Blended Learning Leaders Are Over the Honeymoon—and Rolling Up Their Sleeves – EdSurge News

This summer, I spoke to leaders at six public charter school networks who are now wily veterans in the art of blending teacher-led instruction with online learning–also known as “blended learning”. Their titles range from Innovation Manager to Director of Individualized Learning, meaning they work directly with teachers to effectively incorporate edtech in the classroom. The school networks include: Summit Public Schools (CA/WA), KIPP Bay Area Schools (CA), IDEA Public Schools (TX), FirstLine Schools (LA), RePublic Schools (TN/MS) and DC Prep (Washington DC).

I asked them one question: What has you jumping out of bed and rushing to work, in regards to blended learning?

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Helping Teachers See Themselves – TNTP

Most teachers want useful feedback on their instruction. Yet many feel they don’t get enough, or that the feedback they receive isn’t actionable. We’ve been piloting virtual coaching in over 200 schools and 30 districts to see if video and coaching from an expert outside the school can help teachers get more (and more meaningful) feedback. Some of the questions we’ve been asking are: How does it help a teacher develop to see herself on video? Can a virtual coach—someone a teacher has never met in person—guide the teacher through some specific changes to her practice? How can using video help focus the conversation on what students are learning?

As part of our pilot, we are working with the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard’s Best Foot Forward project, a study examining the impact of video technology on teachers’ classroom observations. Researchers recruited more than 400 teachers to participate; half were given cameras and submitted self-recorded videos to replace traditional drop-in observations. Teachers also chose which videos to submit to their observers, giving them more control than they generally have in traditional observation processes.

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Using video to make classroom observations more fair, more helpful, and less burdensome – Brookings

The Best Foot Forward project at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard has been investigating the use of digital video to make classroom observations more helpful and fair to teachers and less burdensome for supervisors. In a randomized field trial involving 347 teachers and 108 administrators in Delaware, Georgia, Colorado and Los Angeles, teachers were given a special video camera and invited to collect multiple lessons. They could then choose a subset of their lesson videos to submit for their classroom observations. A secure software platform allowed administrators as well as external observers (selected for their expertise in a teacher’s discipline) to watch the videos and provide time-stamped comments aligned to specific moments in the videos.

In addition to giving teachers a reason and an opportunity to watch multiple instances of their own teaching, the videos served as the basis for one-on-one discussions between teachers and administrators and between teachers and the external content experts. The comparison teachers and schools continued to do in-person classroom observations.

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A Clearer View of the Classroom

Watching the playback, one teacher realized that she gave her students too little time to answer the questions she posed. Another teacher finally understood why her supervisor found her pacing was too slow. A third teacher used the footage to seek help managing a disruptive student who had spent the lesson bouncing a golf ball off the chalkboard.

Those educators were among hundreds participating in Harvard’s recently concluded Best Foot Forward Project, which studied a new approach to teacher evaluation: Using teacher-selected classroom videos instead of the traditional drop-in observation by a principal.

As states try to bring new rigor and accountability to their teacher evaluation systems, digital video is emerging as one tool for standardizing and enhancing the sometimes perfunctory ritual of classroom observation.

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Turning the Tables – Harvard

A challenge to education researchers everywhere: How is your work being used?

Last week, 15,000 tweed-clad attendees descended on Chicago for the annual American Education Research Association conference. They were guided by the twin mission of nearly every education school: to contribute to an ever-growing scientific body of knowledge and to make our teaching and learning systems better. In other words, education researchers came to share usable knowledge.

The breadth of intellectual production at the convening was overwhelming. At any given hour, there were 100 researchers at four different hotels presenting papers along the research-to-practice continuum. On the panel “What Vergara Hath Wrought,” HGSE Professor Susan Moore Johnson, alongside John Papay, Jack Schneider, and James Wyckoff, debated the role of research in the historic court decision last June and shared findings they believed should influence future decisions to help low-income students receive the best possible education. At the session “How People Learn,” panelists shed light on new research with the greatest potential to influence practice, particularly around cultural differences and similarities in learning.

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A New Lens on Teaching

When your supervisor points out a flaw in the way you do your job, you probably try hard to receive the criticism constructively and use it as a prompt to do better. But despite your admirable maturity, you’re human, and you may also feel defensive, or resentful, depending on your relationship with your boss. Or you may just feel confused — what she flagged may have gone unnoticed by you, or may not feel like a relevant indicator of your abilities.

All performance reviews are vulnerable to this kind of disconnect, but when it comes to classroom observations as a measure of teacher effectiveness, the stakes can feel particularly high. Classroom observations are not new, but they have been largely perfunctory in recent years, with more than 98 percent of teachers receiving the same “satisfactory” rating. A number of states are trying to restore integrity to the evaluation process (for instance, training and certifying supervisors on a formal rubric and encouraging supervisors to differentiate more meaningfully). But implementation has been uneven for a number of reasons, including inadequate training of supervisors, supervisors who lack content knowledge outside of their own subject, and the difficulty of finding time to do all the required observations.

