What Is Blended Learning?
Blended Learning is an educational model that combines small group instruction with computer based individual work for each student. This system helps each student learn at his or her own speed. The computer system collects information about student progress in real-time and produces data that teachers can use immediately to tailor lessons for each child. As a result, teachers are able to differentiate to a degree that has never been possible before.
Our Blended Learning program represents a massive investment in the technological infrastructure of DePaul Catholic. Since 2013, more than $750,000 in grants and philanthropic funding have helped create this program. We are happy to say that our academic results have exceeded our expectations. Not only are our students growing faster than ever before, but they are even outpacing peers at some of the most well funded and sophisticated elementary schools in the country.
Check out this video of Ms. Etienne’s Kindergarten classroom to see a Blended Classroom in action!
Why is Blended Learning Worth Funding?
Today, there are so many exciting things happening at DePaul Catholic. During a recent visit, Maureen and I saw firsthand one initiative called Blended Learning. It combines small group instruction with computer-based, individual lessons for each student within the same classroom.
In Blended Learning, each student works in a private cubicle, equipped with a personal laptop and headphones, and learns at his/her own pace and appropriate educational level.
So advanced students are getting challenged while slower learners are getting the help they need to succeed at their level. No embarrassment. No frustration. As one first grader put it, “You take what you don’t know, and put it together with what you do know, and that’s how you make your brain grow!” Out of the mouths of babes!
IMS schools are led by faculty and staff committed to core values. These values will assure a promising future in and out of the classroom, and will continue to produce outstanding young men and women. And this is why we invested in IMS and DePaul Catholic. As the IMS mission reads: “Help us help them transform their lives and communities.”
– John Fries, 2017 Hall of Fame Award Recipient
What Are Teachers and Students Saying about Blended Learning?
On classrooms that really work:
“I have the ability to differentiate, truly differentiate, beyond what I have ever been able to do before. Blended gives me a tool I could never create on my own. It’s June and the kids are still excited and learning. The classrooms are a more peaceful place to be, the kids are excited and love being here. The biggest change is that I can target instruction in a more precise way.”
– DePaul First Grade Teacher
On truly tailored lessons:
“I identified a student at the beginning of the year who was a really strong reader. She tested really high, and I know in another classroom I would not have been able to challenge her and reach her in the same ways that I have been able to this year.”
-DePaul Kindergarten Teacher
On positive reinforcement:
“I’m thinking of a student who struggles with reading and it’s frustrating, as with for any struggling reader, but on the computer where he can find success … every time he gets a congratulations … his face just lights up and it’s the greatest part of his day, and for him to find success somewhere in school where he really struggles, that’s huge, because getting kids to be confident and happy at school is gets them to come back and enjoy school.”
-DePaul Reading Specialist
On the excitement of learning:
“You take what you don’t know, and you put it together with what you do know, and that’s how you make your brain grow!”
-DePaul First Grader