Blended Learning is Crap

Only kidding…I just wanted you to read this post (which by the way, is extremely behind schedule).

But I have a good excuse! (continue reading to find out)

In my opinion, blended learning is really a balanced approach to giving students a global perspective, while also supporting the community benefits of learning that are provided through a face-to-face teaching approach.

Many parents that have students enrolled in online schooling express the concern of limited socialization. While online schooling has recognized this concern and have made attempts to offer more social events (even sports and clubs), I feel that there is a lot of ‘lessons’ that are learned though the interactions that simply can’t be replicated in online learning.

Think of the learning that occurs at lunch?! Rushing to get there, fighting for your spot in line (all the while ensuring no one is cutting), finding a seat with your friends, and getting over mystery meat. In 30 minutes! While it sounds silly, I’m not joking. Learning is occurring and I don’t feel that online learning addresses that learning.

On the flip side, I recognize that traditional schooling is missing a lot, particularly in the area of personalized learning. Teachers can try very hard to personalize the delivery of the content, but we have little control over personalizing the actual content. When I was in high school I wanted to take German, but we didn’t have that as an option. So I took Spanish. I did fine, but I wasn’t anywhere near as motivated or as engaged as I may have been had I been able to take the course that actually interested me. This is where blended learning comes into play. With the increase in online course options, there is no reason why students should have to take an “all or nothing” approach to the type of schooling. Blended learning is a combination of the two. Blended learning allows the students to guide their own learning based on their strengths and interests, while still benefitting from the human interaction and support from teachers and peers. The teacher truly is the facilitator rather than the instructor.

Unfortunately I have observed some schools that are “implementing blended learning” when in actuality, it is merely a teachers aide monitoring a computer lab.

If you are interested in blended learning, Education Elements just released a Blended Learning Teacher Rubric

Want more? EdSurge has an entire topic dedicated to Blended Learning

So my reason for being late – I have none. But at least you read my post 🙂

2 Replies to “Blended Learning is Crap”

  1. Don't ever worry about posting outside of the arbitrary deadlines of this challenge–the point is to motivate people to write an engage on important topics. You are doing that which means you win. No further qualifications necessary.

    Your hook totally worked–I wanted to find out what you had to say!

    You may find some commiseration with Ted's post this week. I'm currently sparring with him about it, but you might also find that is aligns with some of your thinking. http://bowtieteacher.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/teaching-in-the-age-of-personalization-technology/

    I agree with you about the potential for blended learning, but I have yet to see it actualized in our school district. Too often it's a cop-out for either the students or the teacher or both. It's less rigorous, less engaging instruction that has none of the benefits of the "extra" learning that comes with physically attending the class.

    However, I can imagine this amazing world where it opens doors and incredible opportunities. I choose to believe in this vision and work toward it with the resources and innovations I have. Someday, I would love to open my own school with a blended learning model in place.

  2. I must say that I do like your writing style. Your conversation flows very well.

    In regards to the topic: Maybe I am just getting older but it seems like each new philosophy/style/curriculum/teaching method is coming at us so fast. I remember when we heard about a new approach, tried it out, experimented with it and then implemented it. It seems like we don't even get training any more on new approaches and we are forced to implement them.

    Not that I am against Blended/Online Learning. I am all for learning and teaching with the newest "stuff" and instructing with it. But, as you say sometimes it is just a teacher monitoring a computer lab and I wish this wasn't the case.

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