By blended learning environment, I'm referring to a classroom where the instruction happens face-to-face and online. The students can access the class materials from any computer with internet, turn in assignments, reference schedules, review discussions, and track their progress towards standards. The power with an online classroom environment lies in the students' accessibility from anywhere, the teacher's ability to personalize instruction for each student, provide feedback as students work through assignments online, and as a communication tool to the student's parent(s)/guardian(s).
The first step in creating a blended learning environment is choosing a Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS is a web-based tool used to implement an online course. For K-12 educators, an LMS provides us the opportunity to have a blended learning environment where students can access the "classroom" from any computer with internet access. There are an overwhelming amount of choices available for educators. The point is to make sure it fits your needs. I want one that is easy to use (for me and my students), free, and allows easy communication to parents. Here are a few options I would recommend:
1) Schoology (free because my district pays for it)PRO: Schoology allows for easy parent communication, gradebook, assignment feedback, Google App integration, discussions, and individual/group assignments.
CONS: Have to pay for the best features
**I have collected a resources to help you get started with Schoology**
2) Google Classroom (all my students have Google Accounts)PRO: Sends an automatic, weekly email to parent(s) with upcoming assignments, completed assignments (with scores), and missing assignments. Assignment feedback, individual/group assignments.
CON: Doesn't have a gradebook
**I have collected a resources to help you get started with Classroom**