Administrators who took the course
This experience has proven to be an invaluable resource for not only our teachers but for other administrators who will benefit as instructional leaders of the initiative. Every piece of research, articles, project-based learning, feedback, and collaboration offered through this project will have an immeasurable impact on the success of full implementation.
While technology is an integral part of the blended learning process, we will achieve results by focusing on learner-centered goals, by providing opportunities that will enhance learning and making learning more relevant, by combining traditional learning with online learning (the best of both worlds) and by becoming student focused and student driven. In other words, we will shift paradigms in our school district—we will educate students for work and life in the 21st century, not just add technology to the instructional process.
This opportunity was one of the best that I have ever experienced. It will change the trajectory of the mission of Atlanta ISD. We will move into an instructional mode unlike any that has ever been experienced in our school. More than anything, our students will be given the opportunity to exceed far beyond their potential!
— Donna Rice, Principal, Atlanta Primary School, Atlanta ISD
Blended Learning has helped us better understand how to differentiate, individualize, and personalize instruction. Our teaches have learned to create tiered stations to address low math and reading standards and have observed growth in those standards when they post-assess. —Claudia Ureno-Olivas, Principal, Ascarate Elementary School, Ysleta ISD
The deeper understanding of Blended Learning gained in this course will help me be a stronger leader as our district continues to develop Blended Learning over 3 phases of implementation. . . . This upcoming year it will be very important to focus on individualized learning pathways. The past year and a half has left some students with gaps in learning. But not all students. After a year of seeing some students and teachers completely disengaged in both virtual and in person learning, giving students voice and choice would be a way to re-engage in learning. —Cindy Marez, Elementary Math Specialist, Galena Park ISD
This 3-month course has been a huge experience for me because of all the knowledge I was able to attain. With all of the plans I created, I plan to share them with my professional development team that went through this course with me and come up with a district proposal to look at how we are rolling out the blended learning model. This is an experience I will never forget and will be referring to and implementing in the lives I have the privilege to touch for years to come. —Karol Gillum, Professional Development Facilitator, Spring ISD
Teachers who took the course
I know my students are benefiting from blended learning because they are excited, engaged and are in charge of their own learning. . . . My goal was to create one blended learning lesson a week and my students have really shown me that this is a great way for them to learn. Thank you for allowing me to take this course. I have enjoyed it and have gained confidence in my ability to teach with different approaches. —Brooklyn Arias, Pre-K Teacher, Blackshear Elementary School, Ector County Independent School District
In my 33 years of teaching, I can only think of one other training that changed, challenged, and fueled me. . . . This online opportunity to learn more about the Foundations of Blended Learning has been very beneficial. It has refocused me as an educator and has given me a chance to be a part of something exciting for our school and students. One goal I have for the 2021-2022 school year is to create a more inviting classroom environment that promotes and nurtures learning at its best. Creating Menu Boards is another goal I have for the next school year . . . after going through this training, I definitely want to move towards a digital choice board that embeds more technology. I am eager to implement all the strategies and ideas I have learned through this online course. —Paula Packer, 2nd-Grade Teacher, Shields Elementary School, Victoria ISD
Blended learning is the answer to the million-dollar questions, "How can every student receive an education? How can we not leave students behind?" Incorporating technology that works with the students' learning will differentiate their choices to learn. This, with the use of management skills and understanding of the inner workings of technology, will provide an opportunity for students to form their own future.
I came into this professional development course not knowing what blended learning even was. I thought my methods worked well and had decent turn out in my passing rates, relatively high engagement, but I do not think I fully embraced the 21st-entury style of learning. I was still doing most of the work, still telling students what they needed to complete, though I gave them choice in how they wanted to complete their work. I used more conversation in my class to help students learn from peers. After completing the UTeach Professional Development Foundations of Blended Learning, I have learned that blended learning is incorporating technology, but allowing students to work at their own pace with the choice of when, where and how they learn.
