Blended Learning Resources
The Alvo team has assembled a variety of resources to support you in your exploration of Blended Learning and other 21st Century Instructional methods. Some resources are curated from the the best of publicly available sources and other resources are created by the team at Alvo. Some resources are free and open to the public while other resources are only available to Alvo clients. We are always adding to the resources, so check back regularly for the most up to date research, methods and supports.
Click here to learn more about Alvo’s upcoming Spring 2016 Practitioners’ Circle, From Theory to Action: Planning for Blended Innovation.
To view resource links and descriptions: First click one of the three main tabs (Instructional Resources for Teachers, Curriculum and Content Resources, Research, Exemplars, and News), then click the + to view individual resources in each subsection.
When Grading Harms Students
Designing performance assessments
Feedback as Formative Assessment
Five Formative Assessment Tools
Classroom Design Apps:
Flexible Learning Environments, an overview with examples from Edutopia.
Tips from blended-learning teachers about the structures and systems that make blended work by Khan Academy/Silicon Schools Fund/Clayton Christensen Institute (videos Part I and Part II).
Page 16 in the Aspire Public Schools Blended Learning 101 Handbook (located here) is an example of one way teachers can be explicit in communicating behavioral expectations to students. During small group rotations, how should the room look, feel, and sound? Explore with your students what might be included on a similar classroom guide poster in your class. Or, to go further, discuss these with a larger school-wide team to set building or district norms.
Commonsensemedia.org also has interactive online assessments aligned to these lessons: click here.
More detailed instructions for using these in the classroom can be found here.
Sample Small Group Lesson Plan: This sample lesson (written for second grade language arts) can be used as a model of small group learning in a classroom shifting towards this type of learning.
Collaborative Station Activities by Better Lesson
Edutopia: Levels of Understanding: Learning That Fits All
Using Gooru Playlists
Guiding student workflow
The sections below contain a collection of blended learning and Common Core resources used by current or past Alvo clients. This is meant to be a sample of the resources Alvo has found for clients based on their needs NOT endorsements nor recommendations for your program. Alvo believes it is critical for each school, each program, to determine their specific needs and select their instructional resources in-line with those needs. What works for one school very well may not work for yours.
IN ORDER TO HELP OUR CLIENTS SELECT THE RESOURCES THAT ARE BEST FOR THEM, ALVO IS VENDOR AGNOSTIC. ALVO DOES NOT ACCEPT PAYMENT, OR COMPENSATION OF ANY KIND, FROM ANY CONTENT OR TECHNOLOGY PROVIDER IN EXCHANGE FOR PROVIDING ENDORSEMENTS.
AR Flashcard You can print their flashcards that teach kids about the alphabet and space directly off their website.
Better Lesson BetterLesson was founded by a group of public school teachers to help educators create, organize, and share their curricula. The portal provides free, “innovative lessons from effective teachers.” Browse over 10,000 Common Core aligned lesson plans, including classroom materials, and instructional resources from high-performing teachers.
BlackBoard Polls Polls by Blackboard lets users create and join nearby polls with the tap of a finger.
BlendSpace With BlendSpace teachers can create lesson in as little as 5 minutes. BlendSpace allows teachers to organize their web resources in one place and share them with just one link. Additional features include the ability to measure student understanding with built-in quizzes, monitor student progress, and adapt to student needs in real-time.
Card Kiwi Create flashcards for free, and then study with them online. The flashcards will repeat based on where the student needs review.
Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy From their website: “The Robotics Academy develops tools for teachers that make it easier to implement robotics curriculum into today’s classrooms. Our curriculum is research-based, aligns with standards, and focuses on the development of 21st century skill sets in students.”
ChronoZoom ChronoZoom is an educational tool for teachers and students who want to put historical events in perspective. Use it to get a perspective of the extensive scale of time and historical events relative to what happened around the world.
CK-12 Foundation From their website: “CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit that creates and aggregates high quality curated STEM content.”
Code.org Code.org is a non-profit dedicated to growing computer science education by making it available in more schools. Their vision is for every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer programming. They believe computer science should be part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses.
