Teach With INFOhio

3 Tips for Using INFOhio in the Blended Learning Classroom

Author // Mary Rowland Monday, 14 March 2022

High-tech? Low-tech? No-tech? Blended learning is a flexible approach to instruction compatible with other instructional approaches. It empowers students with control over time, place, path, and/or pace to provide an integrated learning experience. The Christensen Institute defines blended learning as, "leveraging the internet to afford each student a more personalized learning experience."

What is Blended Learning? Leverage the Internet, Personalized Learning Experience, Student control over time, place, path and/or pace

Characteristics of Blended Learning Classrooms

No two blended learning classrooms look the same, yet in successful blended learning classrooms, educators do the following:

  1. Create opportunities for student voice and choice.
  2. Ensure learning activities have a clear purpose and goal.
  3. Use technology as a reflective tool.

Student and teacher engagement is at the heart of a successful blended learning classroom. With an emphasis on a student-centered approach, blended learning allows the student to exercise a degree of control over time, place, path, and/or pace of learning. In the blended learning classroom, students explore instructional materials provided by their teacher, to support their learning. The teacher and student use the results of assessments to collaborate on establishing learning goals and utilize technology to foster reflection and communication. 

Research shows after student and teacher engagement, instructional materials have the greatest impact on student learning. Leverage the digital content available through INFOhio to help you build a better, blended learning classroom with quality instructional materials that integrate with popular technology tools to personalize student learning. 

1. Create opportunities for student voice and choice 

Empower students and put them in control of time, place, path, and/or pace of learning with choice boards. There are several options for creating choice boards including Google Docs, Google Slides, Microsoft Word, or Microsoft PowerPoint. Individual copies of choice boards can be assigned to students through a learning management system. Quality digital content combined with research-based instructional activities allows educators to create choice boards that can accelerate student learning. Find quality, licensed digital content on INFOhio to populate choice boards for students in grades K–12. 

Animal Exploration Choice Board

Explora for Grades PreK–5 is a database that has recent magazine articles on current events, journals, images, videos, and primary sources. With an easy-to-use search interface, educators can search Explora for Grades PreK–5 by keyword or by topic. Follow these steps to find quality digital content from Explora. 

  1. Search using the keyword "salamanders."
  2. Use the Source Type limiter and Lexile level limiter to find just the right digital text for the choice board.
  3. Click Permalink and copy the permalink for the article. 
  4. Paste the Permalink into the choice board.

Much of INFOhio's licensed digital content provides direct links to videos, images, and digital text, making the content available from INFOhio a nice alternative to content freely available on the open web. Use the Permalink or Record URL when linking directly to licensed digital content from INFOhio. Follow the link to learn more about Sharing Permalinks from INFOhio's Digital Content and Databases. To learn more about the Animal Exploration Choice Board created using INFOhio's digital content, check out Using World Book Kids to Support Blended Learning.

2. Ensure learning activities have a clear purpose and goal

The importance of establishing a clear purpose for learning and goals for every activity should come as no surprise to educators. According to John Hattie, establishing clear goal intentions is a teaching strategy that offers the potential to accelerate learning. In addition, Hattie found videos to accelerate learning. The ability to control the pace and revisit segments reduces cognitive overload, increases student attention, and allows for greater reflection.  

INFOhio's Digital Video Collection (DVC) includes quality educational streaming videos that are free of advertisements and barriers to access, with content to support Ohio's Learning Standards and supplement content area curriculums for grades K–12. With the ability to link directly to segments within a video or share to Google Classroom, videos from the DVC are perfect for choice boards and text sets. Use the following suggestions to navigate INFOhio's DVC. 

  • Explore the DVC using the created playlists.
  • Search the collection by keyword.
  • Browse the collection by subject or series.

INFOhio's Digital Video Collection home page

Reinforce a purpose for learning and keep students focused by combining videos from the DVC with EdPuzzle. EdPuzzle is a platform that allows you to turn any video into a lesson. Follow these steps to use content from INFOhio's DVC with EdPuzzle. 

  1. Search INFOhio's Digital Video Collection for a video to supplement the curriculum. 
  2. Select the segment to use for instruction.
  3. Download the segment to your computer. 
  4. Upload the segment into EdPuzzle.

The video Rock Cycle from INFOhio DVC, uploaded to EdPuzzle

Use EdPuzzle to establish the purpose for learning by clearly stating the learning goal(s) and providing questions throughout the video to encourage students to stop, reflect, and communicate what they learned from the video. Many videos in the DVC include teacher guides and quizzes to support educators as they develop learning goals and targeted questions to encourage reflection. 

3. Use technology as a reflective tool

Encouraging meaningful reflection in the physical or virtual classroom is a challenge, but technology tools can provide new avenues for students to deliver reflection in a way that is comfortable and meaningful. In the article, Recognizing and Understanding Effective Blended Learning in Secondary Classrooms, the author indicates that students must perceive the reflection as meaningful and understand why they are completing the reflective assignment. Educators can pair interactive learning modules and experiments with technology tools to gather meaningful reflection to enhance the blended learning classroom. 

Science Online is a database with videos, diagrams, experiments, learning modules, and articles to support science and math classrooms grades in 6–12. Science Online offers a collection of physical experiments using easy-to-find materials in the home. Flip classroom instruction by assigning experiments to students to complete outside of the classroom. 

  1. From Browse Resources select Experiments.
  2. Narrow results by using the Filters on the right.
  3. Select Printables.
  4. Narrow by Topic, Time Span, Participation, Supervision, or Grades. 
  5. Share with students using the Record URL or Google Classroom.

Ask students to record themselves conducting the experiment using Flipgrid, a free video discussion app that allows students to record short videos. With Flipgrid, students can offer reflection and feedback orally and confidentially to the teacher, making it a great use of technology as a reflective tool. 

Energy is Conserved experiment from Science Online uploaded to Flipgrid 

Try it Out in Your Classroom!

To support educators integrating digital content into instruction and blended learning classrooms, INFOhio has created Monday Mini Lessons, videos that showcase how to use INFOhio's quality digital content in remote and blended learning classrooms. Visit the Monday Mini Lessons page to learn more about how to use choice boards, technology tools, and blended learning models with INFOhio's digital content. As always, share how #INFOhioWorks for you on social media. Stay Connected by joining the INFOhio Community group in Open Space!

We are here to help! If you have questions visit support.infohio.org 

About the Author

Posted by: Mary Rowland

Mary Rowland is a Senior Instructional Specialist with INFOhio. A former high school English teacher with 14 years of teaching experience, Mary is an accomplished leader who facilitated professional development in her previous district on integrating web-based tools into the classroom, Google Apps for Education, and writing across the curriculum. During her career, Mary mentored student teachers and served on both the district and building leadership committees. She has earned a BA in English, an MS in Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, and is a Google Certified Educator Level 2. Mary is passionate about supporting INFOhio’s mission to help Ohio’s educators integrate the tools and resources to strengthen education for Ohio’s students.

Mary Rowland
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