With the foundations in place, I will be able to move forward using these techniques to better the learning of the students, giving each one their own education. This will require losing some control but giving students independence and ownership, making learning fun again. —Kileigh Eblen, 4th-Grade Teacher, Shields Elementary School, Victoria ISD
I am now coming out of it with so much more knowledge and experience than I ever have with any other type of professional development I have been to. I thought blended learning just meant you incorporated technology some way, somehow throughout your lesson, but it is so much more than that. It is incorporating meaningful technology-based tools that enhance student engagement and mastery at their own pace. —Molly Montgomery, 4th-Grade Math Teacher, Vidor Elementary School, Vidor ISD, Texas
I loved the concepts presented throughout this class. Transitioning from a stand and deliver teacher to a facilitator in the classroom. Transitioning students from just receiving information to actively participating in their learning. Using technology to support students at the individual level! This class gave me an idea of what my classroom can and hopefully will look like in the upcoming years. Thank you for the opportunity! —Tara Aguilar, Geometry / Algebra II / Leadership Grades 10-12, Harlingen High School, Harlingen CISD
I have taken the UTeach Blended Learning Professional Development, both Intermediate and Advanced, and found both to be exponentially informative and applicable in the face-to-face and online platforms. In times like these, where teachers are presented with challenges on a daily basis, it is remarkable to have this in my back pocket to rely upon to encourage learning in and outside the actual classroom. Blended Learning allows me to group in numerous ways, to encourage students to learn and be engaged. —Julie Cameron, English Language Arts Teacher, Lytle High School, Lytle ISD
I would recommend the UTeach Professional Development Foundations of Blended Learning course as a 10! It was a very positive experience that changed my thinking and made me want to change some teaching modes. The instructors were encouraging and affirming. Throughout the course, its concepts were modeled. I loved the demonstration within the teaching! I think our students will enjoy it as well and find learning more fun than ever! —Jane Colbert, Special Education Teacher, Save Our Streets Center, Arrow Academy Charter Schools, Bryan, Texas
This UTeach course has been a real eye-opener for me. Over the last month, I’ve had to undergo a mindset shift to properly complete the assignments for the UTeach course. For me, blended learning was mostly about taking away the headaches of paper collection and giving students some interesting things to do. I’m finding out that the paradigms apparent in a truly blended learning classroom are much more involved, so I need to make some changes. What I’m trying to accomplish in my classroom has changed as a result of taking this course.
I want students to be excited about coming into my classroom. I’ve learned that this requires giving students choices and meaningful activities--meaningful to them, not just to me.
In essence, I have a lot of work ahead of me in order to be ready for students and a school year complete with courses that challenge students without killing their motivation to learn, but it’s a fun kind of work, and I’m really looking forward to it.
