Acellus – Blended Learning

Acellus:  The Science of Learning

image4

Acellus is a very powerful deployment of the blended learning principles.  Pioneered by Dr Rog, Acellus has online courses: grades K-12, and some College.  In the courses are included video instructions, teaching individual concepts, the students are then given problems to solve, to prove that they have completely learned each concept.  They are then given reviews and exams, to show how well they have retained the knowledge, and if they are ready to move on.

Video: Mission Acellus

Where the blended learning comes in, is that as the students are progressing through the online course, the Teachers can use the Live Monitor feature, to see the students progress, answers entered, and what concepts they are struggling with; They are then able to assist individual students as they are needed, and on a one on one basis.

Learn more 512x512bbabout the Acellus Learning System and some of the ways it is being utilized by schools as a blended learning solution to help students succeed.

Rocketship – Blended Learning

How Rocketship Uses Blended Learning

Dynamic Classrooms Meet the Needs of Every Student

Rocketship classrooms allow us to maximize time for personalized learning, striving to reach the right student with the right lesson at the right time. Blended learning is about creating a flexible space where teachers leverage tools—tutors, online learning programs and their peers—to engage kids in a truly personalized learning experience. Innovation is in our DNA; we’re continually narrowing in on what’s best for students and our instruction, which features five core components.
 

Whole Group Instruction

Teachers engage students in grade level
instruction with their peers.

Small Group Instruction

Teachers and tutors engage students in small groups of peers on their similar level.

Targeted Intervention

Teachers & tutors schedule small group intervention for students who are struggling with certain concepts. (Response to Intervention)

Team Learning

Teachers provide a framework for students to collaborate, share knowledge and build social skills through projects in small groups with their peers.

Online Learning

Students have time to practice concepts on computers. Adaptive online learning programs provide additional practice where a student is struggling and accelerate students beyond grade level when appropriate.

+ Enrichment

Students also rotate through enrichment programs where they learn about health in physical education and further explore their creativity in the arts, language and dance.

Rotational Model

In the Rotational Model, students spend most of their day in the traditional classroom setting. About half of the day is spent in a humanities block and a quarter of the day is spent in a math block, with separate teachers who specialize in their respective subjects. Students receive large group instruction, experience small group and team learning and receive targeted intervention from their classroom teacher.

Students then rotate into Rocketship’s Learning Lab for adaptive online learning, additional small group instruction, team learning and targeted intervention—all led by Rocketship tutors. During Learning Lab time, students also rotate through enrichment where they participate in physical education and the arts.

A Rocketeer’s Day

Rocketship schedules differ from school to school and grade-level to grade level, though each student’s day features similar components. Instruction in the humanities and math & STEM is led by Rocketship teachers who specialize in one subject. The learning lab is led by individual learning specialists with the support of assistant principals. To meet the unique needs of each community, specific enrichment activities are selected by school leaders, though every Rocketeer has daily access to physical education.
Subject specialization allows our teachers to be masters of their content domains. Humanities teachers lead double blocks with two cohorts of students while STEM teachers lead a single block for all four cohorts within a grade level.

Each grade-level team shares a common planning time while their students experience enrichment classes.


*Breaks are often built into classes and during student transition times. **Dismissal time varies by grade level. ***After-school programs are offered at all Rocketship schools in partnership with service providers like the YMCA and City Year.

Where We’ve Been and What’s Next

Learn more about the continued evolution of our instructional model: blog.rsed.org.

The Models of Blended Learning

2_awardWinning_BlendedLearning_large6.png

6 Models of Blended Learning by DreamBox

As school districts look for ways to give their students a personalized learning experience without expanding their budgets, blended learning  can be an effective option. This approach to schooling combines face-to-face instruction with online learning and has yielded strong results since officially being researched as an education strategy. In fact, according to a 2010 study from the U.S. Department of Education, blended learning classes produce statistically better results than their face-to-face, non-hybrid equivalents. This may be partly due to the fact that this rapidly growing model not only increases the flexibility and individualization of student learning experiences, but also allows teachers to expand the time they spend as facilitators of learning. Schools make the switch to blended learning for a variety of reasons. In addition to considering the age of the students, the reasons for choosing a blended model generally dictate which of the six models they choose to implement:

1) Face-to-Face Driver Model

Of all the blended learning models, face-to-face driver is the closest to a typical school structure. With this approach, the introduction of online instruction is decided on a case-by-case basis, meaning only certain students in a given class will participate in any form of blended learning. The face-to-face driver approach allows students who are struggling or working above their grade level to progress at their own pace using technology in the classroom.

