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Weston Kieschnick

February 4, 2016

ARE YOU MAKING THESE MISTAKES


IN YOUR BLENDED CLASSROOM?
If so, don't worry. They're all fixable.

1. Too Much Too Soon - Beware the pitfalls of trying to use too many
tools in a single lesson. It feels cumbersome for the teacher and the
students. I understand you're really excited about this learning
transformation. That's great! Just remember; it's a marathon not a
sprint. We want meaningful change for the long term. Develop
proficiency with some of your favorite tools and strategies, then build
on that momentum.

Reach for the "Golden


Trifecta" of blended
learning. Engage kids
with the teacher, their
peers, and digital
content on a daily
basis.

2. Time for Tasks - Never give kids 20 minutes for a task that takes 10.
You're not doing them (or yourself) any favors by giving too much time.
Great blended lessons move at a clip, and account for the realities of

@wes_kieschnick

Weston Kieschnick

February 4, 2016

students' attention spans. We have about a minute of attention for every year in a child's
age. If your students are 12, then you have about 12 minutes. When in doubt, give fewer
minutes to complete a task than you think is necessary and plan to allot a few bonus
minutes near the end.
3. Jamming Tech Where It Doesn't Fit. - Consider your academic
outcomes. Can digital tools help you meet those goals more
efficiently? Does flipped learning or rotation model allow you to
provide remediation to students in small groups or on an individual
basis? Does the tech allow kids opportunities to engage with content
in ways they couldn't before? Start asking yourself questions like
this. If you're answering "no", you're probably missing something.
4. Open Lid Time All the Time - If students are consistently off task or
finding online distractions with their devices, we probably need to be
more purposeful about open and closed lid time in the classroom.
Establish a foundation of understanding about when attention should
be focused on tech, and when it should be focused elsewhere. If you
want students to be attentive to you, ask for closed lid time so they
aren't tempted by distractions. Even the most engaging teachers will
lose an occasional attention face-off with technology.
5. Sitting At Your Desk - I speak frequently about the "golden trifecta" of blended learning.
Transformative instruction is not just about kids engaging with technology. Masterful blended
learning ensures kids are engaged with the teacher, their peers, and digital tools in
meaningful ways. Tech time is talk time and teach time. It's not an opportunity to relinquish
instruction to a device. Don't take yourself out of the picture during the moments when kids
need your guidance most.
6.

You're Not Sharing - There's a common misconception that sharing


only helps the recipient. The dialogue and
subsequent bursts of ideas and innovation are
invaluable for the sharer. Find opportunities to
share classroom successes and failures with
your colleagues. The conversations, feedback,
and ideas will allow you to grow in your pursuit of
transformative instruction.

It's a marathon
not a sprint.
We want
meaningful
change for the
long term.
8.

7. No Plan B - You're putting undue pressure on


your lessons by not having a backup plan.
Confidence yields positivity. Having a backup for
potential tech failures allows for both feelings to
show up in your classroom.

Weston Kieschnick is
an author and lead
consultant with
Houghton Miin
Harcourt whose work
in Ed Tech has
allowed him to work
with teachers and
admin from every
state in the U.S. and
more than 30
countries around the
world.

Simple Substitution - You guessed it. I couldn't make it all the way
through the conversation without mentioning SAMR. If you haven't
already done so, put SAMR on your pedagogical radar. Use it as an
overlay to your lesson and evaluate where it falls on the spectrum. If
you find yourself living in Substitution lesson after lesson, push toward
Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition in the future.

@wes_kieschnick