Let's talk about blended learning

We’ve heard the term ‘blended learning’ before, but what does it really mean? How do we blend rather than replace? And how do we create the right mix for our students?

Blended learning is a combination of 3 things:

  1. Mobile – opening up a world of things you can do with small devices, e.g photo and video, translation and contextual information on the move.
  2. Laptops/desktops – a bigger screen can open up more details and functionality, e.g. Google Docs, research, 3D modelling, graphics etc.
  3. Physical classroom – the place for learning without digital technologies, not necessarily in a classroom, it can incorporate outside.

When we think about blended learning, what should we be considering?

With the incorporation of digital learning, it can:

  • Take place outside the face to face classroom
  • Be a part of regular face to face classroom activity
  • Take place in specific activities separated from non-digital learning in the face to face classroom (eg: rotation activities)

TPACK

Consider the TPACK model and challenge yourself to look into the overlap in knowledge about technology, pedagogy and content.

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org

Six tips about blended learning from Richard Wells, DP at Orewa College:

  1. Balance the need of what you want the students to learn with enhancing the natural, social side of learning, the humanistic side of things.
  2. Blended learning offers flexibility. The ability to be more human and more personalised. Students want both the physical and the digital.
  3. If teachers don’t blend, if they don’t move forward, the students will do it themselves, and it becomes an unendorsed version. For example, they’ll set up their own chat forums.
  4. Get students involved with creating instructional videos, it’s important. It helps them to solve problems, and it’s also great for them to hear it from their peers.
  5. Set up class chat ‘Ask the room’ – get them to ask each other first, then ask the teacher last. You’ll be surprised at how far into the evening the chat will go when the students input into the conversation.
  6. Teachers need to talk less! The students want more flexibility, they want to be sociable. And your life as a teacher becomes so much easier!

Watch the Zoom recording

In September 2020, we hosted an online info session about Blended Learning and Dr David Parsons explained the concepts above. If you’re interested, you can watch the Zoom recording here.