Today is part 3 in a 3 part series from Dr. Jenny Hooie, author of Blend: Implement Blended Learning In Seven Days or Less. She also teaches online courses in blended learning. Part 1 can be found here. Part 2 can be found here.
Blended Learning: Putting the Pieces Together
In the previous two posts, we have defined blended learning and implemented a single blended lesson. Now that you have tried blended learning you may be prepared to expand to a larger blended project. In order to implement on a regular basis you need to address three areas: device, content and design.
Device: There is a common misunderstanding that every student must have a device and sometimes even that every student must have the same device in order to implement any blended learning strategy. Let me be very clear about this: THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE! Yes, since the learning tools and content will be on the web, students must have access. However, there are many ways to deal with this need. Keep in mind one of the main goals for implementing blended learning in the first place, is to provide individualized learning and different learning paths for students. All students sitting in a classroom doing the same activity, even if they all have a computer or tablet in front of them, is no different from traditional instruction. Three possible options include a handful of devices (gather any technology you can to use in small groups in your classroom, remember the devices must access the internet), BYOT (Students use their own devices at school or at home) and Labs/Carts (existing groups of computers in the building).
Content: Once you have the device and know how the students will access the lessons or activities, you now have to consider the question – what?
- What content will the students access?
- What tools/applications will we use? I suggest begin by searching the free resources/lessons/activities on the internet. There are literally so many resources that you can easily become overwhelmed. I suggest setting aside 20-30 minutes each week to search and explore resources. Realistically, once you start this it can turn into hours, so I sometimes set a time limit for myself.
Design: You have now considered the Device and the Content, the final consideration is putting it all together in an instructional design. This is the art of putting it all together and creating a learning path for each student that matches his or her instructional needs. To do this you will need a Learning Management System (LMS). There are less structured resources like Edmodo (www.edmodo.com), which looks like a social media site and more structured options like Schoology (www.schoology.com). Again, a quick internet search for a free LMS will provide tons for you to explore.
Once you have these three areas, the options for creating blended learning lessons and units are endless.
About the Author:
Dr. Jenny Hooie is an educational innovator with over twenty years of experience as a teacher, administrator and professional development facilitator. Her doctorate in the area of Instructional Design for Online Learning combined with her real world experience in classrooms, and her professional development work with practicing teachers make her the perfect guide as you explore blended learning strategies and make them part of your daily classroom instruction. Jenny is currently the Chief Instructional Officer for Tri Rivers Educational Computer Association and Chief Executive Officer of Instructional Design Innovations. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.