In this episode, I interview Jason Appel, a Math Teacher / Technology Integration Fellow at Barrington High School in Rhode Island. He talks about what effective blended learning means and how it can be scaled to other instructors and administrators across the state.
Jason Appel is a math teacher and Technology Integration Fellow at Barrington High School in Barrington, RI, with eighteen years of middle and high school teaching experience in Rhode Island and New York City.
Jason actively leverages the EdTech boom to fuel his love of technology and his passion for innovation. As a Fuse RI Fellow for the Highlander Institute, his goal is to make as many people as possible say, “Wow, that is really cool…and it is going to make my classroom experience better for my students.”
(02:21) Jason’s background
(03:12) So what’s your parents’ background? Were they teachers as well? I’m always curious as to the origin story of how you got into, where your passion came from for education.
(04:33) There seems to be, in many of the educators and entrepreneurs and high achievers that I speak to, there seems to be one or two key teachers or mentors that they had in their lives. I wonder if you can point to that. Was there anybody who helped to shape that mentality and who you are?
(05:47) One of the things that I noticed in doing my due diligence before this call was on the FUSE RI website where your profile has this ninja power on it. You have “the ability to turn technophobes into technophiles in a single meeting.” Can you tell us about that?
(07:21) What are some of the key things to help make it make sense for somebody who may not understand or is trying to learn but just doesn’t even know how to start?
(08:18) My gut tells me that you don’t have to do a lot of that sort of work to your students, I assume that a lot of them are tech savvy, they’re digital natives. But maybe a lot of your colleagues, or administrators you work probably need that sort of perspective and help with that sort of stuff. Would you agree?
(10:17) You talked about your background as a teacher, you’re obviously a technology enthusiast, technology integration enthusiast when it comes to blended learning and effective blended learning. What do you believe is effective blended learning?
(11:19) What do most schools or teachers get wrong? When they are implementing blended learning they have the right intentions but they’re applying it in the wrong way. Are there one or two maybe typical things that you go, “Oh man, you shouldn’t do it that way?”
(12:56) Is that the implementation design from the get-go or did it just kind of happened in progression?
(13:25) Let’s dive into what you described as far as effective blended learning and what not to do. Can you talk about your experience now that you’re a FUSE RI fellow?
(16:23) I would like to dive into the data that you were just talking about there. Obviously one of the advantage is being able to utilize data to inform movements and revisions on models to target interventions in the right manner data How often do you look at the data and make changes?
(17:53) You’re obviously somebody who is passionate about this model and what you do and how you’re able to shape your students into being successful in the classroom and successful citizens as they go out of the classroom. In your work now as a FUSE fellow, how does your work as an instructor in the classroom how does that transcend as you’re now training others, they may have different backgrounds and different styles for going abut this?
(19:54) Just focusing on the benefits and the value of using blended learning in the right way gets over those initial barriers that somebody may have in learning something new.
(20:31) Rhode Island is such an amazing kind of place because it’s such a small tight-knit community and we have people like you in this FUSE program. I wonder if teacher engagement is like it is at any other state because of this kind of system or environment?
(21:41) What gets you most excited about the future of learning?
(23:03) What gets you most frustrated about the future of learning?
(23:55) Do you have a favorite book that you’ve read, and why?
(24:42) What about documentaries, do you watch them? And if so, do you have a favorite?
(25:00) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?