* It's hard to do a lot of math in one week so maybe ELA one day and then math the next.
* I like how it is can't really think of anything to change
* Having more ELA work posted
I will survey them again with these same questions at least one more time, if not two more. There is more to an education than the curriculum and we need to make sure we are meeting the needs or our students so they can be successful in life!
I love my job.