Today, educators all around the world are rethinking the traditional school model as they are expected to personalize learning and boost achievement. The changing paradigms in education and the expectations of the society have resulted in new learning models, one of which is blended learning. Blended learning is a shift to an online environment for at least a portion of the school day. This digital portion gives the students the opportunity to study at their own pace and get personalized instruction targeted to their needs and tailored to their unique learning styles. The videos below describe the fundamentals of blended learning:
While planning blended learning, educators should start with learning goals and decide on platform and content accordingly. Learning tools should never dictate the learning goals. Blended learning allows students to learn some of the academic content at home and gives teachers the ability to engage students in a richer, deeper, and more meaningful context in the classroom. Therefore, teachers can maximize their teaching abilities and be more creative in their ways of educating students. In the video below the founder of Khan Academy, Salman Khan sketches a plan on how digital learning tools can enable teachers and students to allocate more time for real-life creative learning experiences:
SOURCE: DIGITAL LEARNING NOW!
Flipped Learning is one type of blended learning in which the classroom activities and homework elements of a course are reversed. Students watch short video lectures at home before the class session so that more time can be allocated for social interaction, discussions, active and experiential learning experience, critical thinking and problem solving activities, inquiry learning and creative projects during class time. Teachers should check understanding to group students according to their levels and assign tasks accordingly. Student advancement should be based upon competency and mastery of the material. Differentiated instruction, active learning and student engagement are the key concepts in a flipped classroom where students are expected to take full responsibility for their learning. During class time, teachers function as coaches or advisors, encouraging students in individual inquiry and collaborative effort.
In the YouTube video below, 8th grade math teacher, Katie explains why she is using the flipped classroom model:
Video lectures are either created by the teacher and posted online or selected from a website. The YouTube video below gives tips on how to do that:
Flipped Learning has its pros and cons like all the other learning models. I personally think that all learning models that are student-centered, that enhance higher order thinking skills and creativity, and help students internalize the other 21st century skills will enhance learning and will eventually contribute to their test-prep skills much more than the teach-to-the-test models.
Some free resources that teachers can use for blended or flipped learning are listed in the slides below:
However, flipped learning is not about finding and using resources and tools. It is about the learning that takes place in the classroom. Teachers should be active participants in this learning model, which makes technology the tool, not the focus. Therefore, professional development on blended or flipped learning should not only focus on the use of technology, but cover key areas in learning such as differentiated instruction and inquiry-based learning. Moreover, teachers should be equipped with effective classroom management skills as inspired and passionate classroom facilitators, creating environments where students thrive.
If they are implemented correctly, blended and flipped learning models may have a positive impact on education in new learning environments that work better for students and teachers. Therefore, schools should invest in training and development. They should also plan scheduling to enable teachers to collaborate, develop, and analyze student data in-school time; and give them credit and accountability for the growth of their students. Flipped learning, together with a supportive school environment that values 21st century skills and effective leveraging of new technologies to enhance student inquiry and personalize learning, has the potential to transform education. Teachers who want more information on flipped learning, can watch the Flipping playlist by Spartan Guides below and check the EdSurge page on blended learning.
What do you think about blended learning? Have you flipped your classes? If so, please let me know about your experience.