Hall of Wisdom

Supporting our Super Heroes - Teachers

Blended Learning

(Michael Gorman)...There has been a lot of discussion as to what blended learning really means. Most of us have come to realize that it probably involves the classroom and technology. In fact, the 1 to 1 programs across the nation emphasize the technology as an important component of classroom instruction. Yet, is this really Blended Learning? The answer is... maybe! A closer look needs to be taken in order to see how the technology is being used. 

As we employ the 1 to 1 experience, we need to ask two important questions. Is the 1 to 1 and the device about using technology, or is it about a more meaningful and engaging learning experience? Spending a day online for individual research can be a wonderful simple integration of technology experience, but might not be a true blended learning opportunity. Asking students to research and then collaborate with each other online in a collective experience takes this integration and provides more of a blended experience. 

The blended learning experience allows technology and the online experience to breakdown the traditional classroom allowing important transformation. One might wonder where on the spectrum of simple integration to blending learning a possible learning activity might be. I would like to share a lens of ten ideas that educators may wish to look at their 1 to 1 activity or classroom with. Sometimes it is just a simple tweak to bring out the wonderful possibilities of blended learning.

  1. Reaching beyond the classroom walls for learning opportunities, collaboration, and audience
  2. Creating a student driven/centered learning environment
  3. Allowing for collaborative experiences in and out of the classroom
  4. Permitting student control over learning allowing for important voice and choice
  5. Providing opportunities for remixing of information leading to innovation and creativity
  6. Giving opportunities for personalized and differentiated learning
  7. Promoting convergent and divergent thinking allowing for inquiry and critical thinking 
  8. Seeking invention of new products and possibilities to demonstrate learning
  9. Exploring authentic and real learning experiences.
  10. Establishing opportunities for anytime/anywhere learning

As we continue to explore 1 to 1 learning experiences it is important that we understand the blurred line between simple technology integration and blended learning. Perhaps the video below will help develop an even deeper understanding. While simple technology integration is a wonderful step, it is important to reflect and refine our practice and allow our classrooms to provide opportunities for real authentic blended learning experiences.

Image: Creative Commons: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/Blended-learning-methodolog.jpg