V. Blended Instruction
Blended instruction should be a staple for academy teachers. In its simplest form blended instruction means that students receive instruction in two ways: from the teacher and virtually.
On a daily basis, teachers will provide students with instruction that addresses score 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 content for a specific proficiency scale. Sometimes direct instruction is required. Sometimes instruction is focused on practicing a skill or deepening understanding of information. Sometimes instruction focuses on helping students apply their knowledge in new situations. An academy teacher continually evaluates the type of instruction required for students given the level of the proficiency scale in which they are working.
In addition to planning for day-to-day instruction regarding proficiency scales, an academy teacher continually develops online activities and resources for score 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 content for each proficiency scale. This is a project in which all teachers should share responsibility. That is, teachers who are using proficiency scales in common should design, create, and share online resources for the score 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 content. To illustrate, consider figure 5.1.
The left hand side of figure 5.1 contains the score 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 content for a specific proficiency scale. The right hand side of the figure lists some online resources that will help students learn the content at the score 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 levels. Notice that some entries like the Khan Academy references are free online resources that already exist. Figure 5.1 also lists screencasts. These are instructional resources created by teachers that provide instruction regarding specific score 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 content. Screencasts can be created using a wide variety of free online tools. Also listed in figure 5.1 are practice activities in PDF form and even pages from textbooks. As time goes on teachers using this proficiency scale would continue to identify and develop resources which are then tagged to the score 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 content.
A unit, a pathway, a module. A playlist by any other name would still be a set of organized learning experiences in Empower. Playlist can help organize your instruction for your own purposes, for delivery to students and they get pretty fancy when we start using them as courses and to help us manage differentiated learning.
Here is a good article that explains all about playlists.
And here is the tutorial video for Playlists.
Using the Instruction Tab adds a lot of value to the Scoring tab and visa versa as the two are woven together and actions on one can create and change elements on both. The graphic below helps chart the relationships.
A major advantage of delivering instruction in Empower is that Empower is designed to help manage a differentiated classroom.
As students progress through your playlist, Empower will keep you up to the minute with a tally of how many students are working where. Click on that number to find out exactly which learners are presently on that tile.
If you'd like to cut out the noise, click the Show Groupings button and Empower will show only tiles which students are working on. These are your groups!
Empower's Instruction tab is the place to design and manage activities, quizzes and whole units which you can design, reuse, co-edit and share with colleagues.
Sometimes called tasks, activities are very versatile and designed to deliver all sorts of digital instruction. Whether you are building instruction for learners to be self-directed, or using playlists to organize your own lesson plans, activities are a must-know.
This video shows how teachers can build and deploy activities.
What does that look like for learners? See it in this video:
Now learn about the control panel and how you can use it to adjust and change some of the activity's settings as needed including assign and due dates, lock and unlocking, student statuses, etc..
When learners turn things in, one of the most efficient methods of scoring is the Scoring Inbox:
Creating and delivering assessments via Empower has several advantages.
Objective-type questions (true/false, fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, etc.) can be scored by the system. Scores will automatically be entered into appropriate gradebooks and the student's portfolio.
As with all created instruction in Empower, assessments can be co-created, shared and re-used district-wide and year after year.
Each question needs to be aligned to one and only one measurement topic and a proficiency scale level must also be chosen to ensure score reliability.
Learn all about assessments in Empower in this tutorial: