Having completed Week 1 of FutureLearn‘s online course with the University of Leeds on Blended Learning Essentials, I am happy to say that I have learnt a lot of valuable information over the past five days.
During Week 1 of the course, we were encouraged to explore our perceptions of what blended learning means to us, then we discovered what blended learning really means within the context of learning and teaching.
To simplify what I have learnt I will provide a brief summation of my perceptions vs. what blended learning really means.
Using technology as the main learning/teaching tool in the classroom
Coursework takes place online.
Students able to identify with technology and therefore work better and more comfortably.
Infinite access to resources via internet.
Forums for discussions and research debate.
Technological devices provide task instructions.
Teacher as a facilitator and not leader/informant/participant.
What I learnt:
Use of technology is not the only tool you can blend into class, books, materials and such can be used to blend into the lesson for tactile and resourceful learning methods.
Coursework can take place online and submitted online, however, not always entirely online as the learner/teacher may be required to research offline.
Students participate in a blend of various teaching materials, including technology, to assist the teacher in creating a creative, innovative, enthusiastic and interesting working and learning environment. The blend of traditional/conventional teaching and learning methods are livened up with the incorporation of various materials that are fresh and exciting to the learning environment.
Blended learning transcends age and lifestyle.
Confidence with technology increases employability.
Blended learning allows for students to move at their own pace, therefore allowing students to focus on developing their skills and knowledge without the pressure of having to complete a task within a pressured time frame.
Infinite access to resources via various platforms and mediums- internet, computer systems, books and objects. Rather than the traditional pen, paper, whiteboard.
Forums for discussions can take place within the classroom verbally, or students can engage further, outside of the classroom via online forums- remote communication is easily accessible and encourages students to discuss and engage outside of the classroom space and in the outside world.
Teacher is not replaced by technology, but rather uses technology to assist in their teaching methods, such as showing a few clips on YouTube to demonstrate something, or using objects to show literally/figuratively what is being discussed in the coursework. A teacher can encourage students to explore further online, but should not allow technology to do the teaching. Nothing can replace the importance of a connection between teacher and learner. Human to human interaction is still important and highly valued in blended learning which is evident in the emphasis of communication amongst learners and teacher.
If you’d like to read up more on what Blended Learning means and entails then have a look at the following links below: