Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace.
What do you notice about the implementation procedures?
What was consistent across successful pilots?
What can YOU learn from these pilots?
How can this be useful in your classroom?
1. Explore the methodology as an instructional shift in your own teaching and think about how we could be leveraging these tools, this access, and more to give teachers the gift of time and to empower students with the tools they need to explore and push.
The power of blended learning enables teachers to no longer spend time repeating the same low-level concepts, if the computer can assist in said repetition. Moreover, this means that time spent on low-level processes will not outweigh the time spent on higher level thinking skills. If students chose not to complete the low-level tasks, time spent continuously remediating those processes might not be necessary if they are mastering higher levels, or dare I say it makes missing homework assignments less of a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Technology and its associated tools obviously motivate and may require less time managing student behavior.
Also, the Internet allows for limitless exploration (but how do we push the students to this level of sheer exploration? How do we avoid the desire to copy and paste?) Technology can assist in grading and feedback just as peers can assist in lower level feedback and assistance in cooperative grouping. However, empowering students is not an easy task, especially to the student who desires to be lead through a course. To explore or push oneself requires personal interest or stake in the content, which may be difficult to come by (How do you make students realize the relevance of a content area? How do you make all content relevant? )
2. Write a reflection of your overall impressions, what you came away with, and what you want to know more about (as this will drive your inquiry for the next assignment)
I want to know more about the actual technology tools and resources available. Many resources claimed that blended learning provided immediate feedback, but through what tool or device? Additionally, many of the examples centered on math and science content areas where the objective material can be quickly assessed and graded. How can technology can incorporated in a blended learning setting to improve writing? Moreover, on the individual level component of the blended learning rotation, many of the students were given the opportunity to play games. What if “games” do not seamlessly fit into the content area?
3. Dust off your educational philosophy. Is it still how you feel? If so, how can the blending of instruction, assessment, data, and student autonomy live within this space.
My current education philosophy is a much more holistic view of the student in terms of teaching. As I continue to become a more experienced teacher, I will admit that my philosophy is much easier said then done. Many of the pitfalls occur where district policy or the metaphorical red tape gets involved. It is difficult for me to look at my current education policy without feeling a little jaded. I would agree that blended learning does fit in nicely with my current philosophy because it is so focused on the individual student as a whole. Becoming the young men and women they were meant to be, means treating each student as they were their own person and not simply a part of a whole class. Blended learning allows for this to be done more seamlessly and with real-time feedback and results.
4. Answer the question, "What if?" Open ended. With an eye towards utopian instruction, Dream big.
What if every student came into class with the desire to learn something they never knew before about themselves, about each other, about the world around them, or about life?