Last month Steelcase hosted a virtual education summit on the topic of blended learning. Dr. Michelle Zimmerman presented as one of the panelists of educators in their discussion of incorporating blended learning in the classroom and how this new method is redefining the concept of education.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is a new approach to teaching that blends together technology with traditional teaching methods. This combination of modern and conventional teaching techniques allows flexibility and a personalized education environment.
However, this approach does not mean that students will be spending the day sitting in front of computer screens. We recognize that technology is a tool and we intend to harness it to support emphasizing humanity in a growing digital age.
Blended Learning Application
Here are some recommendations that were discussed during the virtual education summit. Please keep in mind that the application of blended learning will differ due to factors such as the student’s grade level.
Classroom Strategies and Approaches
Technology and online education are shifting the educator’s approach to direct instruction. When it comes to lecturing, teachers should ask themselves, “What is the best way to deliver this content?” Does it make more sense to deliver the lecture in person, online synchronously, or pre-recorded?
Also, consider incorporating alternative assessments. Some teachers are concerned about proctoring an online exam. Instead of tests, integrate projects, presentations, or papers into class.
Not only will this assist with teacher’s grading concerns but it will also encourage students to engage more with the material.
Although an individual may be adept at navigating social media or gaming platforms, it does not guarantee that the individual will know how to use technology to work efficiently.
Additionally, teachers will need to keep in mind the age groups of the students. Technology can easily distract students with its quick access to social media platforms and thus time management will be affected. Younger age groups will require a support system to help them navigate the class software, locate instructions, and manage their time online.
The Adoption of Blended Learning Models
Educators need to redefine the traditional idea of a classroom to better suit the needs of the students. The grade level of the students will dictate what teaching models will work best for your class.
At the K-12 level, many schools are assimilating a time rotation, or staggered approach, in which a small group of students will arrive during a specific set of times or different day than the next group of students. Due to the pandemic, this approach is very popular for reducing classroom capacity.
Higher education is increasingly incorporating flip classrooms or the HyFlex model. Flip classrooms are an inversion of the traditional classroom approach. Educators assign videos and online materials as homework and use class time for applying those concepts with engaging activities.
The HyFlex model combines hybrid education and flexibility to provide students the choice to attend every class session either remotely synchronously, in-person, or online asynchronously.
Building an Environment for Blended Learning
One of the first things to consider for a blended learning environment is the classroom capacity. Decreasing the number of students creates a more intimate and interactive environment.
Thus, invest in a classroom microphone and web camera that will pick up both the teacher and the students that decide to attend in-person. Additionally, providing a second monitor in the classroom will help educators navigate both online and in-person classrooms.
Ultimately, the application of these components will change the way educators interact with their students. Please check the webinar for more details and the full discussion of how to use blended learning within the classroom.
Student Focused Curriculum at Renton Prep
Our blended learning approach means combining both progressive and traditional teaching methods to maximize student engagement.
Educators at Renton Prep organize activities that promote a technology-embraced curriculum in-person and online.
Contact us today to learn more about our academic approach and how technology is helping our students grow.