dyslexia · education · learning disabilities · professional development · technology · Uncategorized

Online and Blended Education Part 2–the LD dilemma

Hopefully you have read Part 1, and gathered I am rather open to online and blended learning, but I do wonder how it can truly fit in addressing the skill-based learning educators provide students in our school.

Rather funny opportunities have fallen into place this year, I am privileged to be participating in coursework towards an advance professional certificate in online and blended learning through the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (#CAISCT) in association with the Online School for Girls @OS4G, as well as working towards my Associate level certification in Orton-Gillingham.  If you are familiar with these two, you would understand the Jekyll and Hyde prospect this holds; however, am lucky that my Director of Education is doing the same along with me.

Online and Blended learning is an exciting space to explore for learners and educators.  It opens the doors for opportunities for schools to reach broader audiences as well as for learners to receive education opportunities that may not be readily available otherwise due to location and resources.

Orton-Gillingham (OG) is a traditional approach to reading instruction, focusing on decoding(reading) and encoding(spelling) linguistic instruction.  It is traditional, focused, usually 1-1 and linear in fashion, with proven results.  To receive certification in the OG Academy, you need to prove competency in methods and instruction that follows their practices.

These two opportunities don’t go hand in hand, but is there thought to they could?  Is there a place for technology of today’s learning to work with traditional tried and true methods of skill development?

I am Director of Technology but still teach traditional classes related to reading, writing and math.  I love working with teachers in various subject areas to incorporate technology, but teach a “traditional” class that falls in the heart of our program, one we call Tutorial.  Tutorial is the basis of reading instruction related to decoding, encoding, comprehension, vocabulary development and study skills. Funnily enough, one of my students in this class said to me recently “Mrs. Plante, why if you are in charge of technology, do we use so little technology in this class?”

It was a great question, for I apply uses of technology in many areas of our program, but when it comes to this one class, I am hesitant, it is the realm that I apply the ideas that go along with the OG methodology, and can technology fit?  Yes, I use online tools and apps to promote learning and encourage other educators to do so in many areas, but it is the once class that I tend to apply more traditional learning methods.  When this student posed this thought, it gave me a jolt, for truly am I avoiding technology in places that I can fit it in, due to traditional training beliefs?

I am eager to take this year of learning in both fields, and hopefully find the marrying of methods that may be able to exist for students with a range of learning differences.  I am lucky to connect with a few people who understand this dilemma…my head @bnpowers is a tech lover, but also trained in OG methodology.  He connected me with @ATKSMan, the tech guru, and @tlckildonan, OG guru. They are educators who work with the dyslexic population as well, and on both sides and have truly “married” the idea of tech and OG.  Through the perspectives we all have and share, I see great things for the #dyslexiamovement that can lead to the incorporating of traditional tried and true methods of instruction with the engagement of today’s learning tools.

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2 thoughts on “Online and Blended Education Part 2–the LD dilemma

  1. Hi Sharon,
    Not sure if you remember me from a few years back working together at Eagle Hill, but I wanted to explain why I found your blog. I am currently working as a reading specialist in New Hampshire, and my school district is trying to pilot some blended learning approaches (and coincidentally is also training many of our specialists in OG this year). As I was reading about the philosophies behind blended learning, I kept thinking about EHS and how awesome it would be to implement blended learning there. So I decided to do a little digging to see what’s new with you guys, and sure enough I find that you have basically spearheaded the whole thing. No surprise there!
    Anyway, I just wanted to say congrats for establishing some awesome, innovative technological approaches to learning, while still finding a way to maintain the balance between modern and traditional teaching methods.
    Hope things are well with you, as I realize I’m replying to quite an outdated post! Keep up the great work and tell everyone at EHS I said hello!
    Alison Neri

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