Happy August! You can pop in every Monday throughout this month to check out our blog’s exploration of “blended learning.” We are going to discuss what it is, what it is not, and implementation strategies for “blending” your classroom. I invite you to share with us any of your best practices, or even your challenges, when it comes to blended learning.
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. Since you popped in, let’s lead off with a pop quiz! Here are a few questions to help you evaluate your own blended learning strategies:
1. What technological hardware do you use in your classroom?
a. Smart phones/tablets, interactive white boards, and computers
b. Interactive white boards and computers
d. None (Unless overhead projectors count?)
2. What software do you use in your classroom?
a. Apps and free on-line software (as well as b. and c.)
b. Internet for research (as wells as c.)
c. Content-specific software the school provides
d. None (I haven’t found any that works for me.)
3. How often do you use technology in your classroom?
a. I integrate it into every aspect of what I teach.
b. I try to make sure the students use it as much as possible, but it is hard sometimes.
c. I am sure to check my e-mail, and I like to search the internet for teaching ideas.
d. I haven’t found the need yet for technology.
4. What model best suits your teaching style?
a. Teacher as Guide on the Side, while students use technology and I circulate through the room, offering more information and helping those who need it
b. Teacher as Guide on the Side, as students demonstrate technology through activities I develop/incorporate; supplemented with face-to-face classroom instruction
c. Teacher as Sage on the Stage, with demonstration of technology for students to see
d. Teacher as Sage on the Stage, with no need for technology
5. What is the biggest barrier to using technology in your classroom?
a. Availability of cutting-edge technology
b. The school’s technology budget and/or maintaining the hardware
c. Understanding how to use certain technologies
d. No time to learn how to use it
6. What is the MAIN reason you use technology in your classroom?
a. I like to incorporate activities that use technology to: help students apply what they know, evaluate situations, and create their own work that indicates they understand the concept.
b. Students need to know how to use different technologies in order to be successful in the world outside of the classroom.
c. It saves me time.
d. I can accomplish all of the state learning objectives without the need for technology.
7. What type of phone would your friends use to categorize you?
b. flip phone
c. pay-as-you go phone
d. rotary phone
Give yourself 3 points for every a. Give yourself 2 points for every b. Give yourself 1 point for every c. And 0 points for every d.
If you scored 18-21: You are rockin’ in the world of blended learning! Please write in to us and share some of your ideas or best practices you use to make technology successful in your classroom. You set the pace! Read our blogs and comment. We’ll be waiting to hear from you.
If you scored 12-18: You are ready to rock in the world of blended learning! You are discriminating about what technologies you use because you want to implement the RIGHT technology in the RIGHT situation. That’s great! Never use technology for the sake of using technology. Always use technology to accomplish your curricular goals. Keep looking for new ways to accomplish your goals by harnessing the power of technology! Check out our blended learning blogs on Mondays this month to get a different perspective or a new idea that might help.
If you scored 5-11: You are on the brink! Don’t be scared of technology! If you are, find a colleague who is harnessing the power of technology to help her/his students accomplish more objectives. I am sure there are other teachers in your own school who are harnessing the power of technology to improve their teaching strategies and are realizing success with their students. Find them. I just know they will be willing to help you learn how to integrate more technology into your own classroom! Also, tune in to our blog on Mondays this month to get a different perspective or a new idea that might motivate you.
If you scored 0-4: Consider the options! Technology can help you accomplish more, and you can create better ways for students to learn. I know the options are limitless and can sometimes be overwhelming, but you can do it. Just pick one thing that interests you, and start there. Find someone who knows how to do it, and ask them for help. Believe it or not, there was a day they didn’t know how to do it either, and I am pretty sure they are excited to show you! Also, you can find ideas and motivations in our blended learning blogs that will be running on Mondays this month.
That quiz wasn’t too hard, was it? Now it got the old blood flowing to the brain, and you are off and running… Let school begin!