Blended learning: Face-to-face and online

It would be quite difficult in a NZ BYOD classroom not to use blended learning principles and practices. One of those practices is “going paperless.” Interestingly, however, most kids, when given the choice (some teachers don’t offer it), opt to have a mix of both paper and device. There are so many doors that technology opens for us, but sometimes it is just nice to scribble on a piece of paper, screw it up, and throw it away.  Blended learning works for most students. There are, however, one or two in every classroom who just don’t like computers.  It’s interesting that most dislike being examined online. I think there is something about the way we think as we handwrite that helps under exam conditions. Research anyone?

There are key advantages to blended learning regardless of student preferences.  One major advantage is that when students are working online at their own pace, the teacher is released to wander around the room, checking and supporting individuals. Differentiated instruction is a natural consequence.  I find that many students don’t ask questions when I am at the front of the room but there is a constant request for individual attention when I am nearby. In summary, blended environments allow for more personalised learning as students work at their own pace, and have more indvidualised teacher time.

It’s interesting, however, that publishing companies are taking advantage of blended learning requirements.  In the last five years or so, they have removed from textbooks necessary elements in the learning process and placed them online.  Schools now pay annual licences in addition to purchasing texts.  Both text and online resources are needed to create a complete and sequential course. There are therefore ongoing instead of one-off costs.  Having said that, the sound, video and interactive exercises accessable anytime anywhere are more effective than their paper equivalents.

Blended learning and its advantages and disadvantages are here to stay.

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