This summer, District 230, has provided their students with the opportunity of taking a blended learning class. Blending learning is taking the traditional aspects of the classroom, and combining them with new, technological aspects and allowing students to work both from home and in the school classroom. The students meet with the teacher in person in small groups on assigned days as well as communicate online via e-mail, virtual web conferences and discussion posts.
Dr. Stacey Gonzales, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, explains, “We heard from students that they wanted opportunities to expand their academic learning opportunities while being able to participate in sports, vacations, part-time jobs and other activities over the summer. We knew our experienced teachers could provide an opportunity that would not only enhance student learning by using our online tools but also prepare them for their post-secondary experiences as well.”
This program allows students to better develop time management and communication skills, as well as learn how to use technology for academic purposes.
Meera Alzobi, an upcoming senior at Sandburg, explained that the blended learning classroom has allowed her to balance her job and academic homework, and it has provided her a more personalized relationship with her teacher.
While taking the blended American Literature course, Alzobi explained, “I am able to write my outlines on notebook paper, and then go back and type it out. Then my teacher goes through each of our papers by providing online comments and then will meet with me to and give me more specific feedback so I can improve my writing skills.”
Blended learning allows the students to have more one-on-one time with the teacher, which creates better feedback to help the student improve academic learning and foster more personal connections between the teacher and student.
One of the blended learning teachers, Allen Cunningham, explained, “The most attractive quality to a blended class is flexibility. An online classroom enables students with full schedules to communicate through written or spoken words, voice or video messages, or memes and shorthand at any time of day.”
This summer, Consolidated High School District 230 offered five classes: American Literature, Contemporary Literature, College Prep Writing, Government and College Algebra. District 230 uses Canvas for their online academics during the school year and this summer leveraged that platform to provide online and blended learning experiences for their students. On Canvas, the students and teachers are able to access their grades, feedback on assignments, communicate with the teachers and keep up to date with all of their assignments.
“We have had great feedback on our blended learning summer program and will work as a district team to determine how to expand more opportunities like these for our students,” Gonzales explained.
Picture 1 - English teacher Lori Dee meets with Meera Alzobi individually to provide personalized writing instruction.
Picture 2 - English teacher Tony Roditis meets with a small group of his Contemporary Literature students to discuss the novel they read at home.
Written by Keagan Gay, District 230 Communications Intern