Many practicing teachers today have had at least a little experience with blended courses, at some point in their education. Personally, I had one course that was truly “blended” in my undergraduate studies, in which some of the class was “face to face” and other parts were “online.”
The blended learning environment I experienced is vastly different than the blended courses students are now completing. The “online” component of my blended course was basically turning in written assignments online. There was no discussion board or additional course related material.
Are blended learning environments beneficial? YES!
Our students are plugged in constantly to the world of the Internet. They can multitask unbelievably well (some of them try to do this and fail!), listening to music, engaging in Twitter chats, and completing assignments. It may not seem like the most efficient method to complete assignments at home, but it works for this younger generation.
I’ll be taking my first stab at creating a true blended learning environment in the summer school course I will teach. The course will be dual credit Western Civilization…my students and I will meet face-to-face in the morning for lecture and content delivery. During the afternoon hours, my students and I will engage in online discussion boards, focusing on content related material (primary sources, etc), via Edmodo (of course!). I’ll be posting my experiences with this type of learning environment, so check back for more information!
I consider the classes I teach now to be semi-blended. I don’t have a lab, and teach in a BYOD environment. Some of my students have access to computers and Internet at home, while others do not. So, when I want to include a blended component (online discussion board via Edmodo), I have to reserve a computer lab.
I also provide bonus opportunities for my students to encourage them to read and discuss information relevant to the course outside of the classroom. I’ll be discussing my Ukraine activity soon!
I’ve listed some links below that discuss blended learning environments in more detail. Enjoy!
Thanks for reading 🙂