Blended Learning is getting a lot of attention because of it being an inexpensive teaching approach that appears to be bringing success in the form of test grades. Traditional classrooms often include a variety of teaching materials and best practices. Typically we have places for kids to sit in order to work independently or in groups. The teacher is often found in the front, side, or back of the room. The teacher instructs students on the day's topics. The use of Cooperative Learning has encouraged students to collaborate and work together to complete a variety of tasks.
But many students did not learn. Traditional teaching methods are not working for them.
Blended Learning is the term given to the teaching approach that combines face to face contact with online computer based instruction. Students with computers and Internet access at home will receive instruction via the computer. Lessons and student work can be managed by programs like Google Drive (Google Apps in Education), Edmodo, Moodle, and BlackBoard, When indicating that it is an inexpensive teaching approach, I merely meant that there are no hidden costs. You use available resources and students use their own devices. There must be at least one classroom computer to be used by kids who lack computer/internet availability at home.
Google, Edmodo, and Moodle are all free resources. I'll limit comments to Google Drive, since this is the "Do you Google?" group. Google Drive is used at my school by about 40% of the staff. Teachers have students do work within Google Drive. Options include documents, presentation, spreadsheets, and drawing.
Let's look at Documents for a moment. Did you know that students can be working on a word processing document and within the window are able to use Tools to access a dictionary, thesaurus, and web search? Did you know that teachers can comment and interact with the student while online offering comments, suggestions, and corrections? Documents can be shared with the teacher and other classmates as well as being exported into a variety of formats. A teacher does not need to wait for a paper to be handed in. Why not edit while the paper is in progress?
Teachers may also upload documents and images to Google Drive and then share with students.
One of the teachers at my school met with me recently and I showed her how to create a quiz for Language Arts using Google Forms. I also showed her how to add on Flubaroo so the quiz would self- check. The summary of response chart and statistics will help in providing needed remediation.
There's more to come as I continue to explore how Google Drive can be used in a Blended Learning Environment. Check out other posts on Blended Learning in Florida Thinkfinity. Feel free to share what you've learned.
eSchool News published an article suggesting 5 ideas that make blended learning a successful approach with students. Here are the 5 steps:
1. Define your academic goals.
2. Help teachers understand their critical role.
3. Support the needs of all students.
4. Anticipate pushback.
5. Innovate and adapt.
For more information about each step, see Five steps to a successful blended learning program.
Do you have other tips to add to this list?
Blended Learning has also become a prevalent model for professional development for teachers. The reasons we here in South Dakota have gone to blended learning for some of our professional development are:
One example of our Blended Learning Professional Development:
Deeper understanding and greater chance of implementation and continual use of the new learning is the greatest outcome of the Blended Learning Professional Development.
I believe if teachers are learning using this format, they will be more apt to use Blended Learning with their students in the classroom.
Are other states also using Blended Learning Professional Development?