Blended Learning?

In last Monday’s blog, you evaluated your own blended learning strategies.  If you missed it, you can still take the pop quiz.  (Click here.)  If you are already rockin’ the world of blended learning, then keep going!  (And please take the time to share your ideas with others who want to learn more!)  Now, for those of you who want to harness the power of technology to make your students learn more, better, and faster, read on…

Harnessing the power of technology means utilizing a blended learning approach to accomplish curricular objectives.  Simply put, blended learning is blending different modes of instruction, specifically as it relates to blending face-to-face classroom instruction with on-line, mobile, and/or server-based technologies.  The key is to select technologies in which the STUDENT uses the technology to reinforce learning/behavioral objectives.

For example, if you are teaching a unit on how to administer CPR following a blended learning approach, you would proceed in this fashion:

1.  Face-to-face instruction: Introduce the concept of CPR in a classroom lecture or discussion.

2.  Utilize technology: Blend in software that teaches the basic principles of CPR Methods.

3.  Utilize technology: At the completion of the unit, assess that students can recall and understand all CPR-related principles.  Good software will have built-in quizzes and tests that assess students’ understanding.

4.  Face-to-face instruction: When a student’s score indicates mastery, you can introduce her to a hands-on activity in which she responds to an emergency situation that requires CPR.

This is a perfect blend of using the right amount of classroom instruction with the appropriate technology.  In this example, there are specific standards the software would have to cover, so you need to make sure that the objectives address these standards.

This is the most important piece: MAKE SURE THE TECHNOLOGY YOU PICK REINFORCES YOUR BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVES. Never use technology for the sake of using technology.

After you are sure that the students will be learning in accordance with your own curricular objectives, you can then let the software do the teaching.  At this point, you no longer have to be sage on the stage, but you can assume the role of guide on the side.  You can circulate about the room, providing individualized explanations as well as classroom presentations and discussions of material.  In this way, everyone benefits:  Students can progress at their own rate utilizing the technology, and you can differentiate the instruction based the students’ responses.  Now that’s harnessing the power of technology!

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