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Best Foot Forward – Edtech Digest

Teachers are no strangers to classroom observations, but until recently, they were largely perfunctory exercises, with the majority of teachers receiving a satisfactory rating and very little feedback. Now school systems across the country are implementing new teacher evaluation systems, and classroom observations are being mandated with greater frequency and rigor. Are educators ready for it?

Growing up in a family of public school teachers, the fairness of classroom observations was a regular dinner table conversation. My mother was overwhelmed with anxiety during a principal’s surprise visit, causing her to stumble through the lesson. My father, a chemistry teacher, would deliver endless harangues about his evaluators’ lack of science knowledge. Teachers, like my parents, are unlikely to make instructional improvements if they distrust the feedback they receive from observers.
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Videotaped Lessons Change the Nature of Teacher Evaluation

It’s not surprising that when it comes to evaluation, teachers would prefer submitting videotapes of their best lessons rather than having their principals drop in, conspicuously, on their class. But it turns out that many principals prefer it too.

Last year, four teachers at Young Oak Kim Academy, a Los Angeles middle school, participated in the Best Foot Forward Project. The new national initiative, which in its first year included 350 teachers and 101 administrators at 85 schools, allows teachers to choose videos of their best lessons for evaluation. Directed by the Center for Education Policy at Harvard University, the project aims to determine if such an approach can improve the teacher evaluation process.

Andrew Conroy, the assistant principal at Young Oak Kim, is convinced it does. He calls the video evaluation process a “one-hundred percent” success—and “a night and day difference from how we traditionally observe teachers.”

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Audio Enhancement Receives 2014 Best of Orlando Award

Press Release
Audio Enhancement Receives 2014 Best of Orlando Award
Orlando Award Program Honors Achievement
ORLANDO July 22, 2014 — Audio Enhancement has been selected for the 2014 Best of Orlando Award in the Audio-Visual Equipment & Supplies category by the Orlando Award Program.
Each year, the Orlando Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Orlando area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2014 Orlando Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Orlando Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Orlando Award Program
The Orlando Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Orlando area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Orlando Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.
SOURCE: Orlando Award Program

Orlando Award Program



Media Contacts:
Jamie Slotnick
Audio Enhancement Karen Lowe Nelson
(678) 237-2983

VIEWPath captures classroom interactions to enhance instruction
and empower learning

ATLANTA, JUNE 27, 2014 – Audio Enhancement unveils a first-of-its-kind digital learning solution, VIEWPath (Video Interactive Education Window), to help schools and teachers maximize learning time, budgets and instructional time, while enhancing interactions in the classroom.

With VIEWPath, the convergence of technology tools in one easy-to-use classroom learning solution delivers a simple way to record classroom lessons and easily share them for blended learning or flipped environments. As the first instructional tool that helps make teachable moments learning moments for teachers, it’s paving the way to help teachers become better prepared and more effective in less time.

“Today’s learning environment is not one size fits all, therefore schools and teachers face increasing pressure to utilize technology and resources to reach students and standards in distinctive ways. Teachers must remain focused on creating lessons that engage students in their learning, which is not a simple task, said Jeff Anderson, Audio Enhancement, Inc. CEO. “Audio Enhancement listened to our customers and created a simple, but effective solution to record lessons and classroom interactions and share them with students wherever they are.”
Audio Enhancement’s VIEWPath will be showcased at ISTE through presentations at booth #2063. ISTE attendees will also have the opportunity to see VIEWPath in action and speak to Newton County representatives about the effectiveness of the VIEWPath solution within their school district. “Our goal is to provide teachers with the daily opportunity to video and audio record classes to facilitate better student engagement, quality self assessment and advanced pedagogies like a flipped classroom,” said Dr. Gary Shattuck, Newton County Schools Technology Director. “Audio Enhancement has been our partner to realize these results, and as a result we are a proud recipient of the IMS Global Award for our VIEWPath implementation.”
Meet Audio Enhancement and see VIEWPath in action at ISTE:
• Technology Tour: Newton County School District will be hosting a Technology Tour on June 30, 2014 and interested educators should register by calling 800.383.9362 to reserve a spot.
• Booth Demonstrations: Audio Enhancement representatives will be demonstrating how to maximize instructional time, effectiveness and reduce discipline through the use of VIEWPath at booth #2063 throughout the ISTE conference.

About Audio Enhancement
For 36 years, Audio Enhancement has created and delivered research-driven solutions to complex education problems in classrooms around the world. Starting with the simple premise that “learning begins with hearing”, the company started with an audio and amplification mission, however, Audio Enhancement continues to innovate new solutions reaching all learners and learning styles. From audio and video to safe school systems, Audio Enhancement delivers holistic solutions that focus not only on products, but classroom, school and student interactions to empower learning.

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