Ten Ideas To Move Classroom Technology Closer To Blended Learning

There has been a lot of discussion as to what blended learning really means. Most of us have come to realize that it probably involves the classroom and technology. In fact, 1 to 1 programs across the nation emphasize technology as an important component of classroom instruction. Yet, is emphasizing technology in the classroom really Blended Learning? The answer is… maybe! A closer look needs to be taken in order to see how the technology is being used.

As we employ the 1 to 1 experience, we need to ask two important questions. Is the 1 to 1 and the device about using technology, or is it about a more meaningful and engaging learning experience? Spending a day online for individual research can be a wonderful, simple integration of technology experience, but might not be a true blended learning opportunity. Asking students to research and then collaborate with each other online in a collective experience takes this integration and provides more of a blended experience.

The Blended Learning Experience

The blended learning experience allows technology and the online experience to breakdown the traditional classroom allowing important transformation. One might wonder where on the spectrum of simple integration to blending learning a possible learning activity might be. I would like to share a lens of ten ideas that educators may wish to look at as they reflect on their 1 to 1 activity and classroom learning experiences that use technology. Sometimes it is just a simple tweak to bring out the wonderful possibilities of blended learning. Please feel free to read my ideas below that might allow you to use classroom technology to bring out a richer and blended learning experience.

10 Ideas for Using One to One for Blended Learning

Use Technology to:

  1. Reach beyond the classroom walls for learning opportunities, collaboration, and audience
  2. Create a student driven/centered learning environment
  3. Allow for collaborative experiences in and out of the classroom
  4. Permit student control over learning, allowing for important voice and choice
  5. Provide opportunities for remixing of information leading to innovation and creativity
  6. Give opportunities for personalized and differentiated learning
  7. Promote convergent and divergent thinking in order to promote inquiry and critical thinking
  8. Encourage student invention of new products and possibilities to demonstrate learning
  9. Explore authentic and real learning experiences.
  10. Establish opportunities for anytime/anywhere learning

Reflecting on Integration

As we continue to explore technology facilitation and 1 to 1 learning experiences it is important that we understand the blurred line between simple technology integration and blended learning.  While simple technology integration is a wonderful step, it is important to reflect and refine our practice and allow our classrooms to provide opportunities for real authentic blended learning experiences.

How does your school or district promote blended learning? Which of these strategies or strategies of our own have you found to be most successful?

Michael Gorman has overseen a one-to-one laptop program and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana. He has also served as a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning; served on the National Faculty for BIE (BUCK Institute); and been an adviser for Tech & Learning magazine. His awards have included district Teacher of the Year, Indiana state Teacher of the Year semi-finalist, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year, Advocate for Johns Hopkins University, and Microsoft’s Global Education Hero award. Mike maintains his award winning 21centuryedtech Blog and also posts articles at T&L and November Learning. 

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