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Using Blended Learning in the Classroom

Jessica Freeman

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That seems like an outdated classroom, doesn’t it?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: The Face of Modern Education

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.

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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.

Advantages of Blended Learning: The Approach that Changes Students’ Perspectives

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.

  1. Blended learning leaves students with greater flexibility

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.

  • Encourage them to discuss!
  • Don’t judge their questions and opinions.
  • Stay open for free-minded interpretations of the concepts you’re teaching; that’s how the students will understand how the knowledge they gain helps them understand the world that surrounds them.

    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.

  • Teach them how to check and verify facts and how to take the things they read with a healthy dose of doubt. Choose a topic. For example, you can search for information about Mozart in class. You’ll find several online sources of information, but not all of them will be reliable. Show them how to check the facts and how to recognize authoritative sources of information.

    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.

  • Since you’re not wasting time on the standard lecturing process, there’s enough space for you to respond to questions and make learning interesting for all of them.

    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.

  • You will give them feedback through your response.
  • You’ll have a chance to give such feedback every single day, by encouraging them to keep up with the good work or inspiring them to get deeper into the research process. There’s no need to wait for tests when you evaluate their knowledge on a daily basis. 

    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.

  • Try to involve these students in the discussion. Instead of waiting for them to take part, ask what they think.
  • You’ll notice they are getting anxious. Their voice may start trembling and you’ll notice the confusion on their faces. Try to get their answers through a conversation, and involve them fairly in all class discussions.
  • Over time, they will start getting more comfortable. In a way, you’ll be forcing them to face their fear of speaking up, and the only way to overcome a fear is by facing it.

Blended Learning Is Making Education Better

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.

Jessica Freeman is a journalist and a freelance content writer at AustralianWritings. She enjoys writing about education, teaching, and career. Meet her on Facebook and Google+.

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