Some schools have also found this model to be a helpful way to engage English language learners (ELL), who sometimes fall behind not because they are incapable of understanding a concept, but because they’re not native speakers. A 2009 study of the Round Rock Independent School District in Texas found that the math and reading test scores of third and fifth grade ELLs increased following the implementation of blended learning and the use of interactive whiteboards.

2) Rotation Model

In this form of blended learning, students rotate between different stations on a fixed schedule – either working online or spending face-to-face time with the teacher. The rotational model is more widely used in elementary schools – 80 percent of elementary schools in California that use blended learning follow the rotational model – because many are already set up to have students rotate between stations.

In a case study of IDEA Public Schools in Texas published by DreamBox Learning, the rotational model of blended learning was determined to be an effective means of increasing the achievement of students in this Title 1 School. IDEA students rotated between learning labs, where they used intelligent adaptive learning software to learn math concepts, and a traditional classroom. The result? Students became more active learners and often challenged themselves to work harder and learn material that had not yet been introduced in their math classroom.

3) Flex Model

Schools who are supporting a large number of non-traditional or at-risk students often choose the flex model of blended learning. With this approach, material is primarily delivered online. Although teachers are in the room to provide on-site support as needed, learning is primarily self-guided, as students independently learn and practice new concepts in a digital environment. The flex model is an approach used by the AdvancePath Academy, a blended learning school, which works with school district partners to address the needs of students with behavioral, academic and/or socio-economic challenges.

Students at AdvancePath spend most of their time in a computer lab learning online. However, certified teachers are also on-site to work with students on reading and writing, lead small-group work, and provide help as needed. More than 90 percent of students enrolled at AdvancePath either graduate from high school, transfer to other schools to complete their studies, or are on track for graduation. These are promising results, considering that only three out of 10 students who drop out of high school manage to earn a degree by age 25.

4) Online Lab Model

As schools face increasingly tighter resource constraints, the online lab model of blended learning is a viable option for helping students complete courses, including those not offered at the specific school site. In this scenario, students learn entirely online but travel to a dedicated computer lab to complete their coursework. Adults supervise the lab, but they are not trained teachers. This not only allows schools to offer courses for which they have no teacher or not enough teachers, but also allows students to work at a pace and in a subject area that suits them without affecting the learning environment of other students.

In a case study published by DreamBox Learning, the Inner City Education Foundation demonstrated how vital online lab programs can be for school districts facing budgetary and resource shortfalls. The ICEF Vista Elementary Academy in Los Angeles faced significant state funding cuts in 2010, so school leaders instituted learning labs in an attempt to give students quality digital learning experiences because they had fewer teachers. The result? Students in need of intervention had more face time with teachers and the school’s second and third graders demonstrated improved math skills.

5) Self-Blend Model

Popular in high schools, the self-blend model of blended learning gives students the opportunity to take classes beyond what is already offered at their school. While these individuals will attend a traditional school environment, they also opt to supplement their learning through online courses offered remotely. In order for this method of blended learning to be successful, students must be highly self-motivated. Self-blend is ideal for the student who wants to take additional Advanced Placement courses, or who has interest in a subject area that is not covered in the traditional course catalog.

6) Online Driver Model

At the opposite end of the spectrum from face-to-face driver we have online driver, which is a form of blended learning in which students work remotely and material is primarily delivered via an online platform. Although face-to-face check-ins are optional, students can usually chat with teachers online if they have questions. This model of blended learning is ideal for students who need more flexibility and independence in their daily schedules. This approach is becoming increasingly popular – each year, the number of students participating in online driver programs increases by about 15 percent.

Acellus – Blended Learning

When looking for Blended Learning, Acellus Learning offers some very interesting ideas.  The students taking a complete course online, but the teacher closely monitors and assists the students, as they sense a need of individual attention.  Acellus has put a lot of work into doing what Dr Rog, (The founder of Acellus), calls “Empowering Teachers”.  The idea with this being, that technology is not to replace teachers, but to help empower the teachers in a blended learning environment.  So below are some details pulled together about Acellus, as one option of Blended Learning.

512x512bb
Acellus Learning

Teacher Empowerment Features:

The Acellus Teacher Interface gives teachers the ability to track progress, identify problems, and provide real-time assistance.  With Acellus, the teachers can see out of all their students, who is making progress, who has been inactive, who has been getting problems wrong, etc… They can then click on a certain student, and see the exact answers that the student has entered, or where they are at in the course, providing valuable information to assist in the process of working with the individual. More on Acellus Teacher Interface

Along with the empowering of teachers, to make a great Blended Learning program you really need to utilize Technology in making a difference in educating the students.  Dr Rog has introduced many technological advances in Acellus, such as complete courses filmed in 3D, Intelligent Interaction Learning, Swiss Cheese Problems, and other special learning tools, that are only possible with today’s Technology.

