What I have shared here are my thoughts and ideas about blended learning, but I'm still learning, and as I learn I know my ideas will change...that is the beauty of learning!! Please feel free to share your ideas/comments on this topic!!
Last Sunday the #OklaEd chat focused on "Blended Learning" a topic I’m not too familiar with, in fact I had to google the definition before the chat began, and lucky for me our moderator, Drew Robinson @FatCatArtist, shared this video giving a great explanation of blended learning: Blended Learning and Technology Integration .
My take away from the chat and online reading:
Blended Learning is a methodology that relies on tech integration, but it takes it a step further. The integration of technology can be as simple as using a YouTube video to share a topic with students, or directing students to use iPads in their research. Blended learning however takes the teacher from center stage, changing the teacher role from instructor to facilitator. (If you ask me that’s how it should always be, but that’s a conversation for another day.) Blended learning often gives students choice in how will they share information, when they will share, and incorporates authentic peer virtual communication and collaboration. The flipped classroom is one example of blended learning, but there are other models as well. The model that I prefer is the rotation model, but I’m sure that’s mostly because rotations/centers/station, whatever you want to call them, make sense to my early-childhood brain. I know there is much more to blended learning and I will continue for learn, but this is a start. For more information I suggest reading Blended Learning Definitions
The question I have for myself and anyone else who has an opinion is...How do we lay the foundation for blended learning in the elementary and early childhood classroom?
My thoughts include giving students choice, instilling in them a growth mindset, providing opportunities for collaboration, exploration, and the opportunity to share. These opportunities don’t have to all be tech based. We are laying the foundation for future blended learning, and just as you must speak before you write, perhaps you must learn to collaborate in the real world before you effectively collaborate in the virtual world. That being said, the meaningful use of technology should not be excluded. Students can work together to create stories using Book Creator, videos using Shadow Puppet, or other online tools for creating and sharing. Programs like Class Dojo and See Saw are great options for allowing students to share their learning and ideas with an authentic audience. If we want our student to be prepared to use technology as an effective tool for collaboration, creating, and learning we must provide meaningful opportunities for blended learning from the start!