Code School From their website: “Code School teaches web technologies in the comfort of your browser with video lessons, coding challenges, and screencasts.” With Code School you learn by doing.
Common Core From their website: “Common Core seeks to ensure that all students, regardless of their circumstance, receive a content-rich education in the full range of the liberal arts and sciences, including English, mathematics, history, the arts, science, and foreign languages. We work with teachers and scholars to create instructional materials, conduct research, and promote policies that support a comprehensive and high-quality education in America’s public schools.” Free material can be found in the form of samples. Prices seem extremely reasonable given the robust nature of the content.
Connected Classrooms on Google + Connected Classrooms is a program from the G+ Education team to provide teachers with the resources to connect their students with experiential learning opportunities, like virtual field trips, on Google+. With internet access, webcams and inquisitive minds, the possibilities are endless.
Connexions From their website: “Connexions is a dynamic digital educational ecosystem consisting of an educational content repository and a content management system optimized for the delivery of educational content. Connexions is one of the most popular open education sites in the world. Its more than 17,000 learning objects or modules in its repository and over 1000 collections (textbooks, journal articles, etc.) are used by over 2 million people per month. Its content services the educational needs of learners of all ages, in nearly every discipline, from math and science to history and English to psychology and sociology. Connexions delivers content for free over the Internet for schools, educators, students, and parents to access 24/7/365. Materials are easily downloadable to almost any mobile device for use anywhere, anytime. Schools can also order low cost hard copy sets of the materials (textbooks).
Constitute Read, search, and compare constitutions from all over the world.
Curriculet – embed questions in text
Curriki From their website: “Find free to use learning and teaching content from diverse content providers and educators from around the world.” Content includes Common Core tagging and OER Quality Reviews, easy curriculum building and sharing, and a private virtual collaboration space for teachers.
DebateGraph From their website: “DebateGraph is a cloud-based service that offers individuals and communities a powerful way to learn about and deliberate and decide on complex issues. On DebateGraph each public map contributes to, and forms part of an accumulating graph of structured understanding across a growing range of topics, which, as the topics intersect, accelerates and enriches each community’s understanding of the topics each is addressing.”
Digital Public Library of America Explore a vast archive of images online by place or date, using their interactive map or timeline features.
Duolingo Focusing on short lessons where students have the opportunity to speak, read and listen, learning languages in Duolingo is completely free – now and forever – with no ads or hidden fees.
Easy Test Maker Create, print, and publish your tests online. Easily format multiple question types, print alternate versions, and publish to the web for online tests.
Ed-Puzzle Turn any video into a lesson. Find a video and crop it to use only what you need, insert audio notes or record over a video with your voice, and add questions at any point in the video and track your students’ understanding.
Edmodo A free and safe way for students and teachers to connect and collaborate.
EngageNY From their website: “EngageNY.org is developed and maintained by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to support the implementation of key aspects of the New York State Board of Regents Reform Agenda. This is the official web site for current materials and resources related to the Regents Reform Agenda.” A fair number of the schools we have worked with have used their math curriculum.
Facing History and Ourselves: For Educators From their website: “Content-rich materials will get you and your students excited about the next class. Choose from a wide range of multimedia materials like lesson plans, units, resource collections, videos, and podcasts. Purchase classroom sets of core publications or borrow books and films from our lending library.”
Google Apps for Education Free Web-based email, calendar & documents for collaborative study anytime, anywhere.
Google Art Project Google has partnered with hundreds of museums, cultural institutions, and archives to host the world’s cultural treasures online.
Google Classroom From their website: Google Classroom “weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease. And it lets students organize their work, complete and turn it in, and communicate directly with their teachers and peers.”
Google Maps Gallery The Google Maps Gallery is an interactive, digital atlas where anyone can find rich, compelling maps from governments, businesses, non-profits and schools.
Gooru Browse or make playlists
iCivics From their website: “iCivics prepares young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens by creating free and innovative educational materials.”