I would love to go into deeper talk about some of these features, but as Acellus is only the first deployment option we are looking at, here is a link to Acellus.com to look at some of this in greater depth.

Overview – Acellus has some really promising ideas that could be really helpful in your blended learning project.  With courses in Grades K-12, along with these interesting technological ideas, Acellus looks to be a powerful option for success.

 

 

Power of Blended Learning

Blended Learning as a GPS by iNACOL

Today, with  GPS, it is almost impossible to get lost. A GPS and maps provide multiple ways to your destination. You have access to information on the routes, speed of travel, the time to destination, and places of interest along the way to explore.

Imagine if today’s learning environments were re-imagined to work more akin to the experience of using a GPS when you are driving.

Just as a car’s GPS system provides an immediate alert when a wrong turn is made or the driver gets stopped in a traffic jam, advanced learning technologies in the hands of teachers and students can provide immediate feedback to keep students aware of the pacing and progress toward their learning goals — and advise them when they need help.

A next generation education system would offer each student their own GPS-like dashboard for learning so that each student would know if they were on track toward their destination—graduation, college and career-readiness—every moment of every day and every point along the way.

Effective blended learning environments provide this GPS for students and teachers, allowing them to navigate with flexibility along individual pathways for truly personalized learning.

Blended learning offers a vehicle for optimizing the instructional design toward personalization through transparent data dashboards and a personalized learning map for enhancing a student’s choice of path. This flexibility allows teachers and students to access multiple resources and a variety of content (with reviews and recommendations), but provides a clear profile of how much progress students have made and how much work is still needed to continue along the pathway if they are to achieve success.

The learning journey is supported by harnessing advanced, adaptive technologies to provide immediate feedback in order to stay on track and uncover opportunities to dive into areas of unique interests for deeper learning along the way. The journey is not necessarily linear, and a student is able to take multiple pathways to achieve their learning goals and explore based on individual interests—all while co-piloting with educators and receiving regular feedback on progress so they don’t get lost.

Side trips—peaked by interests that contribute to the broader acquisition of an individual’s knowledge and skills—can bring joy to the journey. Step by step, students build competencies and engage in meaningful projects and exhibitions which show what they know and have learned.

A GPS for learning is an apt analogy to demonstrate how blended and online learning environments can be a vehicle for personalized learning through use of a customized dashboard.  Teachers, parents and students are shown real-time information and provided with the tools to optimize learning pathways along a personalized journey toward graduation and student success.

Blended Learning (Overview)

 

Blended learning has been found to be very effective in improving grades for the average student.  The effectiveness is very much based on getting just the right mix of face to face communication, and of the advanced technology of today’s world.   Below are some overviews of the most interesting deployments of Online Blended Learning I have come upon. In future posts I plan to go more in depth into each one, and how they are putting it to use.

 

Acellus is a very powerful deployment of the blended learning principles.  Pioneered by Dr Rog, Acellus has online courses, grades K-12, and some College courses.  In the courses are included video instructions teaching concepts, the students are then given problems to solve, to prove that they have completely learned the subjects.  They are then given reviews and exams, to show how well they have retained the knowledge, and if they are ready to move on.  Where the blended learning comes in, is that as the students are progressing through the online course the Teachers at the School have a live monitor set up, so they can watch, and see the answers entered, and how fast the student is moving on, and then be able to assist individuals as they are needed and on a one on one basis.

K12 offers a combination of tools to assist in blended online learning. Started by Ronald Packard, K12 offers online lessons, and various online activities for the students, also K12 has available textbooks and workbooks, combining the online, with paper and pencil.  The students also participate in virtual sessions scheduled by their teacher, where they are taught special instruction as an online class.  These sessions, along with telephone interaction with the teacher, and other students, turn this into another popular blended learning program.

Connections Academy has worked to develop an online program, where they can have students advance in their curriculum, working with teachers and connecting with students in their online program.  Begun by Barbara Dreyer, Connections has developed an “online engine” Connexus, with this students have access to online resources and lessons, and similar to K12, Connexus has live lessons where the teacher gives general instructions to the students.  Also in reference to the blended learning aspect, Connections has gatherings, and field trips for the face to face interactions of a blended learning program.