Author(s): Heather Clayton Staker
Organization(s): Ready to Blend
Issues: Home-based learning, cyber-wellness, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Office 365, virtual campus, teacher-student relationship, project-based learning, Blended Learning Arcs, Flex model, blended learning, competency-based learning, Singapore
A cohort of Singapore teachers joined the inaugural Blended Learning Community of Practice (COP) in January 2022. This COP is supported by Microsoft. They joined the community to become proficient in using Microsoft 365 applications for teaching and learning, manage home-based learning and teacher and student absenteeism due to COVID-19, and nurture self-directed students who are prepared for a rapidly changing and complex world.
Learning one competency at a time
Participants learned competencies related to implementing a Flex model and shared their ideas with one another. For example, teachers at NUS High School of Math and Science shared outlines for a Launch and Close. Teachers at both Nanyang Girls’ High School and Yishun Town Secondary School produced sample online lessons for Independent Work. Teachers at Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) provided an outline for Collaborative Work. And a leader at Rosyth School shared ideas for systemic change.
Looking toward the future
To reach their goals, the COP participants face several opportunities ahead, including completing the classroom materials and designs needed for implementation, practicing skills for 1-on-1 Check-ins, and refining their designs based on students' perspectives about their experiences. This case study ends with discussion questions to prompt group reflection about how to accomplish these priorities.
How the COP worked together
Twenty-three teachers, representing four secondary schools and one primary school, joined the community of practice. Their first gathering focused on goal setting and an introduction to design principles. From there, participants took part in a live discussion, independent and collaborative work, and a closing reflection each week for 10 weeks. Microsoft Teams served as the virtual campus, offering a hub for collaboration that supports virtual meetings, chat channels, and document exchanges.
Desgining with a new blueprint
Participants worked together to design materials for a Flex blended-learning model. The Flex model is useful because it is conducive to continued learning, whether at home or from in-person school, with the official teacher or a relief teacher. It frees up teachers’ time for teacher-student conferencing and students’ time to work on the best-suited lesson at the best pace for them—foundational to mastery learning. COP Participants used the Blended Learning Arc Framework as their blueprint, envisioning a student experience that follows the pattern of Launch, Independent and Collaborative Work, 1-on-1 Check-in, and Close.