This week, our final week in ECI 512, we were to look over three areas of educational study, pedagogy, and theory exemplified in the TPACK, SMAR, & the iNACOL Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework. These three items all serve three different purposes but in the end, I believe, want to get teachers and students to the same end goal; growth.
To begin, the iNACOL Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework, is an amazing tool that will help shape the next 15-20 years, if not more, of education. The core of this framework is that it is a "living" and evolving document that is and will be flexible as we move forward in understanding what “Blended Learning” is and what it looks like in the classroom. I also strongly value their definition of “Blended Learning” as “A formal education program in which a student learns: at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.” (Horn and Staker, 2013) It is important that we recognize the role of student ownership in the 21st century classroom and this framework does that by acknowledging the twelve different competencies embedded in four larger domains; Mindsets, Qualities, Adaptive Skills, and Technical skills. The thing I like most about this framework is that it seems to include a human element and scaffolds to help both students and teachers growth process. It says “Teacher Competency” but I feel as if it addresses so much more than teacher ownership.
TPACK and SMAR are more so geared towards what is the teacher’s explicit role in connecting the blended learning environment. I feel almost as if these two though more so place an importance on the teacher ownership of the learning environment and doesn’t really address the student ownership aspect as much as the BLTCF does. TPACK I think helps the teacher in finding the ever elusive “sweet spot” in their teaching and how that relates to helping students grow. It’s essentially saying that when the teacher gets into this prime position blended learning can take place. SAMR is somewhat in the same vain in that it more so addresses the growth and the ability of the teacher. However, SMAR does do a good job in making sure that it’s moving teachers and students up the grow ladder in the blended classroom. At the end of the day they are all about grow but from seemingly different angles. I personally think they are all valid just depending the environment they are teaching and where they are in the journey themselves. They all provide systematic ways to growth. iNACOL is more specific and comparable to the NC Teacher Evaluation tool and could probably be integrated nicely with it as far as professional development goes and PDP and SIP SMART goals. I look forward to seeing what happens with these frameworks as we progress further in to the 21st Century classroom.
David Balmer serves as an Instructional Technology Facilitator in Wake County, North Carolina. David graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Secondary History Education and recently completed his M.Ed. in Digital Learning & Teaching from North Carolina State University. Additionally, he serves on the board of Safe Schools NC. David is passionate about making sure that all students voices are heard in education in North Carolina.