What Is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is defined as “any time a student learns at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace.”
How Does Blended Learning Help Teachers?
What does this mean for teachers? It means we have OPTIONS! I am not going to talk to you here about the different models of blended learning. Instead, I want to address those of you who are interested in pursuing this model but may be intimidated or feel overwhelmed.
What Are the Benefits of Blended Learning?
I won’t sugarcoat things– making the shift to blended learning comes with its own challenges. Blended learning is not a cure for discipline issues or low performance. However, blended learning can, in my experience, help with those things. Engaged students are less likely to cause disruptions in class. Additionally, students who claim ownership of their learning are more likely to learn more.
Where To Start
The key is to start small and start with your objectives. Never try to design learning around a technology tool. Always begin with your objectives. If you are unsure what tools and methods will help you reach your goals, ask for help. You are not alone. Other teachers are some of your best resources.
There is no single “right way” to use blended learning. There is just the “right way” for you and your students. The challenging part is getting started. It can seem like a lot, especially if you identify yourself with the words “I’m not a techie” or something similar.
Ready To Try It Out?
Here are some tips I have learned in my own teaching and have shared with the teachers I work with:
- Talk to someone. Who do you know that has successfully blended their classroom? What did they do? Do you have a tech coach? Call them!
- Start small. Pick one thing. For example, maybe you want to start with an interactive choice board or checklist. Remember KISS – Keep it Short and Sweet.
- You don’t have to be a “techie.” Nobody knows everything and it is important to remind yourself and your students that we are all lifelong learners.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. Isn’t that how we learn? Let the students see that you tried, and how you dealt with anything that did not work. Sometimes they need to see an adult handle failure in a positive way. Then try again.
- Let the kids help. Tell them you are trying something new. Chances are, they will want to help. If so, let them! Nothing encourages learning like ownership. Some of my best moments in teaching have been when I gave my students the chance to teach me.
- Learn to let go. This is one of the most important and challenging aspects of blended learning. Letting go and letting the kids take charge of their own learning is also one of the best parts of blended learning. It is also one of the most difficult things to do. We want to help. We are used to being in charge. Letting go not only helps them, but frees up your time to work with those who need it most.
The biggest and best tip I can give you is this: be patient and kind to yourself as you embark on the blended learning journey. Prepare for wrong turns and flat tires, but it will be worth it when you reach your destination.
Christine Moore will be presenting Blooming with Blended: A Blended Learning PD Experience at TCEA 2022. Don’t miss her session TODAY!
Interested in learning more about blended learning? TCEA has a self-paced, online Blended Learning Course worth 12 CPE credit hours for just $29. Also, check out these additional Technotes articles on blended learning.