There are many teachers out there who have been encouraged or told to involve more technology in their classrooms by principals or heads. Some are well versed and adapt very well to the challenge, while others struggle to find the value and benefits of integrating technology. The practice itself is often referred to as Blended Learning, and this post will cover the basics. If you are completely new to the topic, read on to find out how it could make a difference in your classroom.
What exactly is blended learning?
First and foremost, blended learning is simply the integration of technology into the curriculum. Whether students are utilizing digital media to gather information or computers to complete assignments, the actual combination of technology and the curriculum is the hallmark of blended learning. It includes:
- Delivery methods through which students learn from a digital source
- The use of online classrooms and discussions
- Identifying gaps in knowledge by using automatically corrected assignments
- Computer mediated activities
Blended learning is an enabler
Reasons why you are encouraged to integrate technology will vary, but whatever the motivation, it’s important not to view it as a laborious addition to your teaching. Instead, the introduction of technology should be approached as a way of enhancing your style. It gives students an opportunity to be challenged in different ways, introducing new visuals and devices through which your lesson content can be interacted with. You could be plotting graphs online, viewing 3D mathematical models or even simulating physics experiments – the possibilities are endless.
The idea is really to think beyond the walls of the classroom and start dreaming about the possibilities a blended learning approach could enable. What is it that you have always wanted to do, show or demonstrate to students that you were unable to 10 years ago? That thought is the first step in looking at blended learning as a way to enhance the experience of students, rather than a burdensome add-on requested by administrators.
It’s all about moving forward
When it comes to teaching and expanding the minds of our youth, there are so many different routes you can go down. It’s important to take the time to properly understand technology you are integrating, that way you will be as equipped as possible to help others advance. Although teaching has been conducted in the same way for many, many years, new technology is creating countless opportunities for the advancement of students. Your choice is whether to hop on for the ride or get left behind. With whole industries requiring technical skills and our lives being shaped by new advances on a daily basis, not knowing may be more detrimental than just taking a chance and going with the flow.