Monday, 1 June 2015

Blended Learning: integrating digital content with face-to-face learning.

My desire to learn more about technology in the classroom coupled with my research about the way students learn has led me to find many new and innovative ways to engage and educate my students. I have enjoyed experimenting with 'Flipped Classroom' lessons but my students are telling me they actually like it when I am teaching them and guiding them rather than 'forcing' them to watch videos! This has confirmed my thoughts that balance really is key for our students and that 'Blended Learning' is the best option for me and for my students. While my students are literally attending a “brick-and-mortar” school with all the fun things that go with it like face-to-face instruction, social interaction and comfortable schooling routines, their learning is being combined with digital content, collaborative projects and independent thinking.

Blended Learning: integrating digital content with face-to-face learning.

The definition of “blended learning” has changed over time. A suggested definition from Norm Friesen (August 2012) is:

“'Blended Learning' designates the range of possibilities presented by combining Internet and digital media with established classroom forms that require the physical co‐presence of teacher and students." 

Since our 21st century students are digital natives, the use of mobile technologies such as tablets and mobile phones allows them to access information quickly and naturally. No wonder Blended Learning is a win-win situation for both student and teacher!

Blended learning is not just instruction using tech. It involves accessing and using technology and digital innovations to allow students to access a more personalized learning experience.

Blended Learning Framework via the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation


Digital Learning Now released the paper “Blended Learning Implementation Guide Version 2.0" which offers recommendations for implementing a blended learning model.

Blended learning

This blended learning environment, which combines online learning and face-to-face instruction, will set the students up for life at university and the workplace because it teaches them to be independent thinkers while still being part of a collaborative team.

The other reason why blended learning appeals to me is because I have access to a significant array of resources that are freely available online allowing me to maximize my planning and instructional time. It also allows me time while I am in the classroom to differentiate instruction and to accommodate a variety of proficiency levels.


My blended classes use a combination of flipped lessons and structured 'chalk & talk' lectures that are supplemented with group projects and online content. I often find fantastic content such as lectures and resources from sites like Teacher TubeKhan Academy, the Teaching Channel, Coursera, Sophia or YouTube EDU. Students can work at their own pace and review content on devices that are brought with them (my school has adopted a BYOD program) or borrowing laptops from our resource centre.

The different MOOC Platforms

If  you are interested in learning more about Blended Learning are are looking for resources for your technology-mediated activities, you will find a wealth of resources at Edutopia. Just click the image below to be re-directed to the Edutopia "Blended Learning: Resource Roundup" where you will find resources from Edutopia and the web to help you navigate the possibilities of blended learning.

Don't forget that Twitter is also a great place to learn more about current trends in education. I have followed many other educators who are happy to share their thoughts on all things #education. If you aren't already following educators (I'm @natashainoz) and educational organizations on Twitter then try a hashtag search for #BlendedLearning, #FlippedClassroom, #EdChat, #EdTech to create your own unique Personal Learning Network.

With so many exceptional educational resources readily available online, it really is an exciting time to be a 21st century educator.

Best wishes,

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