—Edwin Everett, Advanced Placement (AP) Literature Teacher, Harlingen High School South, Harlingen CISD
As a high school music teacher who teaches three diverse subjects . . . the thought of blended learning was never appealing to me. This was especially true in directing choirs. Music classes, and especially ensembles, have traditionally been teacher-centered, even more so than nearly every other course. Creating more rubrics and checklists for students and data trackers for me as a teacher is one way that we can determine improvement. This course has given me some good ideas as to how this can be accomplished. Relying more on student surveys and modes of student feedback on Google Classroom, Flipgrid, and Jamboard can help me and my students in determining what concepts need further review and explanation, as well as a way for them to offer more input on their learning (as in what they want to learn, how they want to learn it, etc.). —Leo Garcia, Choirs/AP Music Theory/Music Appreciation Teacher, Seguin High School, Seguin ISD
The two courses of Blended Learning at UTeach at the University of Texas at Austin prepared me for virtual and face-to-face learning this year. The PD coursework saved me hours of preparation, so I can use my PLC time to keep developing more technology-integrated and engaging, inquiry-based lessons for my students. I learned more than I expected from these courses, and the benefits for me now teaching in the classroom and virtually shows through increased student engagement and a lot less stress for me. —Ingrid Martinez, High School Science Teacher, Palo Duro High School, Amarillo ISD
The knowledge gained through this course put some excitement in my teacher heart and my made my creative wheels turn, which is a welcome thing mid school year. When I first began the course, I will admit that I was a little overwhelmed and not sure that this would be information that I could utilize in my art classroom. After diving in and beginning to create and adapt the skills and knowledge provided, I am excited to continue to adjust the tools for my classroom. —Marissa Norsworthy, Art I and Drawing II, III, IV Teacher and Department. Chair, Tascosa High School, Amarillo ISD
Testimonials from administrators about the UTeach Blended Learning Course
After taking this course, I am convinced that blended learning must become part of every secondary educational program or school. One of my goals for blended learning is to create a classroom environment of collaboration and metacognitive skills as the norm through the use of playlists and station rotations. Students would be attentive and committed to the task at hand and fully engaged in learning. It may not be an overnight change; however, if some teachers begin to delve into areas of blended learning, it is a start to transformational learning. — Anna Rendon, Academic Coach (All Subject Areas), Lytle High School, Lytle ISD, Texas
We see so much value in both of these courses. They have allowed me to understand Blended Learning and to become more comfortable with exploring different options for implementation. Thank you for designing such a high-quality program. Since we see such merit in these courses, we are requiring all of our teachers to attend them and are offering it as an option for our aids. — Kendra Persohn, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Odyssey Academy, Galveston, Texas
This course is a 10. I have enjoyed the course and gained so much knowledge as well. It was a great course that integrated blended learning while teaching blended learning. The mixture of reading, being self-paced, and technology exposure was the perfect way to show us, as educators, that blended learning is possible in any environment. — Wanda Estes, Instructional Specialist, Magnolia ISD, Texas
As a district curriculum coordinator, I’m currently writing plans for 15k students, creating packets, and uploading lessons to digital platforms. I’m sure glad I got a bit of this front loaded by taking the [UTeach Blended Learning] course. — Samantha Holder, Elementary RLA Coordinator, Amarillo ISD
Blended learning allows student choice and voice, responds to data, and uses technology in a meaningful way. This course is designed to showcase how learners can intentionally, purposefully, and meaningfully integrate technology. I hope to incorporate more of this into the professional learning I design and facilitate. Thank you for all the support in this course. I am excited to see the impact that this course has with both adult and student learners. — Kerise Ridinger, Coordinator of Professional Learning in Lewisville ISD, Texas
Our teachers have really put into practice what they gained from your Blended Learning course. Because of this course, we had a lot of support within our staff to help transition to distance learning. — Luci Rodriguez, Principal, Welder Elementary School, Sinton ISD, Texas (Spring 2020)
Blended learning combines differentiated instruction and student engagement with the most influential motivator that we can provide today’s students — choice. — Chad Jones, Superintendent, Sinton ISD, Texas
I want to thank you and your team for the timely reminders and consistent encouragement and support. I know that my team truly appreciates it. This course is the first time that I have taken online modules where I truly felt like I gained so much from the other participants. Of course, that was through the deliberate design of the course, which I truly think is amazing. — Angela Garcia, Principal, Floresville Alternative Education Center, Floresville ISD, Texas [Principal Garcia took the course.]
