“My teacher hands us a worksheet, opens up her computer and sits there. We use the online book and fill out the worksheet. It’s so boring.”
Stories like these make me cringe. So often students experience a digitized assignment rather than a blended learning experience while they are at school. What is the difference between digitized and blended? Let’s look at an example.
Simply taking the physical world and making it available in the digital world is not best practice and is not a blended learning experience. In a blended learning environment, there is a clear path for students to access materials and collaborate in an online space. This blended learning workflow enables students to have choice in the pace, path, place, and time of the learning since the materials are available online, anytime. Blended learning occurs when teachers implement blended classroom models, such as a station rotation model, and design the learning environment that engages students in online and face to face learning activities that are directly tied to the curriculum.
A four station rotation can look like this:
When we start our classroom coaching in our iPad Academy, we begin with developing a blended learning workflow. Once students and teachers know how to push and pull content to the iPad, we introduce the in-class flip. The in-class flip duplicates the teacher and allows them to strategically repurpose class time. Teachers create short video lessons (less than ten minutes in length), share them in Schoology, and teach students the expectations of how to view and learn from a video lesson. The goal of the repurposed class time is to create conditions for every student to learn.
Pairing the in-class flip with the blended learning station rotation model affords the teacher the ability to work with small groups of students every day as they rotate through the stations. The station rotation workflow enables the teacher to personalize the stations and provide opportunities for student creation and choice in how they want to demonstrate mastery of a concept. When students have choice over how they can work with the material and learn the concepts, they begin to look at their own formative data, set their own learning goals, and work with the content in a variety of ways that help them learn best and gain deeper meaning of the concepts.
When students learn in a blended learning classroom, engagement increases because students have more control over the time, pace, place and path of their learning. Blended learning models break the old cycles of sit and get, lecture based instruction and transform it to an engaging student focused environment.
To see the blended learning station rotation model in action, take a minute to listen to our iPad Academy high school social studies teacher, Sara Fjell, talk about what learning looks like in her 1:1 blended classroom.
Written by Ann Feldmann