What is Blended Learning?
One of the most promising new initiatives in K–12 education is blended learning, a model of education in which students use adaptive, online software in classrooms to master material at levels that match their skills as teachers use the rich data from these programs to personalize their instruction and make targeted interventions. The “blend” in “blended learning” is the combination of the benefits of learning through technology – such as personalized learning activities that target students’ learning gaps – with the salient aspects of traditional schools – such as peer-to-peer interaction and guidance from a teacher – to create an authentically new form of education.
Learn more about blended learning here.
What is Higher-Powered Learning?
The Alliance for Catholic Education’s (ACE’s) Higher-Powered Learning Program is a three-year program guiding teachers and school leaders through the implementation of excellent and sustainable blended-learning programs. Three to five schools from the Twin Cities will be selected to participate as a cohort and each school will create a Blended Learning Advancement and Strategy Team (BLAST), comprised of the school leader(s) and two to four teachers, to lead the higher-powered learning initiative at their schools.
What Makes the Higher-Powered Learning Program Unique?
This program is intentionally designed to develop the internal capacity at each school by empowering teachers and school leaders to make these significant changes while also ensuring that they receive appropriate ongoing support to successfully improve teaching and learning with technology.
We believe in the efficacy of this implementation model for three key reasons.
- A School-Level Nucleus: Unlike traditional professional development in which individual teachers attend programs or enact interventions alone, this program recognizes that a small core of individuals in any organization is necessary to reach a tipping point of change. The shared language and support that each team experiences will increase the probability of the intervention’s success. Developing a school’s internal capacity will allow it to sustain the blended learning initiatives at the conclusion of this program.
- Longitudinal Intervention: In contrast to typical one-off professional development sessions, this implementation model operates longitudinally over three years with multiple in-person and virtual touch points throughout the program, holding teachers accountable for their own growth and keeping them engaged in a supportive and mission-driven professional community of learning.
- Rigorous Evaluation: ACE is fortunate to be located within a top-tier academic university with more than 80 interdisciplinary faculty members contributing to the University’s Institute for Educational Initiatives. The Higher-Powered Learning team will call upon many of these faculty to contribute to research and evaluation in order to ensure that the program effectively serves students and teachers. ACE plans to document the impact of blended learning on students’ interest and achievement in the hopes of using these results as national proof points for blended learning and for this particular model of expansion.