This blog post is part of the CM Rubin World Global Search for Education which poses a question each month to leading educators for reflection and sharing. This month’s question is “To what extent is this a new model of learning in a digital age? Is blended learning becoming yet another overhyped myth? What lessons learned can you share from your own school community?”
Blended learning is a disputed term among academics and one may find what it is NOT, rather than what it IS. With the changing landscape of education and more technology in the classroom, educators are (consciously or unconsciously) employing this type of learning. In 2009, I entered the world of blended learning after the school I taught at implemented a 1 to 1 laptop initiative which placed computers in the hands of all students (grade 6-12) that they used in the classroom and brought home with them each night. Because of this experience and through conversations I have had with other educators in similar education ecosystems, I believe that blended learning is a combination of traditional teaching methods and digital ones. Blended Learning combines the best of both worlds and allows student control over time, place, pace, and/or path.
Educators who are sound in content and pedagogy are often high-impact blended learning teachers as well. Through reflection and conversation, blended learning teachers possess similar virtues:
- Uninhibited Creativity in delivery and content of learning
- Sees Failure as Opportunities for Growth and gains achieved through perseverance
- Seeks out Opportunities for Improvement
- Reflective in Practice and on student achievement
- Student-centered and Relinquishes Control of elements in traditional teaching
- Sees Technological Differentiation as a Way to Meet All Students’ Needs
- Recognizes Multidimensional and Multimodal Learning as Relevant and Engaging
Teacher virtues in both a traditional or blended environment extend across both and most, are interchangeable in either environment. Technology or blended learning does not automatically make one better. In fact, through experience, it does quite the opposite, magnifying poor classroom management or lack of understanding of content or pedagogy. Effective blended teachers are always effective classroom teachers but the opposite may not be true. To be a high-impact blended teacher it takes creativity, understanding, resourcefulness, and reflection in a digital learning space.