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february 2015 

Forest Hills Schools takes first steps toward blended learning

This suburban Cincinnati school district has been taking the important first steps towards blended learning. As it outlined at this year's Ohio Educational Technology Conference, Forest Hills has begun a thoughtful process of engaging stakeholders about the need to personalize learning and its interest in blended learning to achieve that. A survey of students, parents and staff revealed many misconceptions and lack of knowledge about blended learning and how it connects to learning. For instance, the survey indicated that respondents thought blended learning resulted in fewer teachers, that blended was basically on-line learning, and that students are progressive when it comes to technology in education. Forest Hills also discovered that the community is willing to see technology improve outcomes, but it has a desire to build on traditions in the district and wants teachers to remain a key part of the learning process.
Dr. Lauren Angelone, an education consultant to Forest Hills, developed a white paper on these early steps in Forest Hills and joined a team of Forest Hills educators in their presentation at the 2015 OETC in February. Read more about their first steps and connect to the presentation Forest Hills made at OETC here.

Read more

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Enjoy our monthly newsletter on blended learning!

You are receiving this newsletter as a member of the Ohio Blended Learning Network or as a guest, and our goal is to help you learn more about blended learning by highlighting best practices, sharing insights, and advancing opportunities. Let us know how we are doing, and send along your own best pratices, updates and insights! (For back issues of The Blender, follow this link.)

OBLN districts present at Ohio Educational Technology Conference

Forest Hills School District, Pickerington Local Schools, Oak Hills Local Schools, and the Hilliard City Schools were OBLN members among those who presented at the 2015 Ohio Educational Technology Conference in February.  The annual conference in Columbus showcases new and progressing developments in the use of technology to enhance instruction and learning. Forest Hills’ first steps into blended learning are outlined above. Below are snapshots of the presentations from the other OBLN members.

Pickerington demonstrates how on-line assessment tool improves data analysis 

In today's educational world, assessing student's knowledge and achievement is key in determining an instructional path. Brian Seymour, Pickeringtons Director of Instructional Technology, and Ryan LaCavita of Lightning Grader showed a tool that gives assessments (formative, summative, and common) to all students and access to instant data to help make those instructional path decisions. Learn more.

Oak Hills shares how to create a Google culture districtwide 
 Over the past five years, Oak Hills has rolled out the use of Google from preschool to high school to board members in order to instill a culture to share anything and everything. Oak Hills staff showcased innovative examples that can be used in districts immediately. Learn more. 

Hilliard develops personalized learning science resources 
Hilliard City Schools has created and is using authentic course resources in grades 6-10 science courses as a replacement for traditional purchased texts. As an extension of a year-long realignment of the science curriculum, district teachers participated in a pilot group to use iBooks Author to curate informational texts aligned to state standards. Learn more. 

Blended Learning survey needs your participation!

About half of OBLN schools and districts completed the statwide survey on blended learning uses and practices conducted by OBLN with the Christensen Institute and The Learning Accelerator. The survey data will be used to inform state leaders and stakeholders on the status of blended learning in Ohio schools and districts and what may be the next steps in Ohio to encourage high-quality blended learning.
The survey link will be open until March 20th. OBLN schools and districts that complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools signed by co-author Michael Horn!
The survey can be found at the link below. Any questions about the survey can be directed to Brian Bridges, the survey consultant, at .

NSBA to showcase Mentor blended learning 

The National School Boards Association has selected Mentor Public Schools as one of three national Educational Technology Site Visits for 2015. Educators and board members from across the country will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about what Mentor has accomplished with its districtwide blended learning initiative. The visit is scheduled for April 26-28. A link to register for the visit is below.

Read more

Leadership in Blended Learning to get started this spring

More than 80 Ohio principals and other educators will begin statewide training in blended learning later this spring as part of a nationwide pilot sponsored by The Learning Accelerator and the Friday Institute at North Carolina State University. The Ohio Blended Learning Network, in partnership with Mentor Public Schools, will be contacting participating districts and participants  soon about the start date and schedule for the Leadership in Blended Learning program.  Fourteen Ohio school districts were selected last fall to participate in the Ohio pilot. 

OBLN and Mentor were among seven grantees selected to participate in the first year of the national pilot to train principals to be effective leaders in blended learning. In addition to Ohio, the other grantees are Fulton County Schools in Georgia, the Greeley-Evans School District 6 in Colorado, LEAP Innovations in Illinois  the Rhode Island Association of School Principals, Rocketship Education in California and Tennessee, and the Rogers Family Foundation in partnership with the Oakland Unified School District. 

(OBLN members: Tell us your story about progress in blended learning!)
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Ten posts we've been reading on blended learning

EdTech on display everywhere at OETC 2015

In case you missed it, blogger Brad Henry recaps the Ohio Educational Technology Conference 2015 in February and notes that the event organizers incorporated feedback from previous participants on how to improve the statewide conference. (February 2015) 

The “Magical Mystery Tour of NYC personalized learning

Chris Sturgis recounts in a ComptencyWorks blog what he saw and experienced visiting student-centered schools in New York City during a recent tour of the sites. (You will have to experience for yourself why the Beatles are included here.) (February 2015)

Yet Analytics to bring data analytics to competency ED

This Maryland-based software firm specializing in big data technology for training and learning is partnering with The Learning Accelerator to bring cutting-edge data analytics to the development of high-quality education standards for education. (February 2015) 

BetterLesson releases videos of effective blended instruction
The Learning Accelerator and BetterLesson released the first 53 videos of effective instruction in blended learning from 11 Blended Learning Master Teachers from across the country. More videos are expected throughout the year.  (February 2015)
Layering Digital Content in Math: Why 1+1 is more than 2

Education Elements staff describe how the use of more than one digital content provider to support a blended learning model is not only a good idea but recommended. They describe how this typically works by layering math content. (February 2015)

Getting the right fit: How to select a digital content portfolio

Speaking of Education Elements and digital content, the Cupertino, CA technical assistance provider offers an online course on how to select the right digital content portfolio to support your blended learning model. (February 2015)

Being a girl geek: Why we love being female engineers

Girl Day in February was designed to introduce girls to engineering professions. If you missed out, check out what Education Elements put together with testimonials from its all-girl staff of engineers and cool web site honoring female engineers. (February 2015)

"I need a learning sherpa!"

Katherine Prince of KnowledgeWorks spends most of her time thinking and talking about the future of education and personalizinge learning. Now, with her 3-year-old daughter, the future is here as she contemplates education options. (February 2015)

#FutureEDchat: Transform structures to serve learning

Speaking of KnowledgeWorks, Katherine Prince moderated a #futureedchat on Twitter to generate discussion around transforming supportive systemic structures to better serve student learning. Here is a recap of that interesting Twitter chat. (February 2015)

Not too early to prep for SXSWedu

Eric Nentrup, an eLearning coach from central Indiana, wants you to have a good time in Austin at SXSWedu next week. So he has put together some tips in this Getting Smart blog to avoid FOMO and to address CBS. Read on.  (February 2015) 

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The Number: 14

The percentage of females in the engineering workforce in the U.S. in 2009. Reports indicate that number was dropping from earlier decades.

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Last Word

“My sophomore feels her classes are set up to address the masses and leave the slow learners behind." 

- Parent at Anderson High School in the Forest Hills School District

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