Yesterday, I wrote about the six elements needed for the successful implementation and planning for blended learning.
The most important element for the planning and implementation of blended learning (or any program) is leadership. Leadership can come from a variety of places including a governing board, a superintendent, a principal, a teacher or a parent. In efficient and effective systems, leadership is empowered and welcomed from all stakeholders. And the person who facilitates all of the stakeholders embraces leadership from all groups and provides an inclusive and cooperative leadership style that focuses everyone on the overall goals of the program. Successful implementation of a blended learning initiative requires strong and consistent leadership. In order to have a successful adoption, implementation and sustainable program, leadership needs to occur throughout the organization.
When implementing a blended learning program and examining the leadership of the school or system, the key questions that need to be asked include:
- What are the year-to-year measurable goals of program?
- What are the planning year and ongoing implementation goals?
- What need is being fulfilled by implementing blended learning?
- What is the 3-5 year implementation plan and how will it potentially affect teaching and learning?
- What support systems are needed to build the program?
- Who will oversee the implementation of the program?
- Who will provide ongoing communication, support and professional development for involved teachers?
- What human and financial resources will be utilized to build, support and sustain the blended learning program?
- Who are the teacher, staff and administrative leaders for the implementation?
The best practices regarding leadership that I have observed in a variety of schools include the following:
- There is a written and articulated vision for the implementation of blended learning that is shared with everyone across the system or school.
- There are specific written short and long term goals that are measurable and attainable.
- The vision and goals were developed and embraced by all stakeholders.
- The vision and goals are continuously communicated and measured by leaders at all levels.
- Ongoing support personnel are in place to support the vision and goals of the program.
- Ongoing funding is identified for multiple years to support the vision and goals of the program.
- Ongoing meetings and professional development for teachers, staff and administrators occur on at least a bi-weekly basis for discussions, sharing and networking to support the vision and goals of the program.
In future blogposts, more specific examples will be shared from various blended learning schools and hopefully, those reading these blogposts will offer other examples of leadership that help in the implementation of any blended learning program. The next element to be discussed tomorrow will be element 2, professional development.