• 16 of the Best Blended Learning Resources

    In February 2014, Edreform.com published a paper on digital and blended learning that points out over “68 percent of parents support digital learning” and “digital learning has tri-partisan support, with 61 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Independents, and 67 percent of Democrats in favor.” Such strong support may make blended learning the future standard for education. How can you make blended learning a success in your school or classroom? The following resources explore the topic from various angles.

    Become a Blended Learning Expert

    Image via Flickr by flickingerbrad

    Blended learning uses both in-person and online methods to teach students, and there are several different models for implementing it in the classroom. These resources explain the basics of blended learning, but they also dig deeper and can help you decide which approach may be best for your students.

    • In February 2014, Edudemic posted an article that details the basics of what blended learning is, and outlines the building blocks of a successful program. The infographic highlights the keys for planning, implementing, and improving any blended learning approach.
    • The Ed Tech part of Knewton’s website gives us a succinct overview of blended learning, but it goes even further. This article discusses the value of project-based learning in a school environment that relies heavily on technology and self-propelled learning. It also addresses the unique benefits of having a multi-age classroom.
    • Flipped learning is one of the blended learning models. This article from Edutopia gives tips for flipping a project-based learning classroom. The tips include things like using short videos, encouraging collaborative virtual work, and considering the scope of technology that is available to students.
    • iNACOL posted a webinar on their YouTube channel that shares the expertise of two highly regarded educators in the field of blended learning. Tenesha Dixon and Shane Donovan both have personal experience implementing blended learning, and they were both 2013 CityBridge Foundation Education Innovation Fellows.
    • At their 2014 conference, the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) included a segment on how to teach using blended learning. The program is about an hour and a half long and features the insights of Harvard faculty members. While the information stays centered around college courses, the principles discussed can be applied to K-12 classrooms as well.
    • Blended learning is flexible, and it addresses the needs of individual students. Recognizing that, the University of Wisconsin shared an article entitled “Blended Learning Theory and Design Principles” that delves into some of the implications of this type of teaching. It also gives a brief description of the kinds of learning styles that students may have.
    • This paper from Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innova... relates how school superintendents in California addressed the challenges that come along with implementing a blending learning program. It tackles topics such as how blended learning affects teachers’ roles and how to manage a school infrastructure that is based on technology.
    • TeachThought explains six models of and platforms for blended learning. The article gives a brief description of flipped classrooms, social media blending, and project-based learning, among other things.

    Tools to Make Blended Learning Work

    Knowing the theories and models of blended learning is the first step toward making it a success in your classroom. You also need a toolkit that helps you reach students’ heads and hearts whether you are online or face to face. The following resources give ideas on some of the methods and technology that you can use to bolster student learning.

    • Blended learning is about more than teachers and technology. It is also about schools — that is, the buildings that serve as schools. The founder and CEO of Getting Smart gives his opinion on the space specifications that can contribute to a successful program. Of course, most schools aren’t in a position where a big remodel is an option, but most can make minor adjustments to their space that foster an effective blended learning approach.
    • Videos often play a key role in blended learning. Edutopia offers a list of interactive tools that you can use to make videos have more of an impact on your students. You can add text and discussion to videos or even blend a few videos together.
    • The Blended Learning Blog from blendedlearningpd.com gives a list of projects and tools that you can use to help students engage with you and with one another. There are ideas for several subjects, including math, science, language arts, and music.
    • Adjusting to blended learning may mean adjusting how you motivate your students. Dellicker Strategies provides a brief overview of how to encourage students to thrive in a blended learning environment. The article goes over three things that teachers should try to cultivate in students, namely autonomy, priority, and visibility.
    • Making the switch to blended learning does not necessitate changes to everything you do; forging solid bonds with your students will always remain a key to efficacy. The American Psychological Association (APA) goes over tips for improving students’ relationship with their teachers and shares examples of successful, positive student-teacher relationships, which include communication, a comfortable learning environment, respect, and equity.
    • Because blended learning grants a level of independence to students, you may have to put some effort into teaching them effective time management skills. This article from LifeHacker discusses how managers can help employees manage time well, but you can adapt the ideas there to help your students.
    • This article from classicallyhomeschooling.com is another resource for teaching time management. It gives three steps that lead to time well-used: breaking big projects into small pieces, prioritizing tasks, and focusing on the task at hand. The article aims at parents who homeschool their children, but you can use some of the ideas in the classroom. In addition, you can share the ideas with parents who are unsure about how to help their children get through homework as efficiently as possible.
    • EdTechReview provides a short description of some popular tech tools that teachers use in blended classrooms. The tools include Edmodo, GoClass, Been for Education, Broadcast, and others.

    Has your school already made the switch to blended learning, or is it still just playing with the idea? In either case, familiarizing yourself with the above resources can help you keep in step with this new and important trend in learning.

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