Mr Kemp NZ

Exploring Blended Learning

Following up from the honor of being selected in Huffington Posts Top 12 Global Education Blogs of 2014/2015 I have been chosen again in this amazing group and for 2016/2017 will be contributing to Huffington Post’s Education blog once a month. This month we look at the following highly controversial topic “Discuss the K-12 Evolution of Blended Learning?” – here is my response:

Blended learning is an educational approach that brings together face to face and digital or online strategies that allow for student input into time, place and the pace of lessons.  The hope is that by blending traditional and new teaching methods they will build on each other providing students with an innovative and effective learning experience nurturing skills students need to succeed both in life and in a tech-driven workforce.

Image Source: http://www.spinedu.com/redefining-blended-learning/#.WUPrkROGPOQ

There are several questions about the benefits of Blended Learning in Education and people are questioning if blended learning is just another overhyped myth. The more questions I had, the more I needed help …..

In order to explore and learn more about the possibilities of Blended Learning I recently ran a #whatisschool chat. Here are 5 key questions I asked and the amazing answers that the #whatisschool PLN gave:

1) In one sentence, define blended learning?

  • Blended learning … learning that is available in and out of class facilitated with technology
  • #BlendedLearning is the best of both worlds, combining in-class w/ tech teaching resources to best fit each kid’s need
  • Combining the best practices of F2F and online to provide incredible learning opportunities to all students

2) How has blended learning evolved over time? Why

  • I think blended learning has evolved as teachers have looked for different approaches to practice
  • I feel like I learn about a new app or site every day that would be great to use in the classroom
  • Blended learning has progressed towards the process and not the product. Look at PBL and Genius Hour
  • I think what has involved is our ideas about learning in general. It is about the learning now, not the tools
  • Evolution continues as teachers learn to use tech based on sound instruction rather than the other way around
  • Blended learning has evolved from tools for products to tools for authentic learning
  • The importance of digital literacy has increased the need for a blended learning environment

3) What does blended learning look like in Elementary compared to Secondary?

  • Blended learning is more centered on understanding how to learn. Examining types of learning
  • As students’ age, maturity and subject matter changes, learning techniques evolve with them
  • At the elementary level, Students may need more time to learn the technology while middle school Students may be ready to fly with it
  • There’s a lot more student voice/choice in Secondary than in Elementary – it comes back to what level of trust Teachers put in Students
  • Primary school focus has to include practical tech literacy while secondary can focus on creation & digital citizenship
  • Secondary Students can spend more time engaging/designing learning while part of elementary focus is teaching learning process

4) How have you turned over elements of control (time, place, pace etc.) to your students?

  • A goal of mine is to implement activities like Genius Hour within school building to distribute ownership of learning to Students
  • I am a HUGE fan of student voice and agency. I love giving students voice and choice
  • Build trust, encourage communication, & allow 4 collaboration to take place on Students terms
  • Our Teachers are having lab time for Students to work on projects independently but also the Teachers are available to answer Questions & support
  • Allowing students to take control of their learning = great way to foster confidence, thoughtfulness and social maturity
  • Assigning multiple activities/assignments over the course of several days so students can work in their own order & pace
  • Using learning management systems that give soft due dates and allow for feedback, so it is easier for them to take charge

5) How does blended learning ‘add value’ to learning in your school?

  • Blended learning makes learning visible to the entire community. It shows off the great learning that is happening
  • #BlendedLearning allows teachers to focus their efforts more effectively by sharing the load with #edtech resources
  • It approaches learning from a lens of discovery. This drives us away from standards-based learning
  • Blended Learning engages students in online learning experiences & helps teachers break down the 4 walls of the classroom
  • It deepens understanding by allowing Teachers + Students to continue teaching and learning outside of school
  • Helps students figure out how to learn on their own, process of learning using online sources. Making responsible citizens
  • It allows for “real” learning…flexible, anytime, deepened by guidance if you begin with a basic knowledge and interest

I hope this insight gives you more knowledge about what Blended Learning is and I hope that it gives you more details on what you can do to trial this in your classroom.

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Head of Educational Technology at a large International School in Singapore. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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