Kahoot, game based learning
Learnzillion From their website: “LearnZillion is dedicated to championing teachers and supporting their ongoing professional development. Teachers develop expertise and insights while working with students, and have exceptional ideas for how to improve classroom learning. However, they have never been able to integrate that expertise into a curriculum that keeps getting better. We believe that empowering teachers to collaborate and share best practices creates new possibilities for students, and the profession.” Check out their Common Core Navigator.
OER Commons From their website: “OER commons teaching and learning materials are freely available for everyone to use, whether you are a teacher or a learner. This includes full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.”
Padlet – a collaboration tool, virtual corkboard
PBS LearningMedia PBS LearningMedia is a free digital media content library that builds on the strength of public media and is the destination for relevant educational resources for PreK-12 teachers.
Plickers From their website: “Plickers is a powerfully simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices”
Polleverywhere From their website: “On the surface, Poll Everywhere is a simple application that works well for live audiences using mobile devices like phones. People participate by visiting a fast mobile-friendly web page for your event, sending text messages, or using Twitter.”
Quizlet From their website: “Quizlet offers a simple, user-centric online tool for rote learning.”
Smarthistory From their website: “Smarthistory at Khan Academy is the leading open educational resource for art history. We make high-quality introductory art history content freely available to anyone, anywhere. Smarthistory is a platform for the discipline where art historians contribute in their areas of expertise and learners come from across the globe. We offer nearly 500 videos and these are being translated into dozens of languages.”
Smithsonian Scientific Education Center From their website: “Our mission is to transform the learning and teaching of science for all students in the United States and throughout the world.” Teaching Resources section includes links to FREE videos, apps, lessons, and external online resources for science education.
TenMarks Every math problem in the TenMarks library is developed with the intent to engage the student’s problem-solving skills. Teachers deliver the instruction. TenMarks reinforces it for every student and individualizes it for their unique needs.
Versal – Build your own content
Zaption – embed questions in video
Achieve 3000 Achieve3000® is the leader in online differentiated instruction, serving millions of students nationwide. For nearly 15 years, the company has been helping students achieve significant literacy gains compared to non-users of the program. Achieve provides web-based, differentiated instruction solutions that have been designed to reach a school’s entire student population — mainstream, English Language Learners, special needs, and gifted.
Amplify Amplify is making personalized learning an attainable reality for all school districts. Amplify provides digital products geared toward data driven instruction and mobile learning, along with professional services to help K-12 teachers integrate technology and data into the classroom in a way that is tailored to each student’s individual needs.
BrainPOP From their website: “BrainPOP creates animated, curricular content that engages students, supports educators, and bolsters achievement – in classrooms, at home, and on mobile devices.” BrainPOP Jr engages K-3 students while BrainPOP Educators provides an array of support for all types of classroom settings.
Brightspace (by Desire2Learn) Brightspace focuses on communication and collaboration between students, teachers, parents and administrators to deliver a central collection of content specific to the needs of the schools. D2L also worked with higher education, corporate, government & healthcare organizations to deliver a variety of customizable learning tools & suites.
DreamBox From their website: “Powered by industry-leading Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ technology, the DreamBox Math app offers a deeply personalized learning experience that differentiates content, pace, and sequence for the highest levels of student achievement. A rigorous math curriculum and engaging, game-like environment offers an unparalleled, student-driven math learning experience.”
e-spark Integrates iPads apps. Creates a comprehensive inventory of apps and activities, a solid technical foundation, teacher training and online tools for monitoring student success.
FuelEducation (formerly Aventa Learning) Partners with school and districts to delivers online courses across all core and many elective subjects for preK-12th grade. Particularly useful for foreign language courses and other hard to staff subjects. FuelEd combines their robust course offerings with professional services that includes state-certified instruction to professional development for teachers.
i-Ready i-Ready, built for the Common Core, offers K-12 adaptive diagnostic in both reading and math, as well as, both teacher-led and individualized online instruction for a complete blended learning solution.
IXL IXL provides comprehensive, state and Common Core standards-aligned math and language arts practice for K–12.
