Blended Learning is a concept I’m beginning to understand better. At first, it was a bit murky in my mind, but things are starting to become a bit clearer. It’s a sensational method in how it blends traditional teaching with technology based learning. This article in the Smithsonian starts a great discussion on the subject of how it’s used in schools.
For months, Stanton Elementary School teachers and administrators searched books, webinars, conferences, news articles and anything else they could get find for ideas about how to get students more engaged in the classroom.
They kept running across the same mysterious two words: blended learning.
“We didn’t really know what it was,” says Principal Caroline John, “besides computers.”
Fast forward a year, and the same 400-student public school here in Southeast Washington, D.C., with its green-tiled halls and pastel stucco classrooms, is defining the phrase on its own terms. And at least in this case, it’s not that complicated.
At Stanton, students in grades 3-5 spend 45 minutes a day on an iPad or a Dell laptop working on ST Math, an online math program that challenges each student based on his or her skill level. For example, one student could tackle multiplication tables, while someone in the next row completes double-digit addition problems. Some do all their work by typing and touch-screening their way through problems and solutions, while others swivel between scouring the screen and scribbling on scrap paper. Teachers rotate through the room, helping students when they stumble on a given problem.
Time runs out, the devices are packed and pushed to another classroom, and the rest of the day proceeds with nary a computer in sight. But the straightforward structure of Stanton’s blended learning program is just one example of blended learning’s loosely organized front that, despite wide variations in individual practice, appears to be quite powerful.
“Just in the last few years there’s been tremendous interest by school district leaders who know they can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results,” says Susan Patrick, the president of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, or iNACOL. “We’re absolutely seeing a trend toward blended learning.
To read more, check out the original piece here.