By Teachers, For Teachers
A teacher gets into the classroom. All students stop talking, laughing, writing, or whatever else they were doing. They start listening. The teacher presents the lecture through a method that resembles a speech. Sometimes she takes the time to answer students’ questions and asks if everything is clear.
That seems like an outdated classroom, doesn’t it? Fortunately, today the educational process is completely different. What changed? Technology! The changes are positive, since the students are more engaged than ever.
Blended learning is a relatively new concept, which is taking the world of education by storm. It’s a formal educational program that combines the traditional classroom teaching methods with digital media. Although the students are still present in an actual classroom (which makes this concept different from online learning), the teaching practices are provided in combination with computer-mediated activities.
The students watch educational videos, play games, and complete homework assignments in the classroom, while part of the lectures is provided through online sources they can access from home.
For example, the teacher can ask the students to watch an educational TED video at home. The classroom time will be reserved for questions and discussions. If some of the concepts are unclear, the teacher will take the time to explain them in depth. The greatest advantage of this method is the fact that the students get into the classroom with basic preparation for the discussion that follows.
Blended learning is suitable for all educational levels, from preschool to the postgraduate level.
When it comes to changing the approach teachers have in the classroom, most of them have a question: Why? There’s no doubt about it: The educators have to spend a lot of time in gaining the needed qualifications for proper use of technology. Not all online resources are safe to use in the classroom. In addition, they need to drastically change the program and adapt to a completely different method of teaching. Is it worth it? Yes, because the advantages outweigh the drawbacks.
Through this concept, learning becomes a two-way process. There is an interaction with the teacher in the classroom. The students are no longer placed in a mold; they are not expected to sit quietly through a 40-minute lecture. By the end of such a traditional lecture, they would forget all questions they had on mind while they were actively listening during the first ten minutes (unfortunately, that’s how long their focus can last before wandering away).
Blended learning is convenient because it gives them freedom to participate in the process. They are not afraid to ask questions and be critical about some of the concepts they learn about.
2. The students get an opportunity to explore online resources
The web is a source of endless knowledge. As a teacher, you have an opportunity to teach them how to find the best online sources and make sure they are reading up-to-date, reliable information. When you teach them how to research the web, you can congratulate yourself. You helped them gain a skill they will definitely use in life.
3. Blended learning leaves more time for reflection
Let’s say you’re teaching a history lesson to high school students. You ask them to research as much as possible about World War II, and they all present facts in the classroom. You compare those facts with the coursework material, and you take the time to reflect.
4. Students get more feedback
When you save time for more discussions in the classroom, it means that you’ll be listening to what students say. That’s a great way to evaluate their understanding of the coursework concept. You will see how many of them participate in the discussions, and you’ll realize how much they are interested in the concepts.
5. Even the anxious students can relax
Some students don’t like discussions. They are the ones who usually stay quiet throughout a heated argumentation, although you know that they have a lot to say. It seems like they are too afraid to speak up. The traditional classroom teaching method doesn’t give these students a chance to overcome this anxiety.
Blended learning is definitely more beneficial approach than old-school educational methods. It works for the students, since it helps them learn more through practical implementation of the knowledge they gain. It also works for the teachers, since it makes their job more enjoyable. Make an effort to introduce blended learning in your classroom, and you’ll soon witness the results.