FCS: Online Integration & Management

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6.1 Online Integration and Management in Family and Consumer Sciences

Integration is at the very heart of blended teaching.  It has to do with how you combine your in-person FCS classroom with online activities (remember the baker mixing dry and wet ingredients from Chapter 1). Because the main component of blended learning is integrating online and in-person activities, online integration is a good place to begin thinking about blending your classroom.  

This is where you as a FCS teacher can consider what specific online practices can help you address the problems of practice you identified in Chapter 4–1. The more examples of blended teaching you have personally seen and the more experience you have with online teaching, the easier this process will be for you. But even if you are just starting out, you will probably have a few ideas of your own. This chapter will help you explore more ideas.

Although blended teaching can seem overwhelming, experienced blended teachers say that the best way to go about this process of starting to blend is to think big but start small.  Small beginnings allow you to wet your toes in the process, focus on specific pedagogies and activities, see the benefits and drawbacks, and make improvements on a small scale without becoming overwhelmed by the process.

6.2 Planning for Integration

You can take that first small step by doing the following:

1. Identify the problem of practice and the learning objective that you are interested in blending.

In this video Heather Ostler explains how Blended Learning helps her to meet the goal of creating student independence.

Creating Student Independance–Heather Ostler (2:00) 

Natlie Wilson uses Blended Learning to prepare students for cooking labs and to support them when they miss a lab. 

Using Online Activities to Prepare for a Lab–Natalie Wilson (1:49) 

2. Think about activities, both in-person and online, that could support the student learning. A framework for this process is to:

a. Think about activities that involve students interacting independently with content, 

b. Think about activities that involve students interacting primarily with each other, and 

c. Think about activities that might involve interaction with an instructor.

In this video Mary Alice McCarlie explains how she determines what activities to put online.

Determining What Activites to Put Online–Mary Alice McCarlie (1:38) 

3. Consider how the online activities and the in-person activities can connect.

4. Choose one of the activities you have considered and create a blended lesson. 

In this video Marianne Beck explains why her sewing students learn content online and practice in person versus why her design students learn content in person and then apply them online.

Online Itegration–Marianne Beck (1:54) 

See the example below in Table 1 for how this process might work. The teacher in this example explores several activities that could be blended. You have a similar chart in your Blended Teaching Notebook. 

A teacher might identify the problem of practice: I want my students to be more precise and careful when reading and following a recipe or sewing pattern. The learning objective states: “Students will independently take measurements, determine pattern size and make pattern alterations.”

Here are some ways she could combine online and in-person activities.

Table 1

Planning for Online Integration: Student-Content Interactions

Student-Content Interactions

Online Activities: 

  1. Provide students with the back of a pattern envelope to read, students use Draw It (a annotation tool) to determine the correct pattern size based on measurements and finished piece measurements. Use one color of text or drawing for finished pattern sizes and another color for measurement sizes. That shows evidence as to why the pattern size was chosen.

  2. The student will create a document starting with one paragraph identifying the importance of ease in the pattern and its effect on the finished piece. (wearing ease, design ease, layering ease, & negative ease) They may continue to add information including images about what they are learning and how they are demonstrating their learning during the sewing process.

In-person Activities:
  1. Students practice pattern layout on fabric and cut pattern pieces using appropriate marking techniques.
Connection: The students will use the size and measurements to cut the correct pattern size and connect the importance of ease in the pattern on the finished product.

Table 2

Planning for Online Integration: Student-Student Interactions

Student–Student Interactions

Online Activities:
  1. In an online discussion, students are able to ask questions of one another about challenges with the sewing process including pattern layout, cutting, marking, and sewing their projects.
  2. Students will be put into groups and will give appropriate feedback on the Google Doc of the people in their group throughout the project.
In-person Activities:
  1. Students ask questions of one another in person while working on their projects.
  2. The students will meet in person after they have all completed their projects to share.
Connection: The questions and support students provide for one another will lead to sewing projects they can all be proud of.

Table 3

Planning for Online Integration: Student-Instructor Interactions

Student–Instructor Interactions

Online Activities:
  1. The teacher will leave feedback on the discussion board and in the students’ google docs.
  2. The teacher will give feedback on the complete sewing project document once it is complete.
In-person Activities:
  1. The teacher will meet briefly in person with each group to answer questions and to assess progress.
Connection: The teacher will respond online to the discussions and will be available in person while students work. She will use what she learned from their discussion board and docs to guide her in-person meeting and to later give online feedback.

