The impacts of blending the high school advanced placement chemistry classroom on student engagement and performance
Owen, Jennifer Marie
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A blended classroom is a new take on traditional education, implemented to support today's learner. It involves the incorporation of technology, personalization, and flexibility. Blended learning is quickly catching on as a best practice in the traditional face-to-face classroom. While individuals have a difficult time settling on one definition for blended learning, it can be summarized by saying that the traditional classroom gains flexibility in pace and adds technology-based resources to supplement and enhance what the teacher is already doing. These additions free up the teacher time so that the instructor can participate in more individual and smaller group remediation and extension. This project arose when it became apparent that students in my traditional Advanced Placement Chemistry course needed more time for application and practice and less time writing notes through direct instruction. The purpose was to make learning more student-centered through the introduction of varied resources that would be accessible to students when they were ready for them. The implementation of technology-based resources was used to enhance instruction where needed and was never intended to completely replace traditional instruction. Resources and flexibility were systematically introduced to students. We began as a group by participating in a new warm-up method. I introduced students to Pearson's Mastering Chemistry program for homework that provided them with hints and instant scoring and feedback. I provided students with online flash cards that included important terms and formulas for the unit. I also introduced various videos, graphics, and interactive resources to help promote student engagement and performance on assessment. During the treatment period students became more engaged in their learning and moved beyond procedural questions to deeper application questions. Students also made deeper connections to the content and gained confidence in their chemistry skills. This study showed that students maintained a high level of achievement on summative assessments even as the content became more challenging. Students survey results also showed that students felt more prepared to perform at a qualified level on the AP chemistry exam.