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District Previews Blended Learning Model for 2020-21

March 16, 2020

The Lindbergh Schools Board of Education reviewed plans to help students develop future-ready skills by providing equitable access to educational technology, beginning in the 2020-21 school year. This work follows a yearlong technology impact study that included teachers and students in grades 3-12.

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Tara Sparks and representatives from the Teaching and Learning Department shared the district’s vision and timeline for adopting a blended learning model during the board’s March 10 meeting. Blended learning combines traditional classroom instruction with technology-based learning to meet the needs of all students.

“Ultimately, strong blended learning practices empower learners to use their knowledge to enhance their skills in the four C’s: creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking,” Sparks said. “We measured growth of these skills during the impact study, using standards from the International Society for Technology Education, and saw positive changes in classroom practice for every single standard.”

Blended learning is a student-centered approach that empowers teachers to transform learning through technology. It allows students to learn anytime, anywhere and at any pace, while focusing on the development of future-ready skills like collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking. The goal is to maximize traditional classroom instruction by incorporating technology resources to make learning more engaging and relevant.

The cornerstone of Lindbergh’s blended learning model will be to put a district-provided device in the hands of every student in grades 3-12. The plan recommends iPads for elementary and middle school students, and Chromebooks for high school students.

“Students who use multiple platforms throughout their educational career gain flexibility and knowledge that will be required for their future success in the workforce,” Sparks said. “We know the future workforce will need to be nimble as technology continues to evolve, and this is one more way we can prepare students for success.”

Device distribution will be completed in phases, starting with middle school teachers this spring and high school teachers in July. High school students will receive their devices to start the 2020-21 school year, with middle school students joining the model in January 2021. Elementary school students will receive their devices to start the 2021-22 school year, and elementary teachers will receive MacBook laptops on their regular device replacement schedule, in 2023.

All devices will follow a four-year replacement cycle and any current devices not already in use will be repurposed throughout the district. In addition to devices, the plan recommends solutions for equity, safety and security, infrastructure, technical support and professional learning.

“The detail and support our district’s team has given teachers and students throughout this process has been outstanding,” said Superintendent Dr. Tony Lake. “We have learned a lot through the impact study, which will make our transition that much smoother. This team has done an amazing job, and probably the best job of planning I’ve seen in my experience.”

Lindbergh’s blended learning model is the culmination of a yearlong technology impact study involving teachers and students in grades 3-12. The study supplied teachers and students with iPads and Chromebooks to determine which had a greater impact on teaching and learning. Teachers provided feedback for future planning and implementing strong instructional practices, while students shared their perspectives on both usability and learning enhancements.