STMath From their website: “Created by MIND Research Institute, ST Math is game-based instructional software for K-12 and is designed to boost math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning. Integrating with classroom instruction, ST Math incorporates the latest research in learning and the brain and promotes mastery-based learning and mathematical understanding. The ST Math software games use interactive, graphically-rich animations that visually represent mathematical concepts to improve conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills.”
Teachers Pay Teachers From their website: “Teachers Pay Teachers is the world’s first and largest open marketplace for educators to buy, sell, and share their original resources.” As the name implies, there is an associated fee.
TenMarks Every math problem in the TenMarks library is developed with the intent to engage the student’s problem-solving skills. Teachers deliver the instruction. TenMarks reinforces it for every student and individualizes it for their unique needs.
Blended Learning Research: The Seven Studies You Need to Know April 2015
Busy Work or Home Learning? One district’s journey to remake homework for the 21st century May/June 2015
Classifying K-12 Blended Learning* May 2012
Debunking Homework Myths November 2014
Essential Supports for Blended Learning
Is K-12 Blended Learning Disruptive?: An Introduction to the Theory of Hybrids May 2013
K-12 Breakthrough Models
Next Generation Learning Challenges (blog)
Rice study: Simple changes to homework improved student learning
Self-Directed Learning at Summit Public Schools, Direct Link to PDF of Report Augist 2014
State Efforts- Vermont’s PLP Initiative
Summit BaseCamp Model
Summit Public Schools, Student Day (exemplar)
The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning January 2011
The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning: Profiles of Emerging Models May 2011
Self-Assessment Inspires Learning (blog and accompanying PDF classroom tools)
This article includes two useful resources: a self-assessment rubric for social-emotional development and reflection questions for self-assessment on social-emotional traits.
Rethinking Teacher Learning: Emerging Models: More Time, More Possibilities: A Cross-Content Design
A case study from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation profiling a school that innovated in the area of professional development. This school altered its schedule and staffing structure in order to provide a drastic increase in the amount of PD its faculty received.
Education Week Article: Moving Towards Next Generation Learning*
From the article: Author Andy Calkins presents “a landscape map of current reform efforts in the blended/competency-based/personalized learning space using four key dimensions of their taxonomy: degree of variation in, and student input into (even control of), the time, pace, path, and place of learning. Time and place are being stretched these days through digital, online media (the X axis); path and pace are being stretched in models (up along the Y axis) that make students the organizers and managers of their own learning.”
Scaling Up for Success: KIPP’s Formula for Great Schools
Excerpt: “The KIPP Foundation was awarded the third annual Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. The $250,000 award is another feather in the cap of a charter-school network that for two decades has been bringing a high-quality education to an overwhelmingly low-income and minority population and now comprises 31 separate local organizations that run 162 public charter schools.”
Scaling Up: Building a Successful Blended Learning Program with Existing Funds
Expert: “This pilot has huge implications for schools and districts that want to launch blended learning
programs. By sharing some of the elements of the pilot and observations to date, we hope
to spark similar momentum in other districts.”
Proof Points: Blended Learning Success in Schools Districts
Hamilton County Community Unit School District 10, McLeansboro, Illinois
State of America’s Schools- Gallup Report
This Gallup report gives compelling data about why it is so critical to consider social and emotional learning in a school program as much as traditional academic goals.
The Teacher’s Guide to Open Educational Resources by Nicole Comforto
Edudemic article from July 2015. Great beginning guide to OERs (what they are, how to use, where to start) that contains resources links for literature, math and science and videos and courses.
Developing the Innovators Mindset
The following resources will help you explore how to tap into the innovator’s mindset as they explore and implement new models of instruction in their classroom.
The Innovator’s Mindset
8 Characteristics of the “Innovator’s Mindset”
This blog emphasizes the need for educators to embrace the Innovator’s Mindset in order to cultivate these same traits in their students.
Nurturing The Innovator’s Mindset In Your Classroom
This article lists concrete practices to implement in your classroom but also applies to teachers’ own growth in the area of innovator’s mindset.
