To my colleagues and administrators:
What if I told you there was a way for students to come to school every day eager to learn? What if I told you we could have total participation and engagement from each and every one of those students in every lesson and activity? And let’s say, meanwhile, teachers could have the opportunity to provide differentiated instruction to each and every one of those students? And they could do this every day! And for our administrators, what if I told you, from all of this, you could be handed reports of increased achievement results and data? How does that sound?
Well, I present to you my innovation plan. The objective of this plan is to improve the system of education in the elementary school level in all content areas by implementing the Station Rotation model via the Blended Learning model (Horn & Staker, 2015).
I want to implement an innovation plan that would integrate blended learning into the classroom—more specifically, the first grade classroom. In this case, we would not be eliminating our traditional methods, but we would agree to transform them. We would offer a system of education that is better, and would only get better with full support and collaboration from each and every one of us. In other words, we would be modernizing those traditional methods, which we are so comfortable with, by adding an essential twenty-first century skill—learning and teaching with technology.
So, what is blended learning? Horn and Staker (2015), the authors of Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, define blended learning as any formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace and at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home (p. 54). We’ve got the “supervised brick-and-mortar location” down—our school. Let’s go back to the part that allows students control over some element of their learning. As paraprofessionals, teachers, and administrators, we want the learning experiences and environments of our students to be—just that—theirs, student-centered. Student-centered instruction gives students the power to not only have some control over their learning, but it also gives them the ability to own their learning. So let’s move the focus from the teachers back to our students by giving them the opportunity to learn through choice, responsibility, and ownership—and most importantly, giving them a voice.
And how do we implement blended learning into our classrooms? Within our blended learning program, we would integrate the Station Rotation model. Horn and Staker (2015) define the Station Rotation model within the Rotation model as a course or subject in which students rotate on a fixed schedule or at the teacher’s discretion between and all of the learning modalities, at least one of which is online learning (p. 55). Here, we would be implementing the Station Rotation model to not only one or two content areas, but all of them. So, why use this model? The Station Rotation model would balance most, if not all, of the learning modalities within three to five stations. Through this model, we would be implementing differentiated instruction for academic skills through various ways, one being online instruction, and the other being teacher-led instruction. The other stations would involve collaborative activities that would reinforce the academic skills and allow students to have opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction, cooperation, independent practice, and other social and emotional skills.
This innovation plan can be a catalyst for change in our system of education in many ways. Through this plan, technology would be playing a large role in the quality of the lessons because the materials, delivery, content, and assessments would be transformed while still meeting our state, district, and school standards and goals. Like the saying goes, “Change is good.” By implementing this plan, the Station Rotation model through blended learning, we would not only be changing education, we would be transforming it, modernizing it—and not for us, but for our future leaders and innovators, our students. We would be transforming their learning experiences and environments through innovative planning, implementation, and assessment of content learnt via online instruction, teacher-led instruction, and other collaborative activities and stations.
Horn, M. B., & Staker, H. (2015). Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools
(First ed.). San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass.