Interested in integrating educational technology in the classroom?

Here's what blended learning might look like in the classroom.

Take a look at this Edutopia-produced video on the Modern Classrooms Project. If you are interested in integrating blended learning, the Modern Classrooms Project lays out a model that you can follow (while making changes where you feel necessary). They even have a free course that you can follow to teach it to you.
The blended learning that takes place in my classroom is based on the Modern Classrooms model.

Podcasts for PD. Have a listen.

Considering Podcasts? Consider these especially.

The House of EdTech is hosted by Chris Nesi, who is a giant in educational podcasting, both as a podcaster and as a producer. His podcast is polished, professional, and full of big ideas.

This might be thought of more as a show than just a podcast with information in it.

I've learned more from hosts Nick Johnson and Eric Guise of Got Tech the Podcast than I have from anyone else in the field of educational technology. Got Tech covers lots of material (including websites, applications, general edtech tools, and best practices) in a relatively short amount of time. There is a lot of information coming at you.

It's a good thing they have such good show notes, or else I'd have a hard time keeping up.

Author/Podcaster/Blogger/Speaker Jake Miller has two podcasts worth mentioning, Educational Duct Tape and The EdTech News Brief. While Educational Duct Tape is full of interviews and ideas, The EdTech News Brief is a quick review of things happening in the world of edtech.

Both of these shows are worth a listen.

The Digital Learning Podcast is hosted by two heavyweights in the edtech industry, Matt Miller and Holly Clark. Both have authored multiple books, and between the two of them, I've got at least 3-4 of their books. This show is nice and short, but still full of good information.

This podcast could probably benefit anyone, regardless of how much experience they have with edtech.

The Easy EdTech Podcast with Monica Burns is another outstanding podcast that covers a broad range of material, although educational technology is at the center. This is another relatively short podcast although it relies heavily on well-known guests.

Monica Burns stays current in the edtech world and is quite active on Twitter.

Here's how I explain blended learning to parents.

Screencasting is a Must.

Sooner or later, you're going to have to create your own screencasts. Why, do you ask? Because screencasting is simply too powerful not to use. Recording your screen and creating your own videos is a versatile way to record lessons, differentiate instruction, and help more than one student at a time. You can't be everywhere at once, but screencasts afford you the opportunity to help multiple students at once. A student can't move on without getting help on long division with the standard algorithm? Refer that student to review a screencast in which you've already taught it.

Screencasts allow direct instruction to be sent home. Using these videos as homework while working with students one-on-one or in groups is a blended learning model called the "Flipped" model. This format gives the teacher the flexibility to do things other than lecture when students are present, and puts the learner in charge of his or her own instruction. Rather than sending students home with work that they might need help with, send them home with instruction on how to complete the work in class that you can help them with.

Screencasted lessons are extremely beneficial when there are absences - either the students or your own. Absent students can easily review any lessons that they missed out on. When a teacher is absent, subs can refer students to a teacher's screencasted lessons. An absence doesn't have to mean a lost day for students or a day of the unknown when a teacher is out. The teacher can be confident in the lesson that students are receiving with a substitute.

Once you take the leap and decide to start screencasting, there are two tools you must use for some degree of success. The first is screencasting software itself. While there are many free options available, pro plans tend to be relatively inexpensive. Plus, pro plans also ensure no watermark (making your video look more professional) and tend to offer superior editing options. The tool that I use is Screenpal. Among screencasting software with editing features, Screenpal might be second to none.

Next, you'll have to means to ensure students are watching the videos that you create. Let's also assume that not all students are highly motivated learners. Some students will say they watched the videos, but haven't. If you require notes, some students will say they watched the videos while copying a classmate's notes. Some students will fast forward through the video to get done faster. However, there is a tool that is able to fix this problem. It's called Edpuzzle.

Edpuzzle allows a teacher to embed questions within the video itself, to see how students are doing. These can take the form of multiple-choice questions or open-ended ones. Edpuzzle has a "notes" feature that can serve as a prompt to take notes or take note of something in the video. Students cannot fast-forward or skip video content. Students can also not open another tab and let Edpuzzle run in the background. Opening another tab causes the video to pause. Edpuzzle makes it very difficult for students to fake their way through your screencasts.

If I see that a student isn't making a legitimate effort on the questions, I reset the video. In Edpuzzle, you can easily determine who has watched the videos and when, their score, and also get a breakdown of how students are doing on each particular question. In my opinion, Edpuzzle is a must when teachers create their own videos as lessons.

Digital Curation with Wakelet

While the previous two tools that I mentioned (ScreenPal and Edpuzzle) are both free tools that teachers really should get the pro version for, Wakelet is a great tool that is 100% free. Wakelet is a tool that allows you to collect resources and store them in one place. Examples of things that can be collected are videos, pdf's, bookmarks, Flips, or just plain old text that you write. Since Word and Google docs can be easily converted to pdf's, the potential of pdf's should not be underestimated.

While this may not sound especially unique, Wakelet's visually appealing layout makes its collections (called wakes) easy to look through and navigate for anyone with a link. In addition, students can create their own wakes, giving teachers even more options on how Wakelet can be used in the classroom.

In my classroom, Wakelet is indispensable for blended learning. For example, in math, in each unit I list every video I've created in a unit, additional videos I've found online (which may be easier for students to understand than mine), and every page of practice work or Mastery Check I'll assign with that unit. Students can easily locate videos if they need review (these are hosted on YouTube) or even look at the difference between the four levels of Mastery Checks that are assigned. Sometimes I'll have other links to sites that students can practice with, like Desmos, Khan Academy, or Transum. An example of one of my collections is found here.

I've also used Wakelet as a space to gather resources for students to utilize for projects. I've also used Wakelet strictly for myself, as a collection space of resources that I want to hold onto. I've also had students use Wakelet as a place to hold onto their own resources that they have gathered for projects.

I have just been scratching the surface of what Wakelet is capable of. This year I will probably use Wakelet as a means of incorporating Choice Boards or Playlists (or even both) and student portfolios. This tool is a must-have tool for teachers who rely on technology in the classroom.

Blended Learning - 4 Models that Work (Cult of Pedagogy episode 196 with Catlin Tucker)

Although The Cult of Pedagogy is a podcast that isn't devoted to educational technology, it is devoted to teaching. It is also the finest podcast I've heard that is geared toward teachers. When episodes deal with educational technology, it's a special treat. In episode 196, host Jennifer Gonzalez interviews Catlin Tucker, a teacher/author/speaker who is an expert at blended learning and UDL. I was enlightened listening to this episode, as Catlin Tucker is always a joy to listen to.

If you miss anything or need a review, The Cult of Pedagogy provides the finest show notes of any podcast I've listened to. Check it out.

Please begin here.