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Blended Learning: Authentic Learning and Student Engagement

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 204A

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Virtual Instruction Consultant
North Carolina Department of Public Inst
I serve as the Western Regional Professional Development Coordinator for the Rethink Education Initiative with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. We are working with educators across the state to "build capacity for blended instruction, develop digital content, and increase access to empower each educator, student, and family across North Carolina Public Schools. I have 29 years of experience in education. I have spent most of my years in education as a middle school media specialist in McDowell County Schools. I have also served in Asheville City Schools as a media specialist/digital lead teacher
Virtual Instruction Services Division
NC Dept. of Public Instruction
@Tericia Eller
I have 24 years in education in a variety of roles. As a Regional PD Coordinator for the Office of Virtual Instruction Services at the NC Department of Public Instruction, I help to, "build capacity for blended instruction, develop digital content, and increase access to empower each educator, student, and family across North Carolina Public Schools." I am passionate about blended learning, personalized learning, and authentic learning experiences to give students the best opportunities possible for success. I love collaborating around best practices and effective instructional strategies. Keeping students at the center of the learning experience is vital!

Session description

Join us to participate in blended learning experiences that build understanding about best practices for all learners in a blended learning environment. Emphasis will be on blended learning vs. tech integration, scaffolding, differentiation and selecting appropriate digital learning tools. You'll also have time to design a blended learning implementation plan.

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this session is to introduce the concept of blended learning to educators who might be unfamiliar with the definition and/or method of implementation. By the end of the session, participants will be able to understand the impact of effective blended learning on student learning and growth; select the most appropriate blended learning model to use with a group of learners; design a blended learning experience that is accessible to all learners in the target group; and use effective engagement, enhancement, and extension strategies in a blended learning experience.

Educators today are challenged more than ever to design meaningful learning experiences that are personalized and engaging for all learners. Blended learning is a construct that helps educators address this challenge. This session will cover the specific blended learning models of Rotation, Flex, Blend/Hybrid, and Lab (fully remote) and situations where each would be most appropriate. The Rotation Model includes concepts such as station rotation, whole group rotation, in-class flip, and individual rotation. The Flex Model includes a more personalized learning pathway typically facilitated by a personalized learning playlist. The Blend/Hybrid model includes students learning in-person and remotely within the same classroom. Finally, the Lab model is a fully remote learning model where students’ learning is primarily online. The session will be facilitated in a station rotation format with other blended learning strategies embedded in each station. For example, one station will utilize a personalized playlist, while another station will utilize an in-class flip. Attendees will move through the stations learning about and discussing a variety of blended learning topics/strategies while at the same time, having an opportunity to reflect on and plan for their own implementation of blended learning. Evidence of learning will be found on shared Google Docs, Padlets, collaborative sketch notes, and shared implementation ideas.

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Whole Group Overview - 20 minutes
*Pulse Check in form of a game
*Blended Learning Overview
*Station Directions: Move through each station as directed

Station Rotation: Small groups rotate through each station - 20 minutes per station
*Station 1 - Facilitator-Led (combination of peer-to-peer interaction and device-based activity)
*Station 2 - Offline Collaboration (peer-to-peer interaction)
*Station 3 - Online personalized playlist (device-based individual activity)
*Station 4 - Extension/Enhancement (device-based individual and peer-to-peer)

Constructive Closure - 20 minutes
*Small Group Debrief
*Whole Group Share
*Session Closure

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Supporting research

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Rethink Education Website -
The Christensen Institute - Blended Learning -
Blended Learning Universe -
Catlin Tucker -
CAST UDL Guidelines -

Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools - Micheal B. Horn and Heather Staker
Blended Learning in Action - Catlin R. Tucker, Tiffany Wycoff, Jason T. Green
Power Up Blended Learning - Catlin R. Tucker
Balance with Blended Learning - Catlin R. Tucker
UDL and Blended Learning - Katie Novak and Catlin R. Tucker

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Session specifications

Distance, online & blended learning
Grade level:
Skill level:
Coaches, Principals/head teachers, Teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices required
Attendee device specification:
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Subject area:
Language arts, Math
ISTE Standards:
For Educators:
  • Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
  • Use collaborative tools to expand students' authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally.
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.