Despite its name, blended learning is not a method of learning at all. Instead, blended learning is a new and successful way of teaching that includes both in-class and on-your-own education resources and lessons. Even more accurately, blended learning means that those on-your-own learning opportunities are either delivered online or in engaging and interactive ways – and usually both.
…on-your-own learning opportunities are either delivered online or in engaging and interactive ways – and usually both.
For many educators and education professionals blended learning is the next step in the evolution of teaching – leveraging the latest in technology tools and resources, increasing efficiency for both teachers and students and opening gateways to truly individualized, custom teaching and learning.
Blended learning has many advantages over traditional and even over other modern approaches. But before jumping into those, it’s worth noting how the term and trend developed.
The Internet Brought Us Here
Like just about everything else, the internet changed the way people think about education, the very process of passing information and skills from one place to another.
From the outset, education pioneers saw potential and power in online learning. Early adapters, educators, and entrepreneurs saw a new, internet-driven model in which education resources were open to anyone, anywhere, fundamentally and forever changing what it would mean to be a teacher or a student. A new, open education model could be universally accessible and free, or nearly free, to everyone.
In the process of investing in the idea of an internet-powered free and universal education, teachers and schools moved a massive amount of teaching and learning resources online and experimented with new teaching and classroom models. One of these was the “flipped classroom” in which instructors and education resources (digitally) came to students rather than students physically coming to a classroom. Learning would be remote, unconfined by costly and limited physical space.
At the same time, in the process of making teaching tools and experiences available outside the classroom, many education innovators and practitioners were careful not to discount or undermine the indispensable role of quality teachers, the benefits of face-to-face discussions, and quality control provided by institutions.
The result has been an educational merger – blending the transformative power of the internet’s new education tools and learning outside the classroom with the proven successes of teacher and school-centered, in-class learning.
That’s blended learning.
Teachers still teach students in classrooms. But a universe of new and exciting resources is being pulled into those classrooms, changing what it feels like to be in school. Assessments are handled digitally and graded more accurately and more efficiently. Experts in space exploration or archeology are a video-conference away and teachers can track, in real time, what their students are learning and how they are learning it.
At the same time, blended learning programs are changing homework from work you do at home to engaging and customizable learning at home– or wherever a student is. Gone is boring chapter reading. Blended learning resources now include engaging videos, games, augmented reality, 3-D anatomy, and alphabet lessons and learning vocabulary by reading today’s newspaper.
And the benefits are easy to see.
Read Nearpod success stories for details about how Nearpod fits into this modern approach to education.
The new blended learning approach has students connecting with more information more often through platforms and processes that increase retention and comprehension. The explosion of online and interactive resources has diversified learning in ways that make it flexible based on individual teacher, student or classroom needs.
New technology that connects blended learning lessons and assessments directly with the teacher, school leaders and parents, has created an explosion in family and administrative engagement. Parents no longer have to ask what their kids learned in school, they can see it themselves. And that same technology has liberated teachers to spend more time mentoring and teaching and less time grading and disciplining.
technology has liberated teachers to spend more time mentoring and teaching and less time grading and disciplining.
Blended learning has also made lesson planning and meeting learning standards easier and more effective because teachers can share best practices and resources in ways that were simply implausible just a few years ago. In fact, now parents, teachers, students, administrators, policy leaders, and outside experts all not only use new interactive and tech-driven education tools, but add to those tools as well – creating and sharing their own education innovations.
Where We Fit
That’s where Nearpod comes in. Think of us as the hub of blended and interactive learning. We help teachers and schools create and share exciting, successful, tech-driven learning resources and we help connect students and teachers with those resources. We enable education sharing and student assessment and deploy proven methods that drive student engagement.
Blending learning is not just the now of education, it’s the future too. The very best teachers and experts will develop the highest-quality ways of teaching what they know – whether that’s hands-on, project-based, by video, through game play or something else. And entire libraries of different approaches and tools to teach and engage students will be at the fingertips of every teacher to meet the needs of any student.
In many ways, that’s happening already as teachers and other education leaders create and share more tech-driven, engaging content. As they do, we all move closer to finding an ever better meaning for the term “blended learning” – learning how to maximize and merge these exciting resources to benefit every learner. Download your Essentials today.