Guest blogger: Carla Youmans
Current position: Media & Technology Coordinator in Gwinnett County Public Schools, Georgia
Formerly: Instructional Technology Specialist in Forsyth County Schools, Georgia
In today’s society, all K-12 learning environments should currently be using blended learning—incorporating a learning management system (LMS) in conjunction with traditional brick and mortar, face-to-face instruction to enhance learning.
Students attending schools with hybrid models attend class part of the time, and learn online part of the time. A hybrid model allows a student to remain in their “school” with their neighbors, friends, etc. and avoid having to attend a charter school in order to find this flexibility, personalization, voice and choice.
Schools implementing a hybrid model usually:
- use an LMS to afford students flexibility in path, pace, place and time
- seek best practices for personalizing learning for students
Benefits of Hybrid Learning
Using itslearning, Forsyth County School System (near Atlanta, Georgia) was able to start the first public school hybrid model in the southeast United States: traditional students in a brick and mortar school were offered the flexibility to personalize their learning while working remotely on Mondays and Fridays (under certain guidelines and parameters).
The seamless use of itslearning allowed teachers to develop their content modules, incorporate video clips, and include remediation and enrichment.
Additionally, the student planner—one of my personal favorite parts of itslearning—allows students, parents, teachers, administrators and counselors to constantly see what is going on academically in the life of a student (even when they are absent). Organization is one of the skills that students have a hard time mastering, yet itslearning makes it easy for them, while making it easy to communicate with parents.
With students working remotely two days a week, our teachers needed a reliable learning management system with effective communication tools, assessment tools and remediation/enrichment tools. Without any one of these, our work with students—and in providing students flexibility and personalization strategies—would not have been possible. Our ability to dream and envision these possibilities would not have been imaginable.
I have had the opportunity to work with various learning management systems, both free and purchased, and I have to say that I am a huge advocate of itslearning. Its usability and intuitiveness made it easy to move forward with innovative instructional practices that were best for students!
Below is a list of hybrid learning benefits that I’ve compiled. I’d love to hear how your school is using a blended or hybrid model! Feel free to use the comments section.