Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13: Hybrid Learning Initiative Blends Online and Classroom Learning

In gardening, two grafted roots can combine the best of each to create a strong, new hybrid tree or flower.

At Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13, a new hybrid learning initiative is taking school districts to new heights in learning, grafting the agility and variety offered by online resources with the personalized attention of skilled teachers.

The initiative emerged from the desire of several IU 13 school districts to take their technology investments – representing significant spending on student achievement -- to new levels. With hybrid capabilities incorporated into ordinary classroom settings, teachers can use technology to pinpoint and address the needs of each individual student.

Here’s how it works: Typically, teachers break a classroom of students into three rotating groups. While Group One works with the teacher, students in Group Two complete online assignments, and Group Three collaborates on a project.

The online assignments aren’t the same for everyone but are tailored to meet the needs of each student. Through the online system, teachers get real-time feedback showing where students are struggling or succeeding, which helps teachers adapt future assignments as needed for each student. Every day, they help students get on track and stay on track by choosing targeted assignments from a rich and comprehensive library of online resources.

The initiative’s benefits are reaching throughout Pennsylvania with several intermediate units from across the state participating. To date, Appalachia IU 8 in Altoona, ARIN IU 28 in Indiana, BLaST Intermediate Unit 17 in Williamsport, Luzerne IU 18 in Kingston, Montgomery County IU 23 in Norristown, and Schuylkill IU 29 in Pottsville are on board, and other IUs are expected to join in the near future. By pooling the buying power of participating schools, districts, and intermediate units, the hybrid learning participants get discounts on the online classroom materials and other resources that expand teachers’ choices for meeting the needs of individual students.

“Hybrid learning brings together the best of several worlds by using best teaching practices, innovative technology, and collaborative purchasing power. It engages students with state-of-the-art technology that is infused with educational standards, and saves money for participating school districts,” said Pam McCartney, Director of Instructional Services for IU 13. “The hybrid learning initiative is still in the early phases, with five area schools participating within Lancaster and Lebanon counties. However, as districts hear about the impact and benefits, more and more are inquiring about participation. This initiative is powerful!”

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