Blended Learning Environments

Creating a Culture for Student Success

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Using Blended Learning to Design Schools that Motivate Students

Similar to people who deprioritize the job of “maintain my physical health,” many students languish in school or do not come to class at all because education isn’t a job that they are trying to do. Education is something they might choose to hire to do that job—but it isn’t the job. Teachers can work extraordinarily hard to improve the features of their products, in the hope that more engaging lessons, media, and student-response clickers will improve student motivation. But their efforts are in vain if they are aimed at providing an even better way for students to do something that they were never trying to do in the first place. Of course, schools can try punishments and rewards to coerce students to learn. Ultimately, however, if this is the best school can offer, many students will hire other solutions to solve the problems that arise in their lives, and school will descend to a lower and lower priority.


This is not to say that a school should not instill in students certain core knowledge, skills, and dispositions; rather, that in order to accomplish these objectives, the school must create an experience that is intrinsically motivating for students. School can be a place where students find joy in learning. The key is to crawl into the learners’ skin and see their circumstances—including their anxieties, immediate problems, and innate motivations—from their point of view. The jobs-to-be-done theory is a tool to help you do that.

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Birdville Blended Pillars: Strategies Playlist

Birdville's blended learning pillars are designed to help school provide personalized learning experiences that students will find intrinsically motivating.


Part of Student Agency is working with students to set learning goals and then monitoring progress and conferencing regularly with students as they strive to meet their goals.


Review the resources Student Agency section of this playlist, identifying specific ways to support students in the online learning environment.

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Classroom Contract

The Classroom Contract serves as a collaboratively created framework for behavior expectations in the classroom. Students and teacher work together to design an agreement for classroom norms, rules and consequences. To achieve ultimate student ownership, contracts should be developed and agreed upon by all class members. The Classroom Contract can be frequently amended as situations arise.
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Strategies for Building a Productive and Positive Learning Environment

Positive, productive learning environments are key to students' academic, emotional and social success in school. Unfortunately, positive learning environments don't just happen on their own–they must be created. There are many components that go into making a positive learning environment for students. For starters, positive learning environments should offer a climate of safety, where risk-taking is encouraged, there is open authentic conversation, trust and respect are fostered, and positive interaction is the norm.
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Extending Classroom Management Online

As more and more classrooms embrace a blended learning environment, it’s important that we talk about strategies for classroom management. For the past few years, we’ve seen a huge growth in distance learning. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 53 percent of the nation’s public school districts have high school students enrolled in distance education courses.


One key to a quality program is its instructors’ ability to manage the online classroom. Yet many online educators don’t realize that the best practices in traditional environments should not be discarded simply because the participants are interacting digitally from various locations. They still need to be managed as a cohesive group of learners.


Learn nine suggestions to help you provide online learners with class norms and expectations and a sense of community.

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Helping Students Realize Their Most Capable Selves

Students would ideally not need external permission to believe in their own abilities, but most teachers know that they often do. Our students regularly look to us to gauge what is possible and help them develop their most capable selves. How we name and frame what is possible for students often shapes their own sense of possibility.
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Combatting a Culture of Learned Helplessness

I cannot climb into my students backpacks and go home with them to field every inquiry they have, so why would I do it in the classroom? Students have to learn how to answer their own questions.
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Responding to Disruptive Students

Negative attention, or punitive communication, is a common, unconscious habit of defense when a familiar environment feels unsafe or unmanageable. Educators may turn to it instinctively when they feel frustrated because they see their work being disrupted. But difficult students don’t benefit from being punished.