Since 2000, tens of thousands of teachers have used DonorsChoose.org to get the tools and resources they need to make their classroom ready for blended learning. Adding personalized, digital learning to a traditional classroom often requires new technology, a challenge for schools already struggling with budget cuts.
Blending learning is an instructional strategy that uses digital content and teacher-led activities to maximize student success. The goal of blended learning is to provide individualized, self-paced instruction for all students, making it easy for teachers to pull data that informs their weekly instruction; this usually looks like differentiated, small group activities that keep students engaged.
To build their blended learning classroom, teachers are requesting iPads, Chromebooks, Kindles, and other mobile technology along with learning software, like Reflex or Study Island. We’ve compiled some of the most popular blended learning tools that our community of experts (teachers, of course!) are using in their classrooms right now.
Chromebooks for Blended Learning
To provide her students with access to online learning resources, Ms. Nguyen requested five Chromebooks, which she now hosts in her small computer lab. Students use the Chromebooks to access interactive software with adaptive technology that challenges them according to their individual growth.
“We will be using these Chromebooks to practice literacy and math skills… in creative, individualized ways.”
Flexible Seating to Personalize the Learning Experience
For her diverse classroom of early learners, Mrs. Linch requested new seating options, which she uses to keep her students focused on the variety of tasks they encounter on a daily basis. We love this project because it highlights an important element of a successful blended learning environment: personalization. Because the learning needs of each student are different, a blended learning classroom should also account for the needs of more active students who find it challenging to sit still even in front of a tablet or computer screen.
“These resources will give my students the chance to move around the room and have comfortable seating to help enhance their learning.”
Headphones to Encourage Independent Learning
To keep every individual student in her classroom of English language learners engaged with their online English, Math, and Science lessons, Ms. Dutcher requested headphones for her blended learning classroom. In this case, headphones allow students to engage in individualized learning, meaning that they are developing their grammar at a pace that meets their specific needs.
“During reading, students go on two great websites that help foster their learning and understanding of reading comprehension.”
Software for Individualized Learning
In order to make her history lessons more relatable, Ms. Kerrissey requested a subscription to Flocabulary, a learning portal that uses hip-hop culture and educational raps to make learning fun for students. Learning software like Flocabulary uses educational gaming, video lessons, and projects to make it easier for students to retain key facts. This blended learning method has been popular for teachers who are looking for ways to get their students excited about each lesson. Ms. Kerrissey says that the catchy content makes learning engaging, empowering, and inspiring for her young historians.
“Learning should be engaging, empowering, and inspiring!”
While tablets and headphones are the most requested resources for blended learning, there are many other ways that teachers can integrate technology into their lesson plans. After all, who knows students and their unique learning needs better than their teacher? Post a project and get blended learning tools into your classroom this school year.