Recap: TransformSC’s 2016 Blended Learning Institute

TransformSC is offering South Carolina educators the opportunity to participate in hands-on workshops led by national experts through its series of institutes. In its second year, this event series focuses on TransformSC’s four innovative practices:  blended learning, project-based learning, continuous assessment and competency-based progression.

img_1089TransformSC hosted its first 2016-2017 institute focused on blended learning at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on September 27tth. Approximately 80 educators from across the state attended to hear teach and author Catlin Tucker offer a keynote on how she transformed her low-tech classroom into a blended learning model that strives to personalize learning, capitalize on connectivity, encourage autonomy, spark creativity and connect students to an authentic audience. She shared her own creative strategies and solutions for handling common obstacles in a blended learning classroom.

Throughout the day, breakout sessions were offered to help attendees hone in on their blended learning strategies. Bruce Friend of INACOL led a session titled “Implementing Blended Learning Effectively” which focused on three main topics: (1) Factors to consider when building & implementing blended learning; (2) using data to inform instruction; and (3) the importance of gaining support from internal and external stakeholders.

img_1091Laura Beckham and Katherine Degar, instructional technology coaches with Lexington County School District One, broke attendees up into smaller groups to participate in an interactive discussion on the differences between blended learning and technology integration in this hands-on workshop. Participants engaged in a gradual release lesson on sorting and analyzing data and experiencing a blended learning environment from a student’s perspective, which they can use to plan initial implementation action steps.

Spartanburg One Instructional Technology Specialist Dr. Lori Vinson shared some of her favorite resources for both students and teachers in her session “I’ve Got a Resource.” Resources for all levels of experience and integration were provided as Dr. Vinson focused on infusing resources into presentation, repository, engagement, assessment or instructional use.

img_1070Ryan Floyd, director of Project Lead the Way, STEAM and project-based learning at Royal Live Oaks Academy, led a session on using project-based learning in a blended learning classroom, which helped attendees understand the process of using a rotation-blended learning model to deliver project-based learning to students based on individual learning modalities. He shared project ideas, strategies and examples to illustrate how to successfully implement these practices in the classroom.

Presentations from this Institute are available for download here.

TransformSC’s Institutes are no-cost professional development opportunities offered three times an academic year. Each institute offers sessions geared toward helping educators grow professionally and to guide schools along their transformational journeys. The two remaining 2016-2017 Institutes will focus on competency-based progression (Nov. 15) and project-based learning (Jan. 24). Registration is open first to TransformSC schools and districts, then to the public, and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Follow TransformSC on Twitter or sign-up for our newsletter to be the first to know when registration opens.