Introducing the Magic of 1:1 and Blended Learning to BPS
We officially kicked off our BPS BlendED Professional Learning Season with our two day refresher training for 20 teachers! This marks the beginning of our journey to a 1:1 over the next four years. I felt like a little girl the night before Christmas. All night long I kept waking up with a jolt of excitement. Is it time? Is it time? Is this really happening?
As soon as we said “Welcome to iPad Academy” the twenty teachers burst into applause. This was the highly anticipated time when they became a 1:1 iPad classroom. Armed with a classroom set of iPads, our newest iPad Academy members were ready to investigate the driving question, “What is blended learning?”. Our team of five iPad coaches each took a group into the field to find the answers in our very own BPS classrooms. Teachers used the Camera and Notes apps to capture evidence of blended learning. In the evening, they used the Clips app to reflect on their field experience and share their creations in a discussion board in Schoology.
As I watched our teachers passionately sharing with their fellow teachers how they use iPads and blended learning strategies to transform their classroom, tears welled in my eyes and a shiver ran through me. Our teachers rocked it! What a gift for our teachers to learn from one another! Teachers had a rare opportunity to observe, question, and experience a blended learning culture from our own professionals in our own district. Our new iPad Academy teachers were amazed to see and feel the blended learning culture as they moved from elementary to middle school, to high school classrooms.
Returning to the training room, we took them for a deeper dive into blended learning over the next two days where they learned the secret sauce to transforming their classrooms.
Tomorrow, 450 iPads will be in 450 students’ hands in these 20 new classrooms. Teaching and learning as they have know it will be forever changed as blended learning strategies are implemented right away. Along with the iPads, they will also have one of the five of us as their iPad coach for nine weeks. I am beyond thrilled for every single one of them. Our district is doing it right. Our teachers and students are empowered with the right equipment, training, and coaching support to race down the field. On the way to a touchdown, there are a lots of plays and many first downs. Each day they are all moving the ball down the field and the touchdown will happen for each of them in their own time.
I am grateful for the right people in the right place at the right time to make this happen. It is a result of a relentless desire to transform teaching and learning and the leadership and support of an incredible staff, administrative team, school board, and community.
Once upon a time I was a young girl in Council Bluffs, Iowa and had a dream of becoming a teacher. I wanted to create a classroom experience where students would want to run to school everyday. I am happy to say, I am living my dream! I’m in a position to influence and foster a culture of teaching and learning that provides engaging, personalized, differentiated, and choice-driven learning for all students. Along with being an Instructional Technology Specialist for Bellevue Public Schools, I am an Apple Distinguished Educator and Apple Learning Specialist, Google Educator, adjunct professor, Nebraska Educational Technology Association Board Member, and technology chairman for Alpha Delta Kappa. I am a positive change agent and am currently working on our 1:1 initiative to scale up our successful iPad Academy model, where I train and coach teachers to use iPads for creativity and innovation in the classroom. I work hands on with the students, teachers, and administrators investing in them daily so they can utilize blended learning strategies to create a personalized learning culture filled with choice, creation, collaboration, and differentiation. In my spare time, I love to be with my family, go for long walks, ski, play tennis, write, read, dabble in photography, bake and enjoy family game nights with my husband and four children.