BIT 2015 – Taking Blended Learning to the Next Level

The seventh session – and first one for today – that we are blogging at the Bring IT Together 2015 conference is:

Taking Blended Learning to the Next Level

by Paul Hatala

Many teachers are using the provincial vLE (D2L) for straightforward content storage, but the platform is much more powerful than that. Leveraging some of the more advanced, yet easily accessible features in the vLE, teachers could be differentiating the learning for their students automatically. Having materials released based on results of diagnostics or checklists, communicating with students automatically based on results (or contributions, etc.) and tracking learning objectives are all possible within the system allowing the teacher to have a better understanding of how a student is understanding and demonstrating their learning. This session will be recorded so that participants can review the material after the event and support resources (video format) will be provided on each of the skills described.

Paul is the technology-enabled learning consultant for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (this is the new title for the eLearning Ontario supported positions that used to be called eLearning Consultants).

Up front, Paul mentioned that a recording of this session would be available online at: – click Library and then Conference Presentations

That resource also includes numerous videos that might come up during the presentation, as well as items that could be used as blended learning resources in general.

Paul began his session by describing the ways that he sees most of his teachers using technology in the classroom and, after describing several of those tools, he argued that these kinds of activities were largely substitution – with some augmentation – based on the SAMR model.


But not so much on the modification or redefinition levels.

Paul then had a small discussion in the room about what constitutes an engaging classroom, and then described his ideal vision (and mentioned how in many blended classrooms the face-to-face portion is often quite engaging, but the online version is quite linear – even boring).

Much of the rest of the session was Paul demonstrating the kinds of things that Brightspace by D2L could do.  He stressed that he was showcasing this tool because it was free to folks in Ontario (due to the eLearning Ontario license), but that the types of activities could be done in any number of learning management systems.

As this portion was a show and tell kind of thing, I’d recommend that you review the video he posts at – click Library and then Conference Presentations.

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