What is Blended Learning?
As stated in the title, I do not have a lot of knowledge surrounding blended learning. In this new world of distance and online learning during a global pandemic, it does not seem like a completely unfamiliar concept as it would’ve a year ago to me.
Watching the video Alec shared during our class, I immediately felt discouraged. This is impossible, there’s no way students would actually do this? My experience with online learning involved many students not participating. It was very hard to get students and families engaged. Full online learning that teachers were thrown into in March has similarities but with blended learning students still need to have access to technology. Schools must provide the technology for the students and teach them how to use it properly. It is also necessary for students to have this technology at home. The realistic side of me was very negative initially learning about blended learning. I automatically think about socio-economics and equality when it comes to this model.
I also thought about the workload on educators. Teachers would have to have a lot of time to prepare the online lessons and be very organized. Coming from the lens of teaching during a pandemic and trying to go back and forth between online and in-person learning right now may be why I was viewing it negatively. Removing the pandemic from my mind, I began to see the benefits for many students. I am also looking through a primary teacher lens where many students struggle to use technology properly and need a lot of support. So detaching from what has been clouding our minds during pandemic teaching—It is a very intriguing model.
As Tessa stated in her blog, I probably also wouldn’t have defined blended learning as anything to do with technology if you asked me a year ago. The past year has developed the most experience I’ve had with anything surrounding educational technology. Last year I took my first online course with Alec and had the chance to start exploring this wide topic. It was great timing for what was about to happen in 2020. For one of my assignments I chose to dig into Seesaw and use it effectively within my classroom. When we found out schools were being shut down, it made our transition somewhat smooth. I became a Seesaw Ambassador to learn the ins and outs and help out colleagues. What I learned in #eci832 from Alec and my classmates was a lifesaver during distance learning. My technology journey has taken me way past where I ever thought it would be as I never considered myself a ‘techy’ person. Fast forward to the present, I do find it very difficult to try and have Seesaw going with lessons, go back and forth to in-person and online, and utilize technology efficiently in my classroom. All teachers need a lot of grace right now as there is so much unknown. A big challenge through all of this has been student engagement and of course, access to technology. With students being so young they need their parents to help them and support them online. From what I have learned, students would thrive with a supportive home environment.
Reading Chapter 4: Methods of teaching with an online focus, displayed how broad the subject of blended learning is. Most teachers have now, after 2020, engaged in forms of blended learning without knowing anything about it. Teachers currently have been expected to do the impossible and our circumstances don’t look like they are changing anytime soon. I imagine how amazing these models could be with education for teachers, time and motivation to plan.
In my own research to define blended learning, I came across some YouTube videos to further understand what a blended classroom looks like. I found the video below assisted me in understanding what blended learning is, the variety of models, and the positives and negatives of blended learning. There is a lot to learn, grow and build on with this concept.
I am excited to learn more especially in this unique time. It will be very interesting to see how things change and move forward in education once the pandemic is over.
Thank you for reading,