The Benefits of Partnering K-12 and Higher Education Institutions for Blended Learning

The Benefits of Partnering K-12 and Higher Education Institutions for Blended Learning
Contributed By

Tom Gavin

Lead Adjunct Faculty Member at Wilmington University and Supervisor of Instructional Technology in the Colonial School District, DE

The Benefits of Partnering K-12 and Higher Education Institutions for Blended Learning

Posted in Evolving Ed | December 06, 2017

Across the state of Delaware, school districts are implementing (mobile) devices and using Schoology's learning management system to create blended learning environments. A collaborative endeavor has taken hold whereby districts are sharing and providing quality and viable professional development on blended learning as a statewide community.

This collaborative approach is and has been supported by Wilmington University’s graduate program in Applied Technology in Education since 2010. A common goal among the K-12 and a higher education institutions in Delaware is to train and provide professional development so that educators can transform their classroom into student-oriented, collaborative learning spaces.

I'm the Lead Adjunct Faculty Member at Wilmington University and Supervisor of Instructional Technology in the Colonial School District. And in an effort to build a stronger connection between our K-12 and higher education insitutions, I began using Schoology in courses I teach in the Applied Technology in Education degree program during the fall of 2014.

The decision to integrate Schoology into the graduate curriculum was due to its adoption by a state district consortium called BRINC. A statewide philosophy change to offering blended and personalized learning caused the Delaware Department of Education to adopt the platform for all school districts in the entire state. In turn, the need to prepare our teacher candidates to use a statewide adopted platform became a high priority for candidate employment opportunity and classroom readiness within school districts.

The interesting outcome from teaching the use of Schoology in my courses has been the overwhelming response from teacher candidates on how student friendly the platform is over the previous LMS that candidates used for creating their blended learning environments. Candidates really feel that Schoology is the glue that holds their courses together. Additional components such as the calendar feature and the mobile app help the educator and students to stay organized and access assignments easily.

The use of the Schoology mobile app has also allowed us to easily shift teacher candidate mindsets around the use of mobile technologies in the classroom. Typically at the beginning of each course, teacher candidates see very little instructional value with regard to mobile devices. Through the active use of the Schoology mobile app, candidates undergo a complete mindset shift around mobile.

I am a big believer around the active use of technology in class and while I could lecture for hours on the benefits of mobile, real learning I believe is accomplished by using the application within our course.

Just recently I received a Vox (a message) from a past teacher candidate who wanted to thank me for introducing him to Schoology while at Wilmington University. He wanted to let me know that his district had just adopted Schoology for his 6th grade team and he felt that the training he received at Wilmington University and the use of Schoology had prepared him for success. He also stated that he had convinced his building admins to rethink their no cell phone policy after sharing ways to rethink assignments and leverage the use of the Schoology mobile app and mobile devices.

While I'm no longer a third grade teacher, I'm thankful to hear that the collaborative work being done both in higher ed and districts throughout the state are elevating achievement and bridging the gap needed to close achievement gaps and increase students’ college and career readiness.


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Tom Gavin earned his B.S. degree in Political Science at the University of Delaware and an M.ED. in Elementary Education at Wilmington University. He currently serves as a Lead Adjust Instructor at Wilmington University, Supervisor of Instructional Technology for the Colonial School District, and a Schoology Ambassador.

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