October 16, 2009
This week I have spent a lot of time talking and thinking about Blended Learning. Blended learning allows teachers and students to capitalize on the best mode of delivery for each lesson. Most blended learning classrooms have a blend of face-to-face and online instruction.
Four technologies easy to integrate into your brick and mortar classroom include Learning Management Systems (Moodle, Edu2.0, Blackboard, etc.), wikis (pbworks, wikispaces, wetpaint), interactive classroom websites, and blogs. Each of these technologies can either be used independently or dependently. While they each have their place and advantages, they all promote common skills.
First of all, most college students will either be faced with online classes or online components in their classes. Giving them the opportunity to complete coursework online helps give them the confidence to be successful. They learn how to navigate assignments, understand that they must work collaboratively, and get a better feel for online expectations.
Second, all students have a voice in online learning! This is a great advantage to face-to-face learning. Every student is required to participate in discussions and reflect on their learning. No student can sit back and smile pretending to have all the answers. It also forces students to think about their answers and be aware of their “voice.”
Third, all students develop better reading and writing skills and have the opportunity to be creative. Blended learning assignments, such as blogging, allow students to learn and be creative. Teachers can also require students to focus on spelling and grammar on their assignments.
As we grow in the number of teachers offering blended learning in their classrooms, I hope to learn more about best practices and options to help the teachers at my school. The students we are educating love to work collaboratively, and I hope to give them more options to do so. I know they will learn more by learning, creating, and sharing than sitting at their desks listening to a teacher “teach” all period. I encourage you to research one of these options to integrate in your classroom!