The concept of blended learning has been discussed in education circles for many years.
Now, the harsh reality of the coronavirus pandemic has led to a new focus on the effective mixing of in-class “traditional” learning and digital strategies. Finding ways to teach your blended classroom is something you really need to master.
We recently wrote about why we think blended learning could be the future of education on the DaDesktop blog, and today we are going a step further by sharing 3 ways that you can teach blended learning in your classroom.
Whether you are a primary school, high school, or post-secondary educator these tips can be useful for you. The same applies to online corporate trainers or anyone else who is teaching in a blended learning environment.
But before we share our advice, let’s take a little time to define blended learning.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is an approach that combines online educational materials with traditional place-based classroom methods. Lets talk about ways to teach your blended classroom.
A good example of this could be when online and in-class learning is rotated over a period of time for a specific class, or when students can choose for themselves whether to participate in lessons in person or online.
The purpose of this style of learning is to play to the strengths of the online environment, which is better suited to some student learning styles. It also allows for greater flexibility for students who have other commitments in their life and can benefit from having the choice of logging in from their kitchen table or showing up in person.
Now that we have a better idea of what blended learning really means, let’s discuss how you can put it into action in your classroom.
Strategies for Teaching the Blended Classroom
Blending Using Video and Engagement
Using video in the blended classroom might be the most popular method out there. However, it is also the most commonly misused method as well.
Many educators employ blended learning in the “flipped classroom” (where students review lectures online by themselves, then participate in an in-person group discussion about the content) by providing videos for their students to watch, then talking about it in class.
However, this is an incomplete way to accomplish the purpose of this activity: engagement. Students need to be engaged while they are watching a video which can be done using a tool like EDpuzzleor PlayPosit.
These tools prompt the student to interact while watching video content, providing useful feedback for instructors and leading to better-informed students arriving for in-person discussion.
This is an effective method for today’s multimedia-savvy students, and it is relatively easy to implement. All you need is high-quality educational video, and some basic skills in the interactive video tools mentioned above.
Providing a Seamless Transition for Students
Regardless of whether you are a high school geography teacher or an online data science instructor, your students will have a diverse range of strengths and learning styles.
This means that they will react to the shift to blended learning in different ways. You need to account for this.
First, allow flexible deadlines when students are starting out with self-paced learning. Students need time to optimize their workflow and get used to the technology that they are using, so it is unwise to pressure them with “high stakes” deadlines.
Next, provide time estimates for how long self-paced online lessons should take. This is especially important because many students will have fewer relationships with other students when they are learning from home, and this isolation can make it difficult for them to decide how much time their studies should take.
Finally, make yourself available for feedback throughout the transition to blended learning – not just at the very end. Expect to make tweaks along the way to provide a better experience for your students. This is a great way to teach your blended classroom.
Try Out Gamification
Gamification is a popular concept on the DaDesktop blog. It may seem like we bring it up whenever we need an easy pick for a strategy to bring into your classroom – but that’s because it gets the job done well.
In the blended learning environment, gamification can be a great way for students to take part in engaging, effective practice during the online portion of their schedule.
Tools like Kahoot and Quizlet can be used to create quiz-style games for students to practice difficult concepts. This is especially useful in language classes, where memorization-based learning happens throughout, and students want a fun way to internalize a long list of verb conjugations or greetings.
In addition, most of these tools allow you to create leaderboards and tournaments. This type of healthy competition can bring a lot of engagement out of normally idle students – especially if a real-world reward (like a Starbucks gift card) is used.
This data collection also gives useful insights to the instructor. You will be able to identify gaps in your student’s learning, and help individuals who are falling behind on certain subjects.
Most importantly, it’s fun for your students to compete and engage with each other in a healthy way. The pandemic has had widespread effects on student mental health, and some fun and games can help to combat loneliness and isolation.
Blended Learning with DaDesktop
If you are thinking about bringing blended learning in your classroom, or you want to improve your existing blended curriculum, then finding the right virtual teaching platform is essential.
Effective blended learning needs a robust, easy-to-use platform where you can store class material, hold video chats for your students, and much more.
If you don’t have a platform like this that you can rely on, you might end up with several disjointed tools that don’t work well with each other. This leads to higher costs, a steep learning curve, and much more stress.
This is where DaDesktop comes in.
DaDesktop is a full-featured virtual teaching platform that was created to make teaching online easy.
In addition to competitive pricing and dedicated service, DaDesktop has all the features that the modern teacher needs, including:
- Video, audio, and group texting
- Unlimited course storage
- Screen sharing
- Group breakout rooms
- Quick and easy setup
Interested in trying out these features? DaDesktop offers a FREE 30 day unlimited use trial with no credit card required.