As a follow up to the 2nd Annual Blended Learning Conference that was organized by the Highlander Institute, we will be focusing this weeks #edchatri on Blended Learning.
Blended Learning is one of the hottest topics in education today, but it is important to first understand what Blended Learning actually is.
Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace. Blended Learning (Staker / Horn - May 2012)
Blended learning is a form of education that combines face-to-face classroom methods with computer-mediated activities. According to its proponents, the strategy creates a more integrated approach for both instructors and students.
What are we doing as educators to involve our students more in the learning process and how are we utilizing the technology that is available to us and that our students have grown up with to better connect them with the learning.
Many educators today still follow an Instructivist approach to teaching, where they are the deliverer of the knowledge and the students are the receivers. With Blended Learning, however we can now move to a more Constructivist approach, which allows us to deliver the ideas, plans and focus and to facilitate the learning with the students through the use of technology. Perhaps the final goal though should be a Connectivist approach to learning, whereby the students develop the ideas, the knowledge and the delivery of the learning and the instructor fully relinquishes ownership of the learning process and path to the learner.
These questions and ideas will be the focus of Sunday night's discussion on #edchatri. Join us as we look to better understand and perhaps implement the Blended Learning Process.
As we look at the process of Education Reform, we are constantly trying to determine what reforms we need to make to ed reform to make it work. There are tremendous amounts of political involvement and pressure (Race to the Top), both domestic and international (TIMMS).
However with all of this pressure, on administrators, teachers and students, are there unintended consequences that this reform is bringing.
Why is it that 50 years ago the United States was one of the leaders of the educational world and today we are somewhere near the middle of the pack. What have we changed so much for the worse, or is it that the rest of the world has just done more or done better. Do we need to get back to the roots of what we used to do, or has technology changed education so much that going back to what we used to do will no longer have the same affect.
How can we improve the work we are doing today. How can we seek and retain the best and brightest candidates for our extremely valuable profession. In the countries that are doing the best on the world scene the teaching profession is a highly regarded and sought after profession, one that is respected and dignified in society. What can we do in our country to make sure that educators get the same respect.
How can we better work together for the benefit of our students. No more playing the blame game and creating a separation between teachers and administrators, public and charter, districts and state level. Let's come together on Sunday night at 8 PM on #edchatri and discuss these very important questions and begin to develop answers that will help us to Reform Ed Reform for our future and the future of our students.
In more recent years the US has dropped from it's summit in the world educational ranking to the middle of the pack. There are various reasons attributed to that decline, but let's start by looking at how developing trust and safety could affect our nations transformation in education.
A week or two ago our friend and colleague Joe Mazza visited Finland to learn about what they are doing as a country to meet with such tremendous results and one of the main points that was shared was that from a young age their is a tremendous amount of trust placed on the young students in Finland. Another observation that Joe shared was "that children here are more comfortable and treat their school like their home. Students don’t vandalize, mistreat school materials, or litter in their schools. I feel that this is at least partly due to the fact that teachers try to create an environment that mimics their home as closely as possible."
In many Asian countries the approach is much different, but the results are similar. There is a much stronger focus on the rigor that is being delivered and the amount of time spent at school during the school day as well as extending the school year.
Here in the United States as we begin our transformation we seem to be looking more toward the Asian approach, by looking to extend the school day and even the school year and devoting more of a focus to the core subjects, at the expense of the arts, something that Finland does not support.
What is the correct approach, or is it a balance of both? Join us Sunday night at 8 PM on #edchatri as we take a closer look at this very important issue.
Don Miller -