Teaching in Beta

Gallery Walk Posters
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My colleagues, Kelli Hixon and Stacey Schuh, regularly facilitate blended learning regional events across the state. In most cases, they’ve partnered up with intermediate school districts (ISD’s) throughout the state to help host and promote the events. A great result of this collaboration is that they get a great mix of teachers from the local districts that each ISD serves.

I was fortunate to fill in for Stacey at an event this week at Jackson ISD for secondary teachers. At the core of these two-day events is a project-based lesson: Plan a blended lesson you could use in your classroom.

On the first day, Kelli set the stage for blended lesson planning by introducing teachers to the holistic mindset for blended learning design.

The discussions that follow are awesome. Common refrains include how they can see themselves adding this mindset to how they already plan and many teachers discuss how they might make different decisions than what is modeled in the video example. It’s interesting to hear the conversation shift from different educational tools to pedagogical need and descriptions of digital tools that could potentially support those pedagogies!

Continuing throughout the first day and into the second, Kelli demonstrates a few tools and gives teachers ample time to explore an extended list of similar tools. Teachers explore using the tools within the context of building collaborative activities, rich learning content and formative/summative assessments for their blended lessons.

In the afternoon of their final day together, teachers synthesize their lesson development onto a poster. The posters give a top-level overview of the content and learning targets for each lesson. Teachers conduct a gallery walk; one last opportunity to learn from each other and provide feedback. You can see some photos I captured from the gallery walk here.

These are still rough drafts that will continue to evolve before teachers use them with students and there will be more opportunities for improvement after the student experience as well. As teachers, we live in beta. We need to be open to the learning opportunities that come about from sharing unfinished work. The work is never finished after all. Lessons are living things. But when shared, the can be used by other teachers and grow in effectiveness through their revisions as well.

In the spirit of this, please take a look at the gallery walk posters and share your feedback. We’ll make sure that the lesson creator gets it!

Jeff Gerlach

Jeff Gerlach

Jeff is passionate about helping teachers enhance learning for students by way of strategic technology integration. This fuels his work as an instructional design coach. Prior to his time at Michigan Virtual, Jeff was a social studies teacher for six school years and he earned a master’s degree from Michigan State University in educational technology. Away from the education world he enjoys spending time at the ice rink, at home with his young family and head nodding to hip-hop music.

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