As an educator, three profiles of students stand out to me: ones who perform for the A, those who like learning but don’t get the grades and students who are apathetic towards learning in general.
The growth mindset and what it does for my students
The growth mindset, a term coined by Stanford psychologist Carol Dwek and made popular by her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, has given me answers for encouraging all three to succeed in and beyond the classroom. It has also made me a better teacher and opened me up to finding ways to combine new technology with traditional teaching methods for my students. With the current situation as it is, teachers have written me asking me for ideas for transitioning their classroom model to one that works for online distance learning.
To get started, here’s a quick run-down on the growth mindset, a concept I consider foundational when creating a classroom or online learning model.
Now, what can we do for apathetic students or the curious ones who ask great questions but don’t excel in class? And how do I teach this important lesson online and help my students access distance learning? Blended learning has been the answer for me and has opened doors for students I didn’t know how to keep engaged before.
What is blended learning?
I’ve put together this short presentation to explain what blended methodology is, the benefits of blended learning, and to give ideas for adding the digital component into our lessons for those looking to teach with blended learning models in the classroom as well as those transitioning to distance learning.
Many teachers have written me with the same question: Can distance learning replace traditional classes? The answer is that for many in this current situation, they’ll have to, but for a more general answer to the question, check out the presentation and decide for yourself. The kind of hybrid learning the blended model offers is certainly attractive!
I use the Learning Management System (LMS) Canvas and the media creation tool Genially as my digital foundation to build on. Whether you know what those are or not, I hope the information below can help you in your journey to find your own tools.
Why? Because the mix of tried and true hands-on work in the classroom and digital exploration has been key in my class for enticing apathetic students to give school another try and to prove its relevance to them. It’s also been the missing link for my most curious students who felt limited by the scope of classroom teaching and the pacing of classwork, which is so often decided by other students.
A quick review of what you just saw: Blended learning is the mix of digital and classroom learning. An LMS like Canvas can help us keep all of our digital materials in one place: assignments, grades, announcements, to-do lists, class discussions and more. It helps teachers like me make sure our digital learning materials aren’t scattered and distracting, but instead purposeful pieces working as part of a larger vision. It’s the perfect platform to use for course building, and I use it to structure all of my digital learning.
With Canvas as our foundation, we can add content from past years of teaching and other LMSs we’ve used in the past. Then, we can choose what material we’d like to upgrade (powerpoints, I’m looking at you!) and upload it to Genially, an all-in-one tool for creating interactive and animated learning media: presentations, infographics, interactive images and even breakouts and other gamified material. After making our static material interactive and more visually appealing with a few quick edits, we can create new material with the same tool. Then we pull it all together.
- Use a Learning Management System (LMS) as your foundation
- Find a media creation tool
- Upgrade old materials
- Make new ones
Next, I’ll show you how I do it.
News of a perfect integration
For those of you familiar with Genially already or those learning about it for the first time, I have an exciting announcement. *Drumroll* Genially and Canvas now integrate perfectly, so you can insert your geniallys seamlessly into your courses and individual assignments.
Here’s how a genially looks once inserted into my Canvas course. How easy is inserting your genially into Canvas? Check out this vídeo.
I hope this post motivates you to continue encouraging a growth mindset and to grow in your own use of blended learning in the classroom. Try combining an LMS of your choice with an all-in-one content creation tool as a solid start to an online distance learning model. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out by commenting below.
Here’s to growing together and inspiring meaningful learning in 2020!