To Make Blended Learning Work, Teachers Try Different Tactics

Source: KQED Mindshift blog, Nov 2012

 for many schools, finding a way to integrate the use of tech in a traditional setting — teacher-centered classrooms — is proving to be a challenge. What educational software should be used?What criteria should the software be judged against? And what happens to the role of the teacher and classroom activities when students are using software for practice exercises?

At this point, just a couple of years into the movement, there are no definitive answers yet. Different schools are trying different blended learning models.

… for any of those tactics to work, educators agree that the key is to have a clear vision of what the technology is being used for, and how that will affect the teacher’s role. For schools just beginning to dabble in classroom technology, that’s a daunting idea. Many aren’t willing to upend the existing systems for this new model.

“[Teachers] can embrace project-based learning and create student-centered classrooms to build on the work that’s completed online.”

One of the biggest challenges of blended learning is also what excites advocates most — allowing kids to progress at their own level and pace. “We will move to a model where we don’t assume all kids are learning the same concept in any given day or week,” Greenberg said.

Tucker says the teacher needs to have a strong sense of what the technology accomplishes and how her teaching can encourage students to think creatively. “Computer programs alone will not radically change the teaching paradigm,” Tucker said. “Learning does not take place in the act of listening to (or viewing) information explained, but rather in the moments when we are asked to make sense of that information, to wrestle with ideas, to apply, evaluate, synthesize and use what we have learned to create something,” Tucker said.

Greenberg’s organization, Silicon Schools Fund, will experiment with blended learning models to find what works for different kinds of school structures and populations. He doesn’t believe anyone has gotten it quite right yet.

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