Go Bold School: Old School + Blended Learning

A conversation with Weston Kieschnick on episode 96 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Weston Kieschnick @wes_kieschnick helps us how to go bold school with blended learning. Old school plus blended learning = bold school. Check the show notes for the book giveaway.

go bold school weston kieschnick

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In today’s show, Weston Kieschnick talks about blended learning and old school teaching:

  • The old school wisdom we should hold onto
  • What to improve
  • Teacher fear about being made to do things that don’t work
  • The mistake of “one size fits all” edicts
  • A bold school pep talk

I hope you enjoy this episode with Weston Kieschnick!

Want to hear another episode on getting motivated to reach students? Listen to Jennifer Cronk talk about motivating special needs breakthroughs.

Selected Links from this Episode

Bold School by Weston Kieschnick Book Giveaway

Full Bio As Submitted

Weston Weston KieschnickKieschnick

Weston Kieschnick is a Senior Fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education. His thought leadership around blended pedagogy has been published in Education Week, Ed-Tech Magazine, and The Learning Transformation: A Guide to Blended Learning for Administrators. He also created and hosts Teaching Keating, an acclaimed podcast where pop-culture and pedagogy collide.

Mr. Kieschnick has worked with teachers and school leaders from every state in the US and more than 30 countries around the world. Districts, where Weston provides keynotes, teacher development, and coaching, have been recognized among the top ten in the country for their work in educational technology. During his tenure in education, Weston has served as an award-winning Teacher, Assistant Principal, and District Level Administrator. Weston resides in Colorado with his wife Molly and his children, Everett and Charlotte.

Transcript for this episode


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[Recording starts 0:00:00]

To celebrate the end of the first season of the Ten Minute Teacher Podcast on June 16th, we’re running a giveaway. The Dash and Dot robot wonder pack from Wonder Workshop Stay tuned at the end of the show for how to enter.

Blended learning in the bold school. This is Episode 96.

The Ten-minute Teacher podcast with Vicki Davis. Every week day you’ll learn powerful practical ways to be a more remarkable teacher today.

VICKI:   Happy Motivational Monday. Today we want to be motivated to have a bold school especially as it relates to blended learning. Now, we’re going to be giving away a book from our author today, Weston Kieschnick, @wes_kieschnick

who has written a book called Bold School. http://amzn.to/2rniSLJ Weston, how can we motivate ourselves to be more bold and how does it related to blended learning?

WESTON:    The iteration of bold school – bold is just a mash-up of the words, blended and old. So my goal in writing Bold School was to inspire teachers to bring their old school wisdom around teaching and learning into the blended learning equation. So often, there are so many teachers out there who are fearful about blended learning and that’s understandable because so many of them fear that the arrival of technology represents the departure of everything they love about teaching and learning.

And the whole idea behind being a bold school teacher and be in bold school is to continue to infuse those things that have always worked about teaching and learning and to bring those into the equation so we’re not just creating all of these isolated sort of flip learning and station rotation drones, but that teachers can hold on to their identity and who they are the great things they love about working with kids while they infuse technology to make their instruction more effective and efficient than it’s ever been before.


VICKI:          Okay. So what’s the old school wisdom we hold on to?

WESTON:    All those things that work with kids, right? And so I think really often about one of my colleagues who I caught with just starting out and he was a history teacher exactly like I was and he was one of those history teaches who could absolutely us stand in front of the classroom, talk about history and make it come alive. He was incredible at direct instruction and at lecturing. And I think about him a lot in the blended space because I know he would be one of those folks who would be resistant to technology and flipping his classroom or station rotation because he would fear it would take away from the things that he knows work with his kids.

What he know is that direct instruction has an effect size of 0.57. (Editor’s note, it looks like the new list has it at .60 see http://ift.tt/2lIKhFK ) It is a high effect size instructional strategy, let’s not take it away from teachers, let’s figure out how to infuse back channels. Things like Todaysmeet, https://todaysmeet.com/  things like Twitter www.twitter.com  Let’s figure out how to infuse formative assessment tools, things like Kahoot www.getkahoot.com  and Google Forms forms.google.com  to elevate a teacher like that. I want to encourage teachers to double and triple down on the things that they do best as long as they are high effect size. And we know that they work with kids, let’s use technology to double and triple down on those things and make them better than they were before. That’s bold school, that’s capitalizing on things that are old school, things like lecturing and direct instruction to make sure that they don’t get lost and that the baby doesn’t get thrown out with the bath water.

VICKI:          So Weston you’re saying that if something works, mess with it, but mess with it to make it better. Is that what you’re saying?

WESTON:    That’s exactly what I’m saying. Let’s not ditch the things that work. Let’s not ditch the things that work just by virtue of the fact that they’re old and we’ve done them for a long time. Okay, now, let’s switch to something that’s completely new and unproven. Let’s figure out how to utilize technology as a tool to make our strategies better. And I think that’s been a point of confusion for so many teachers in the blended space. They look at technology as though it’s the strategy. It’s not.


                    Our strategies are the things that we’ve been doing in classroom often at times since the dawn on the one-room school house. Now, is everything that we’ve done since the dawn of the one-room school house really good? No, of course not. But there are things that we’ve done for a long time for a reason, because they work. And so no the challenge is to figure out how to infuse technology to make those practices even better than they were before.

