Blended Learning: Ideas for using technology effectively in the classroom
Welcome back to school!
Even though it has been a few years for me, I can clearly remember the sounds of my own new students buzzing around the classroom, checking out the new “digs” catching up with old friends, laughing and chatting about what the new year would bring. Admittedly, I was always just as excited for those first days of school! One year, I was also quite nervous. It was the year I planned to implement a Blended Learning experience for my kiddos. Yikes…
Before I could implement a blended environment, I had to gain a better understanding of how the computers in the classroom could be used as an effective teaching tool and as a super high-tech typewriter or gaming console.
The computers would serve as a research library, communications portal and a way to demonstrate the learning. My students would have a “playlist” of activities to choose from and directions for completion. They would be able to work according to their interests, at their academic abilities and at their own pace. I would use the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model to stay on track!
It was a little bumpy and time-consuming in the beginning. (I was expecting that!) However, one day, it all came together. The kiddos came into the classroom and a few of them immediately began working on their ocean-cleaning research presentations. That group of kids discovered 3 different ways scientists were cleaning plastics out of the oceans and were comparing the effectiveness of each. Other students were discussing the popsicle bridge that “collapsed yesterday because the sticks were not angled properly.” They planned to go back to the Math website to help them figure out the proper weight-bearing structure and then test it again today. I was so proud! I almost let a teardrop fall from my eye but I kept it together and acted so cool despite my feeling of total and complete happiness. (Teachers, you know what I’m talking about!)
Their interest and curiosity in real-life issues also provoked deep questions during math, language arts and science lessons. They were beginning to see the importance of learning the basics and then how to apply what they’ve learned to real-world problems.
Most of my assessments were completed through the communication portal and the students’ final presentations. Best of all, my time was spent supporting, guiding, coaching and conducting small-group instruction lessons. A Blended Learning environment worked for my 4th grade students. However, there are ways to use a blended environment at any grade level! Want to learn more? Check out our amazing course, Blended Learning. Not only are there lots of resources and projects that will help you immediately implement a blended environment, but you will also earn 15 professional development hours for your efforts! Blended Learning is a 15-hour professional development course designed to help teachers use technology to transform learning.
Welcome back teachers! We hope you have a wonderful year.
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