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Using the Value Framework to Think About Blended Learning

In reading Landon's blog last week, I found the section that used the value framework very helpful in preparing for the webinar on Monday. So here it is  -- what are your questions, hopes and concerns for NM's use of blended and online learning using this lens?

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One purpose of the Learning Alliance is to apply a “New Mexico values lens” to assess the potential of educational reforms.  So, let’s pull the values in and see how blended learning measures up:

Achievement and Equity:

  • Alignment: Blended learning approaches can provide high-quality content to areas of our state where such content has not previously been available.  Potential exists for enormous differentiation and individually targeted approaches that help all children learn.
  • Areas for Caution: Equality of access must be a critical priority – ensuring that all kids across the state have access to programs, regardless of income or geographic location.

World View:

  • Alignment: When unbundled, diverse content has potential to be culturally responsive and meet all kids’ needs.  Specific investments could also be made in dual-language or multi-lingual programs.
  • Areas for Caution: Ensuring creation of content tailored to the needs of school districts in New Mexico (i.e. language, story materials, etc.).

Holistic:

  • Alignment: With adaptive learning technology, the needs of the whole child may be met in a way that a single teacher cannot provide given the demands of whole-classroom instruction.  Students can progress at the pace that makes sense for them.  When released from teaching basic skills, teachers can address unique needs and focus on higher order skills like analysis and critical inquiry.
  • Areas for Caution: As new programs are implemented, it will be important that adaptive learning engines push students towards higher-order thinking and not only in math and literacy, but also in other subjects.  We must also ensure that teachers are prepared to use data from online learning to drive instruction and intervene with individual students.  This will be particularly critical as adaptive learning software evolves.

Asset-Based Innovation:

  • Alignment: Blended learning is not a uniform approach to school design.  In fact, each blended learning school is different in its own way.  As schools in New Mexico adopt the model, teachers and leaders have the opportunity to create school models that draw on the unique strengths of New Mexico communities.
  • Areas for Caution: How do we foster local leadership that can design the blended learning systems that make sense for Shiprock, Los Lunas or Gadsden?

Respectful:

  • Alignment: As noted earlier, “unbundled” content may be more culturally responsive and respectful than our current one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Areas for Caution: It will be critical to work with local leaders to make sure that local community and/or tribal leaders are brought in to ensure that locally-developed content aligns with customs and practices.

Urgency:

  • Alignment: When effectively implemented, blended learning programs are high-leverage reforms that “drive toward excellence” by engaging all teachers and all students, not just a select few.
  • Areas for Caution: Do programs collect data that is responsive to the broad diversity of contexts and perspectives that make up New Mexico or does data collection reduce students to widgets?