VICKI:          You know, and the other thing that sometimes we ignore in the research is, for example, I may be horrible at direct instruction and you maybe great at it. So just because overall it’s a great strategy for many people doesn’t necessarily mean it plays to my own strength.

WESTON:    Correct.

VICKI:          So don’t we have to try to look at it? Some people may do well with the back channel, some may not. But don’t we really kind to have of tune in to are students learning and the data of their learning and that sort of thing. But is this working? We’re talking about what works, not making people do what doesn’t, right?

WESTON:    Exactly. And so often, a lot of our teachers are so fearful of being made to do things that don’t work especially when they’ve had success up to this point. And so that’s exactly the kind of mentality we’re trying to capitalize on. So one of the examples that I give in the book is like you wouldn’t take a high school kid who is 5ft 7inc and runs a 4,440 and is just like an unbelievable football player and then all of a sudden try to turn that kid into a college basketball player. Like, no, you want to capitalize on his strengths to make him the best college football player he can be. Now, we’re not going to take a teacher who’s incredible at Socratic seminar and loves it and now try to take this teacher and say, okay, ditch that even though you’ve been hyper successful with it, now, let’s make you the master of station rotation. Like, no, let’s bring that old-school wisdom into the equation and show this teacher how to be effective. But to your point, Vicki, only if it is their gift and only if that particular strategy has a high effect size that we know through formative assessment works with kids.


VICKI:          But sometimes administrators or people have a one size fits all and say, “All my teachers are going to do it this way because this way works.”

WESTON:    You’re 100% right. And it’s so bizarre because the genesis of blended learning was all about providing personalized learning experiences for kids and yet we’re trying to take our teachers and fit them into this one size fits all approach of like, you know I used the phrase like blended learning and station rotations – again, those are great tools and great strategies but at the same time is that what we want for all of our teachers? No. Let’s personalize to meet our teachers where they are relative to their expertise, relative to their wisdom so they can still be at their best for kids.

And that’s what the book is all about. And you’ll see a bunch of examples in the book where we match high effects size instructional strategies. We have a list of them 13 of them and then we show examples. Things that we’ve seen actually in classrooms, when I’ve been around coaching in the 1000 of rooms I’ve been in to say, “Hey, here’s how a teacher takes reciprocal teaching and melts that with these tools to be incredible on the classroom and here’s what he scenario looks like.” And that’s the part that gets me really excited because so often for teachers – and you know this to be true, Vicki, it’s about them being able to see what it actually looks like before they get an understanding. And my hope is that that’s what the book accomplishes.

VICKI:          So Weston, as we finish up, give us a one-minute bold school pep talk so that we can be bold-school.

WESTON:    Step number one to becoming bold-school is heading off this question and this problem at the past. So often what happens with teachers is Chromebooks will arrive in our schools and arrive in our classrooms and we will stop and we will ask ourselves, okay, what am I going to do with Chromebooks today? And that is the moment where blended learning falls apart because, then, it becomes all about the tool. If you want to be bold-school, approach your design methodology through this framework.


                    Step number one, the first thing that we have to do is the thing that we’ve always done, identify our academic outcomes. What is our learning outcome for the day? Step number two is identify the instructional strategy that will allow us to accomplish that objective, that will allow us to cultivate those stills in kids. And then step number three is to ask ourselves, what digital tool will elevate the instructional strategy so then I could meet that academic outcome that we talked about in step one.

And then last but not least, we have to apply a sound instructional framework to figure out whether or not the things that we’re doing with kids are actually any good, whether it’s the SAMR model http://ift.tt/19ymn1L or the  Rigor Relevance Framework http://ift.tt/1mQLaF0 we got to be able to take a good long hard look to say, hey, you know what, what I’m doing falls in Quad D what I’m doing is redefining teaching and learning in the blended space so that if they are, we can replicate those things and if they’re not we can enhance them and make them better.

VICKI:          I just want to go, okay, it all makes sense because all these years’ people want to talk about Ed tech integration. To me it’s like, okay, let’s just talk good teaching, forget technology. It’s just about great teaching and this is just another one of our tools that we have and we should use it because it’s so powerful, it lets us do stuff we can’t do on paper, it lets us do stuff we can’t do other ways. So the book is Bold School. Check out the website for how you can enter to win the book and follow all the resources. Weston Kieschnick has lots of exciting things going on this summer. So take a look and I hope this summer you’ll become more bold school, and I hope I will too.

WESTON:    Thanks so much, Vicki.

VICKI:          On June 16th we’ll finish up Season 1 of the 10 Minute Teacher. So celebrate, we’ve partnered with one of my favorite robots for teaching coding, Dash and Dot form Wonder Workshop. Go to coolcat.com/wonder and enter to win your very own Wonder pack form Wonder workshop and to learn more about how you can use Dash and Dot to teach programming to kids, aged, kindergarten and up.

Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at http://ift.tt/2quX4Nu. Never stop learning.


[End of Audio 0:10:15]


[Transcription created by tranzify.com. Some additional editing has been done to add grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Every attempt has been made to correct spelling. For permissions, please email lisa@coolcatteacher.com]


The post Go Bold School: Old School + Blended Learning appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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