Answer the following Question:
Blended Learning __________________.a) Uses technology as an part of the classroom learning, and not a support method. b) May use web 2.0 applications such as cell phones, video conferencing and satellite television. c) Is NOT a traditional classroom setting with the teacher as a lecturer in the front of rows of arranged desks. d) Is a teaching/learning environment using multiple methods: students in small groups discussing; students doing research with ipads or computers; and teachers are circulating helping to guide and solve problems. e) Is an excellent opportunity for differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners. f) Is all the above.
What was your answer? All of the above? Is this the picture you see when you go into classrooms? Is this the experience your child has at school? Is this the experience you want your child to have at school?
- What if . . . we used integrated components to effect learning?
- Chemistry learned from the practical application of cooking. Learn how to make an emulsion. Measure. Learn about volume. Which liquid is the most viscous? Why? What does heat do to various food?
- Spatial relationships through dance. Fractions through music. The Rubik’s cube to learn patterns and algorithms.
- The effects of color and light. design. Robotics. Engineering-how do you make something? Will it work and why? Structure?
- Feedback. Self-assessment and peer assessment.
- Interact with technology. Research. Ask questions. Inquiry.
- Ask a complex question and do research to discover the answer.
In our world today, many ask questions and they avoid the answers. Is this the model we want for our children? It is very important to answer the question.
These ideas sound great, but the truth is many teachers are not ready or prepared to transition into a student centered classroom where the teacher is the facilitator and learning incorporates technology as an integral part of the instruction. Teachers need training in technology and all of its applications. And, this training needs updating often. In addition, teachers need help. They need a special program director or teacher on special assignment who can review all the applications and technology. This person can help with the integration of disciplines into the curriculum. This is very important to the idea of blended learning as a success story. Teachers have a lot to do, more all the time. So yes, the public has to ante up with the funds needed to carry out this type of instruction. It becomes easier the more someone does it. It takes adjustment to get used to a new way of doing things, and yes to CHANGE.
The term Blended Learning is somewhat vague and describes a lot of things. For example, one describes the mixing of any two strategies or components as “blended.” I define it very clearly here. A blended learning classroom enhances the opportunities for students to go at their own pace, to accommodate specific learning styles, and to become life long learners.