Lighthouse’s Creativity Lab PD Packet
This 10 page guide to Lighthouse’s Creativity Lab is meant as a resource for educators.
About Lighthouse’s Creativity Lab
A look at how Lighthouse builds opportunities for student (and, by extension, faculty) creativity into their program.
The Screen Time Debate
The following resources are a selection of opinions about the appropriate amount of screen time for children of various ages. Use these links and articles as a jumping-off point in your exploration of the issue, as you discuss with students and their parents the effect Blended Learning has on students’ screen time. The Alvo Institute recommends setting careful and conservative limits on screen time for students in any Blended Learning program, especially for younger students.
American Academy of Pediatrics: Media and Children (article)
Interactive Media Use at Younger Than the Age of 2 Years Time to Rethink the American Academy of Pediatrics Guideline? (article)
The Balance of Screen Time (article)
When School is Online, How Much Screen Time is Too Much? (blog)
TEDxRainier – Dr. Dimitri Christakis – Media and Children (video)
Video: “What Is Blended Learning?”*
From The Learning Accelerator and featuring Michael Horn, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Education at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, this video defines blended learning by showing it in action in a variety of settings.
Videos: The “How” of Blended Learning
Hosted on Khan Academy, an informative collection of short videos explaining the basics of blended learning as well as more specific topics, such as classroom procedures and choosing online programs for students. From their website: “Silicon Schools Fund and the Clayton Christensen Institute have teamed up to provide insight and guidance on delivering high-quality blended learning. Learn more about how to personalize K-12 education for all students by combining the best of traditional schools with the transformative power of online learning.”
Video: Michael Horn: Benefits of Online and Blended Learning Models*
Michael Horn, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Education at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, discusses the benefits of online and blended learning models (1 min, 30 sec).
Video: Critique and Feedback: The Story of Austin’s Butterfly
A 6 minute video of a small group session (elementary students but thought-provoking for all ages) in which a teacher demonstrates the power of critique and feedback.
Video: Grimmway Academy*
Grimmway Academy is a public charter school located in Arvin, California. In 2011, Grimmway’s founding leadership team invited Alvo to help them design the Academy’s blended learning instruction model that best fit the needs of its students. For the school’s launch in 2011, they decided on the Lab Rotational Instructional Design. Alvo is currently working with Grimmway to expand their model. In its first two years, Grimmway has out performed all other public elementary schools in Southern Kern County and for the last two years, has achieved the highest California test scores in Arvin’s history. To learn more about Alvo’s work with Grimmway, watch this video.
For other videos about how blended learning supports great instruction, check out these videos.
Watch these schools’ videos to get a taste of a variety of blended learning models.
Summit Public Schools*
School of One
Video: PBS Segment (July 22, 2014) on Alvo client KIPP Courage: “In Houston, traditional public school shares ideas and a roof with charter schools”
KIPP Courage in Houston, a blended learning charter school, in a unique arrangement, shares a building, PE, music, and art classes, and beneficial collaboration with a traditional public school. Watch this 8 minute feature to learn more about how it works.
Video: This is Blended Learning by CEE-TRUST
Video List: Long list of Innovative school model, examples from Next Generation Learning Challenges Grant Application Schools
Video:The Definition of Blended Learning from Khan Academy, The Christensen Institute, and Silicon Schools
Video: Driving the Process of Innovation from Khan Academy, The Christensen Institute, and Silicon Schools
Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation The Christensen Institute is the pace-car when it comes to documenting the different implementation of blended learning in the US and across the globe. We encourage you to explore their resources.
Blend My Learning
From their website: BlendMyLearning represents a community of blended learning schools and practitioners, and offers a venue for these educators to innovate, transform and share. There is an urgent need to connect peers and develop information within this relatively small and nascent blended school community.
iNACOL Research Clearinghouse for K-12 Blended and Online Learning
From their website: This Clearinghouse is a collaborative effort led by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute™ (MVRLI™) to provide a repository of references to research articles and other publications from the field of K-12 online and blended learning.