In your workbook, using one of your problems of practice, fill out the Planning for Online Integration table.

If you haven't already opened and saved your workbook, you can access it here.

6.3 Selecting a Blended Teaching Model

Once you have chosen an activity or activities to blend, consider which blended teaching model best fits the activity. (For a review of blended teaching models, see Chapter 2: Online Integration in K-12 Blended Teaching: A Guide to Personalized Learning and Online Integration.) 

In a FCS classroom a flipped model may take the form of students learning content and skills by viewing slides, digital documents, or tutorial videos and then demonstrating what they have learned through an in-person sewing, design, or cooking project. 

A station/lab rotation model could take the form of students moving between kitchens and digital stations. Kitchen stations might focus on different commercial kitchens including hot food, garde-manger, bakery & pastry or different positions including head chef, sous chef, line cook etc. In digital stations students might research and select recipes online or document learning outcomes their group has accomplished.

In this video, Mary Alice McCarlie explains how she determines what model to use in the different classes that she teaches.

Selecting a Blended Teaching Model–Mary Alice McCarlie (1:54) 

6.4 Deciding What To Do In-person in an FCS Classroom

Blended learning is the strategic combination of online and in-person modalities. But how do teachers decide which activities to do online and which to do in person? 

One way to begin answering the question of what can be done most effectively in person is to look at your strengths as a teacher, the needs of your students, and the types of activities that lend themselves to the best use of the in-person space and labs.

For example, students may be working (collaboratively or alone) on a sewing project. You want to do this in person because you know they will have many specific, unique questions. Since you have posted tutorials online in your learning management system, you may recommend students look there first. This will free you up to answer more difficult questions and check progress and key points in the process. This creates a learning environment where students can get answers in the moment that they come up and prevents students from getting stalled in the process and keeps energy high. It also helps assure that students don’t have to back up and redo work. 

Similarly, you may want to begin a discussion in person. You want students to get excited about the topic and begin thinking about the possibilities of the discussion. Once they’ve had this beginning, they may be more ready to participate in an online discussion. 

Perhaps you are good at bread making, and your students enjoy seeing you demonstrate kneading. You might want to introduce this new skill in person so that you can point out how the dough should look and feel and allow students to see and feel it in person. 

Discussions of goals and progress may be activities that work best in the in-person space. 

Know yourself, your students, and your subject matter well enough to determine what you want to preserve for the in-person space. 

Once you know how you can best use the in-person space, you can begin to explore ways to use the online space to allow the kinds of activities you want in the in-person space, to best use the affordances of the online space, and to make meaningful connections between the two modalities. Answers to the following questions may help you decide. 

In this video Megan Wakefield explains how she decides if an activity should be online or in person.

Blending Instruction–Megan Wakefield (3:37) 

6.5 Evaluating Blended Activities

Blended learning is not just about using technology in the classroom. It is about strategically combining technology with in person activities to improve pedagogy and student outcomes.

Review Chapter 3: Evaluating Blended Teaching for guidance in how to evaluate the blend you have created. 

In addition, the PIC-RAT framework provides a means of evaluating your use of technology to see if it is adding value to your classroom. It helps you evaluate students’ relationship to technology as well as its impact on traditional practices.

For a complete explanation of the PIC-RAT framework, See 2.3.1 "The RAT Framework," 2.3.2 "Blended Activities that Engage (The PIC Framework)," and 2.3.3 "An Evaluative Framework for Blended Teaching" in Chapter 2 "Online Integration" of K-12 Blended Teaching: A Guide to Personalized Learning and Online Integration.

6.6 Planning Blended Routines and Behaviors

Establishing routines in a blended classroom is crucial. Helping students understand when and how to move around the classroom, how to access an LMS or other online programs, how to log in and out, where and how to store hardware, how to communicate civilly and respectfully, and how to turn in assignments is essential to creating a usable blend. In addition, making plans for how to manage off task behavior can prepare you for situations that are sure to arise. 