The teachers have learned to incorporate online resources to enhance the learning and research practices that the students need to use. It has also made the teachers look more in-depth at the cognitive skills the students are lacking when using online resources when incorporating blended learning. . . . The STAAR scores have increased tremendously. — Nancy Gonzalez, Principal, Port Isabel Junior High, Port Isabel ISD, Texas
This [course] has energized and renewed my teachers' love of pedagogy and teaching. In turn, the students have also shown great enthusiasm for learning new ways of learning. — Dana Hamrick, Principal, Quitman High School, Quitman ISD, Texas
I have been an administrator for over 15 years and I have never experienced so much positive energy over any other type of PD. This course has staff excited about trying out different types of technology, differentiation strategies, and management tools. Teachers are visiting each other’s classroom, talking about station rotations, and providing staff development in the area of technology. As the principal, I have also been motivated to conduct my faculty meetings using a blended learning model. My goal is to run most of my beginning of the year PD using this model. This is my 33rd year in education and this is without a doubt the best professional development I’ve ever had. It makes me want to go back into the classroom and teach. I would be a much better teacher after completing this blended learning course. — Lori Trevino, Elementary School Principal, Sinton Elementary, Sinton ISD, Texas [Principal Trevino took the course.]
All of the feedback I have gotten [from the course] has been so positive. My teachers have already started implementing the things they have learned, and I'm looking forward to seeing the impact this has on our students. — Kerri Pierce, Principal, Vidor Middle School, Vidor ISD, Texas [Principal Pierce took the course.]
It is important that we are able to implement all types of styles for teaching to be able to reach all students. UTeach has been able to provide the necessary training to be able to reach the population that we serve. — David Gamboa, Weslaco East High School, Weslaco ISD, Texas
Testimonials from teachers in the UTeach Blended Learning Course
This school year will be a blended learning opportunity for all of us, and now, thanks to this course, we have the knowledge, tools, and resources to lead the way into the 21st century of education. This has been a career-altering experience for me. To know that there is a community of learners and educators that are successfully implementing this type of teaching model is so encouraging. The instructors and educators that were part of this course truly want what is best for the students of today. — Cassidy Beakley, 4th Grade Writing/Social Studies/STEM Teacher, Mesa Verde Elementary School, Amarillo ISD, Texas
This is my 25th year teaching and when it was announced that we had the opportunity to take this course, I jumped on it. Blended Learning takes the DOING away from me and puts the learning on them. I can’t wait to start next year fully immersing my class in the Blended Learning Model. — Lisa Shoemaker, English Language Arts Teacher at Crockett Middle School in Amarillo, Texas
I love this course! I've learned so very much and will definitely be using the things I learned in my classes! It's the BEST PD I've ever taken in more than 20 years. I also teach a dual credit English class at Galveston College and will be implementing what I’ve learned in this PD there as well. — Leslie Cappiello, Ph.D., Secondary English Teacher, Galveston Campus, Odyssey Academy, Inc.
It is, without question, the best training I’ve attended in my 30 years in education. I am excited to see how blended learning will enrich educational opportunities for my students. — Lori Cook, Special Education Teacher, Grand Prairie West, Advantage Academy, Grand Prairie, Texas
I really appreciate the Blended Learning course and the way it was taught. This couldn’t have come at a better time with our school moving [abruptly] to remote learning. I am excited to put what I learned to use and feel sorry for any teachers that have not had this course. — David Gibson, Machining Teacher, Caprock High School, Amarillo ISD (Spring 2020)
I may not always know the answers or the best thing to do for my students, but I will always try to learn something new to facilitate learning in my classroom. The opportunity afforded by this blended learning cohort has been a true asset and highlight of my ten years of teaching to date. — Mariela Sanchez, 4th-Grade English Language Arts & Reading Teacher, A.N. Rico Elementary, Weslaco ISD, Texas
I wanted to thank you for a wonderful and positive learning experience. The cohort provided me with valid information to support my goal in creating a blended learning environment for my students. Thank you for all of your support and guidance. Great Job!!!! — Marissa Mariscal, English Language Arts & Reading Teacher, Memorial Elementary, Weslaco ISD, Texas
Fact is, each kid is so different. Blended learning gives them the ability to CREATE and BE who they are as I create lifelong learners who collaborate in powerful ways in my classroom. Crazy thing, it isn’t students sitting in rows of lab stools. It is groups of students sitting on the back couch or in the hall or around the teacher lab table talking about the lab or the video or the lesson on viruses or cancer. It has been sharing of stories because my room became a safe place in the small group, where it was intimidating in the large group. The kids began asking each other instead of me . . . novel concept. The planning takes a bit more time, but in class . . . there is joy in learning again and joy in facilitating that learning. — Heather Blythe, Biology Teacher, Amarillo High School, Amarillo ISD, Texas [See more about Heather's experience in her Capstone reflection.]
