Blended Learning – the latest trend in K-12 Education

The Horizon report lists Blended Learning as one the top trends for K-12 education (Johnson et al., 2015).

Blending for time, place, space and learner control. Blending for time, place, space and learner control.What exactly is blended learning?

Blended learning, is an emerging term describing face-to-face learning with online learning. In its essence, blended learning is seen to have the potential to transform learning by personalizing learning and providing learners with varied approaches to learn at their own pace, space, and time and pathways.  With technology readily and Internet access available, blended learning is seen by some as an approach that so significantly changes learning it is causing the world to re-think whole education systems (US Department of Education Office of Technology, 2014; UNESCO, 2014)

Examples of approaches to blended learning include “Flipped Learning” where students access learning resources outside of class and then participate in other learning activities when face to face. Other approaches, although sometimes considered merely an extension of ICT integration, include providing instruction and resources online supplemented by in-class experiences with and without technology. This approach gives learners the ability to pause, rewind and revisit instructions and resources as needed. Other approaches include activities, lessons or even courses entirely outsourced to third party providers (think Pearsons).

So what is being blended?

What is being blended is digital and physical, teacher time with students, and home and school!

What does blended learning look like in a primary school?

The take up of virtual learning environments is telling with over 80 million users between Edmodo and Google Classroom (see their websites for up to date numbers). While there is no prescribed approach to blended learning, these sites, as well as the multitude of LMS’s available show that primary educators are incorporating some sort of platform for learning. Reasons vary, but here are some I’ve found:

  1. Resources
  2. Workflow for student created digital artifacts (eg. Books, Movies)
  3. Collaborate on multi-user documents
  4. Collaborate with other students
  5. Provide Feedback on digital media texts
  6. Communicate with instructor
  7. Connect home and school

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC horizon report: 2015 K-12 edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://www.nmc-.org

UNESCO. (2014). UNESCO education strategy 2014-2021. Paris, France: UNESCO. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org

U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Educational Technology. (2014). Future Ready Schools: Building Technology Infrastructure for Learning, 70 p. Retrieved from http://tech.ed.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Future-Ready-Schools-Building-Technology-Infrastructure-for-Learning-….pdf

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