2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Walk with Blended Learning: Community Service

This morning I ran almost seven miles in Sand Run Metropark.  It was beautiful, hilly, and fast.

This morning I saw eight deer.

I'm not going to write about those experiences.

This morning I joined some of my students to participate in the Medina Walk out of the Darkness Suicide Awareness Event.  A large crowd showed up at 9 am on a chilly but sunny morning to walk 4.5 miles.  That crowd raised over nine thousand dollars, and my students were a part of it.

Part of the philosophy that I embrace about Blended Learning is that it facilitates community involvement.  I want my students to strive to be good citizens of their school, their community, their state, their country, and their world.  Students in my Blended Rhetoric and Composition class chose to fight back against suicide, a heart-breakingly relevent issue in our community.  What I had originally imagined to be a quick project in making videos turned into a large-scale community outreach complete with publicity, fund-raising, donations, interviews, research, and lots of writing.  Click here to see the video my students created to Stomp out Suicide.

Our walk today was a way for us to process everything the students have accomplished this year and to reflect on their involvement in the community and their year in Blended Learning.  I try not to always lead the class; I want them to lead themselves, each other, and me.  It was in this spirit that I encouraged my students to lead the way on the walk.  As they talked, I listened.

The students talked and laughed about Prom.  They poked fun at each other and at me.  Then, as often happens on walks or runs, they got serious.  One student told me why she was glad that she took my course.  She told me that she learned how to be more independent and responsible.  She said she learned to enjoy literature.  Another told me that she felt that our class had bonded more than any of her other classes at the school.

Every one of those students told me that they were so glad to get up and walk together in the sunshine at nine in the morning.


It was perfect.



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