If you’ve been following our series of posts on blended learning, you may be anxious to jump right in and start reaping the benefits of incorporating online learning components into your classroom.
One thing to keep in mind is that there’s more to blended learning than just putting some assignments on an online portal and calling it a day. Effective blended learning takes preparation, trial and error, and tenacity – much like every day teaching does.
Researchers from Columbia University followed a school for an entire year through their transition to a school-wide blended learning model and made the following recommendations based on their observations:
- Teachers need to be fully prepared for what blended learning entails – When things got frustrating or difficult, teachers tended to return to the teaching style and practices that they were most comfortable with – and can you blame them? Before rolling out your own blended learning initiative, be sure your teachers understand the technology you’re using and that teachers in every department and grade level understand the benefit of your blended learning program and that they’ve had ample professional development opportunities to learn all there is to know.
- Assessments and assignments should be tested – Especially if you’re using online assessments as a way to determine whether your blended learning initiative is successful, you want to make sure those tests and assignments are well constructed and are producing meaningful results before turning students loose. You may find that tried-and-true assessments do not translate well to an online environment or need additional instructions to be clear.
- The classroom environment and day-to-day activities still need to be planned – With students potentially working on different tasks at different times, knowing how the physical classroom space will be organized is important for good classroom management. Additionally, as teachers transition to more of a facilitator role for online activities, students must be able to be somewhat self-sufficient at using the blended learning platform and teachers have to be comfortable with monitoring and assisting students in using it. This takes planning and practice, just as any lesson or activity would.
At Twine, we are excited about helping schools, passionate about transforming learning and focused on improving student achievement. We are proud to provide technology solutions that help schools achieve their goals. Learn more by talking with one of our experts. Contact us.