Blended learning programs essentially combine classroom time with online learning and give students an element of control over their learning, in terms of time, place, path, or pace. This concept and way of thinking is becoming a rule rather than the exception in the 21st century classroom. However, rolling out a blended learning environment can feel intimidating. So how do you not feel overwhelmed whilst rolling one out? That’s where we can help! We’ve put together five ideas to help you start implementing technology in your classroom and with building a blended learning environment.
Encourage Your Students to Blog
By encouraging your students to start blog writing, you can create yourself a fantastic first step in crafting a blended learning environment. Not only does it help build their English and literacy skills but it also supports them with learning about digital citizenship and internet safety. As well as this, blogging also gives students a platform to collaborate, reflect, and express any ideas.
Set Up a Safe Social Media Page
Utilize technology in the classroom and use something your students may be very familiar with… social media! There are so many creative ways to incorporate social media in the classroom. You could utilize Instagram to send your students on a photo scavenger hunt or take a book or a piece of literature you’re reading or exploring as a class, and then task your students with finding related items and posting photos. As well as this, try allowing one or more students to participate in a “takeover”, allowing them to post on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for a week at a time. You can encourage them to freely share relevant photos, showcase students’ work, post about class progress, or share resources related to classwork.
We’d recommend setting any class social media account to “private”, getting signed photo release forms for students and checking your school’s technology policies before you start.
Use Visual Presentations to Present Topics
You could also become a certified TED-Ed Club teacher, which schools from all over the world have joined, and ask your students to present “TED-style” talks to share on a web page. One idea is to ask your students whether they have a topic they’re interested in or feel strongly about, then task them with researching it and recording it in a presentation-style format. Not only will this help students with exploring any digital presence but it will also help with them realizing they can voice any fair opinions, engage with an authentic audience, and network with others worldwide.
Utilize Infographics to Convey Meaning
Some classes may sigh at the word “research”, but you can help your students become excited about the next research project you task them with by asking them to present their findings through an infographic. These are great for improving comprehension and are ideal for conveying complex messages rather than through text. Not only this, you can also incorporate blended learning well with infographics and there are many user-friendly, free online tools for creating them, such as Canva and Piktochart. It’s definitely a fun way of researching!
Differentiate Learning with Video Content
Using video in your classroom can help with meeting differentiated learning objectives. By using Skype, students can connect with others – whether that’s another classroom across the hall or another school worldwide you’re partnered with. Plus there are interactive virtual field trips you can go on to help your students visit iconic locations worldwide such as the Louvre Museum in Paris.
By using these tips and experimentation, you’ll be helping yourself in successfully incorporating blended learning in your classroom and making learning even more fun.
Want more information on blended learning? Take a look at our webinar delivered by Tony Skauge, Services Program Manager at Edmentum International, on the five biggest pitfalls of blended learning and tips on how to avoid them.