Why Blended Learning
It is hard to believe that Ohio, Texas, California, Indiana and so many other States have closed school for the remainder of the school year. Wow, this is seems impossible. However, with the use of online resources, educators are still able to deliver content to the students.
"The Covid19 pandemic has permanentally changed the way will education will be delivered forever." - Forbes
For the last thirteen years, I have traveled around the country, teaching educators how to deploy blended learning into the classroom through the Three Phases of Blended Learning. My workshops typically start with the "Why" of Blended Learning. Now, my presentations will begin with the "Why" and how we must move to some form of Blended Learning to make sure that all students are safe, healthy, and the ability to continue to learn regardless of the phyiscal location.
Why Blended Learning?
Mini-Lessons are an essential part of any Blended Learning plan. A mini-lesson is a small group instruction time where the teacher can break down the fundamental concepts of the lesson, reteach the ideas, and differentiate the concepts based on the level of the student. The mini-lesson also provides time for the teacher to get to know the students and to build an academic relationship. Relationship-building has been proven to help students work on their own while the teacher is working with another mini-lesson. In the new blending learning environment, it is essential to build those academic relationships with students so that the students stay motivated to complete the work, and the teacher has a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of every student in the classroom.
Think of digital content as the second teacher in the classroom. While the teacher is providing small group instruction, the digital content is reteaching, providing adaptive practice, or teaching the SAME concepts to the students. The students can move through the digital content at their own pace, which allows them to slow down, take notes, and understand the concepts more clearly. Examples of digital can include the following resources.
Teacher generated videos
Actively Learn (if teaching videos are added to the articles)
Blended Learning provides student ownership of learning. When the teacher offers a checklist of learning items to complete and mirrors the expectations on a Learning Management System, then the students can work through the content at his own pace, place, and path. Pace means the students can work as fast or slow as needed to master the concepts. Place provides the opportunity of learning to happen online, offline, or in small groups. The path allows the students to pick which learning task to complete first, second, third, and so on until all of the learning studios are complete.
Blended Learning allows for small group instruction through the mini-lesson. The mini-lessons start to become differentiated with the use of data collected by formative assessments and from the digital content. With the data, the teacher can assign learning studios, projects, and independent practice based on the skill level of the individual students.
Why Blended Learning? Student Engagement. Throughout all of the blended learning environments, students have higher levels of engagement because they can work at their own pace, place, and path, which means that the students don't have to wait for everyone to turn to page 45 to begin learning about a concept. With the inclusion of hands-on learning activities, the students can demonstrate their understanding of a skill by creating, collaborating, communicating, and using critical thinking skills.
In a blended learning environment, the students have a choice in the different activities either through choice boards, random choice wheels or by process of elimination. Blended Learning checklist can offer the students the ability to pick how they would like to showcase their understanding of a skill or what activity to complete that best fits their learning style.
Why Blended Learning?
Blended Learning is not going to replace the teacher. Blended learning allows the teacher to meet with small groups of students to reteach or teach a concept. Students that are not working with the teacher can learn at their own pace, place, and path. Blended Learning allows for learning to continue even if a students is not in the same physical location as the teacher. And most important, blended learning can help to keep everyone safe and healthy during any pandemic.
Learn More About Blended Learning
Marcia Kish - Blended and Personalized Learning coach that designed the Three Phases of Blended Learning