Process for Implementing Routines in a Blended Classroom:

  1. Decide specifically the kinds of behavior and routines you want to put in place.
  2. Spend the first two or three weeks really drilling and practicing those routines. 
  3. Set clear expectations.
  4. Decide what you will do to help students who have a difficult time meeting the expectations. How will you respond to them?
  5. Evaluate your plan and make adjustments as needed. 

In this video Megan Wakefield explains the additional classroom management principles she needs to be mindful of in a blended classroom.

Establishing Blended Routines–Megan Wakefield (4:20) 

Here Heather Ostler also explains the importance of establishing Routines.

Establishing Routines–Heather Ostler (2:55) 

In Table 2 below your mentor teachers share tips they have learned and implemented that have helped them establish routines to manage their classrooms. As you read through them, think of your classroom. Are any of these tips appropriate for your setting? What ideas come to mind of ways you can effectively manage your own classroom?

Table 4

Blended Learning Routines

Blended Learning Routines—Teacher Tips

Student Movement
  • Will you have activities that require the movement of students (such as in a station or lab rotation).
    • Will students be moving all at the same time?
    • At different times?
    • Plan an efficient way to facilitate those movements.
  • I have my students do three things when they coming class:
    • Open their grading portal and check their grades.
    • Open their email.
    • Open the class website to see if there are any new posts.
  • Be very clear. Make few rules but enforce them well.
Hardware Management
  • Don’t waste time plugging in computers between periods. Make sure they’re plugged in at the end of the day. 
  • Use of cell phones (some teachers collect them so they don’t have them in class; others let them use them for assignments) Keeping Chromebooks or other hardware charged (if devices are kept in the classroom; students don’t take them home).
  • Establish a routine for making sure computers are plugged into the right charging station.
  • Create checklists.
  • Make assignments.
    • Make sure computers are plugged in and charging.
    • Sanitizing computers.
    • Keeping a log of damages or problems.
  • Assign specific computers to specific desks or specific students; this increases accountability.
  • Teach how to hold and carry devices; practice.
Software Management
  • Teach how to turn on the computer, log in, and access the internet.
  • Practice using the LMS, opening it, finding assignments, checking grades, submitting assignments, etc. 
  • If you have specific formats you want students to use when submitting assignments, teach them what they are.
  • Create checklists.
  • Teach how to download, upload, and organize files.
  • Have the students practice everything you teach.
Student Questions
  • Teach them where to find answers before they ask you.
  • Establish specific ways to contact you outside of class and how to address you politely. 
  • Teach how to use email.
  • Establish “expert” students that other students can turn to help.
  • Create instructional videos or review pages students can access when they have common questions.
Classroom Configuration
  • Decide what kinds of activities you do in your classroom. Are there classroom configurations that will support those activities? For example:
    • Create a comfortable reading space.
    • Create a space for collaboration, where students can talk together.
    • Create a quiet space for writing or other thoughtful activities.
    • Do you have fewer than 1-to-1 devices? If so, create a space for working on computers.
Off-task Behavior
  • Use software that allows you to monitor what is on the screen of each student. 
  • Teach them to monitor themselves.
  • Sometimes if I have problems with students straying away from what we’re doing on their computers, we shut down the computers and use paper again for a day.
  • Even good students can get off task. I try to always walk around the classroom, both to be available for help and to give quiet reminders to stay on task.
  • Utilize your LMS or other software to keep track of online behavior.
  • I have a table by my desk. If there is a student who is really having a difficult time staying on task, I place him or her on that table away from the other students and monitor that student more closely.
  • Discussing principles of Digital Citizenship such as password management, online privacy and safety.
  • Help students develop time management skills, so that they use their time as efficiently as possible.
FCS teachers say they typically spend two to three weeks at the beginning of the year establishing routines and expectations and teaching students how to use the technology. But, they say, it pays off in the long run with a smooth running class and increased opportunities for interaction and personalization—all of which they see as positives in their blended classroom.

Previous Citation(s)
, , , , & (2021). K-12 Blended Teaching (Vol 2): A Guide to Practice Within the Disciplines, 2. EdTech Books. https://edtechbooks.org/-QNCX

This content is provided to you freely by BYU Open Learning Network.

Access it online or download it at https://open.byu.edu/k12blended_facs/ela_olimNSG.