Blended learning has become a useful teaching technique. It’s a way of combining online tools and learning with the traditional classroom experience. With today’s students entering schools already savvy about online technologies, it makes sense to take advantage of these skill sets and build upon them in the classroom.
There are three key components to Blended Learning. They are in-person education, online components that support what was taught in the classroom, and independent study time for students to synthesize what they have learned in both the previous modules.
Fully online courses have gained popularity at the collegiate level of education. However, these online courses do lack what students K-12 still need to develop their skills across the subjects and curriculum - in-person instruction where a teacher facilities the lesson and is present to guide students. Blended Learning includes this as a key component to a student’s overall education. The teacher is the most valuable resource and the importance of the student/teacher relationship is the starting point for any independent work the students may continue to do in the lesson. The teacher’s role is to empower students with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to progress to the online portion of the lesson.
After preparing the students with basic skills and knowledge, Blended Learning suggests online content. Teachers curate research, video/audio lectures, and assignments for students to complete online. It engages students with continued exploration and learning of the topic, but differentiates the instruction, allowing all learner types to flourish. Online assignments should piggy-back off of the skills and knowledge introduced within the classroom.
Independent learning allows students to apply what they have learned in the classroom and online. This is often done in the classroom so the teacher can monitor the individual work of the students. The students work through problems and assignments, equipped with skills and knowledge from both the online content and in-class lessons. It allows students to work at the appropriate pace and level, as well as allows the teacher to assist students who need the extra help. It teaches students to synthesize information from varied sources and produce an outcome that demonstrates the learning..
How have you used Blended Learning in your classroom? What kinds of online content do you curate and find the most useful?