The blended learning series has been more beneficial to my teaching than I could ever imagine. I began this course with the idea that I could gain knowledge to increase the rigor in my classroom while continuing my lifelong journey of learning how to become the best teacher I could be. I have truly been given so much more than I expected. Not only has the blended learning series increased my knowledge of technology use and classroom differentiation, it has completely changed my outlook on how learning in my classroom should look. I can’t say enough about how the series has improved my teaching strategies. — Tara Bishop, Grades 9-12th Science Teacher, Lamar High School, Arlington ISD, Texas [See more about Tara's experience in her Capstone reflection.]
What I feel will be the biggest change for me and the students is [that] I will be asking students take part in the lesson planning—getting their input on how we as a class could research and/or discuss a topic, as well as how to demonstrate learning of the material. There are many other blended techniques I was made aware of that I hope to also incorporate more of in the future as a result of this course. All in all, I feel this course has helped me grow as a teacher and has given me more tools to work with to help more of my students demonstrate their learning and succeed. — Melissa M. Williams, Ph.D., Chemistry Level Lead, IB, AP, and PAP Chemistry Teacher, Lamar High School, Arlington ISD, Texas
One aspect of blended learning that I was surprised about is the flexibility it provides to teachers and students. I think this is my heart as a teacher! I like having flexibility and I feel like what I’ve learned about blended learning allows me to now provide that same flexibility in learning for my students. This is something that has always been in the back of my mind, but I wasn’t completely sure how to make it a reality in my classroom. Blended learning has given me the vision for this. I find myself constantly thinking as I prep for lessons, “How can I make this a blended learning activity?” I absolutely love it and it has renewed my excitement for teaching. — Lana Taylor, Grades 9-12 Social Studies, AIM Center High School, Vidor ISD, Texas
I don’t know what the future holds for my students' success, but I can move forward with optimism for my effectiveness as a teacher. I have learned so much from the Blended Learning course, both about how my students can be successful and [about] the role I can play in that success. I feel confident in my ability to empower my students with the skills to take ownership of their learning, and to become an active participant in the planning process. I’d like to take a moment to say “thank you” for your help and encouragement during this process. Coming from the “old way,” I’ve definitely had my own learning curve to master, and I appreciate this opportunity that I’ve been given to become a greater asset to my students. — Stacy Chandler, High School Science Teacher, Vidor High School, Vidor ISD, Texas [See more about Stacy's experience in her Capstone reflection.]
Never in my life have I dealt with a more pleasant group of course administrators and I thank you for it. This course has been so helpful and I have truly taken a bunch of stuff back to my classroom as a result. — Christopher Ybarra, Teacher, Grades 9-12 Science Teacher, Vidor High School, Vidor ISD, Texas
Anonymous comments from end-of-course surveys
This is probably the best online course/professional development opportunity I have participated in since I began in education 18 years ago. Great course!
In my opinion, the UTeach [course] has been a game changer for me and for my students. I appreciate the flexibility this course and the professors have offered. They really understand that all educators are busy.
I cannot think of any changes needed. The pacing is very well defined, and the amount of work per module is very balanced. I love that the instructor gives feedback — and she is so quick in giving it. That is tough to do! I appreciate the flexible due dates. My goal was to stay on track, but we are all busy educators and when I fell a little behind, it was nice to know it was understood. The content is amazing and I appreciate that the assignments are assessed on how I am using the knowledge to grow as opposed to being a great student, etc.