Blended learning combines classroom and online instruction

Posted on Thursday, 3/28/2013 3:27 pm

In an increasingly technological world, parents and educators realize students can benefit from online instruction. At the same time, they do not want to abandon all the educational opportunities that arise when teachers and pupils are interacting in person. Fortunately, blended learning offers a way to combine the experiences found in the physical and virtual classroom.

What is blended learning?
Blended learning, or hybrid learning as it is also known, combines both classroom and online instruction, while also incorporating technology, such as computers, tablets and student software. In addition, blended learning is very customizable, so it is not uncommon to see schools put their own spin on this approach to instruction.

Students who enroll in a school that embraces blended learning may spend part of the week taking classes in a physical classroom and the rest taking courses over the internet.

The benefits of blended learning
These days, people can do everything from managing their banking to ordering a pizza online. With each passing day, individuals grow more dependent on the internet, which is why K-12 educators have a responsibility to teach students about it, as well as the proper ways of using it.

Integrating online instruction into K-12 curricula through blended learning is one way of accomplishing this goal. Combining online and in-person education can also help teachers meet the recommendations set forth by the Common Core State Standards and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Whether students plan to continue their studies at the collegiate level or enter the workforce, they will be expected to be familiar with computers and other devices. In 2012 remarks about the future of higher education, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan touched on how beneficial blended learning can be to both teachers and students.

"Through the smart use of technology, higher education now has an extraordinary opportunity to personalize learning, expand access and bolster productivity," Duncan said. "Blended learning empowers educators and enables students in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago."

Although Duncan was referring to higher education, his remarks can be applied to blended learning at all grade levels.

The future of blended learning
While no one can predict the future, it is safe to assume that as more schools strive to become technologically advanced learning environments, blended learning will be something more educators are willing to try. This is in line with some of the predictions The Journal, an education technology news magazine, has for the state of blended learning in 2013.

Over the course of the year, the news source predicts more public schools will adopt blended learning. This may be more widespread at the high school level, where even more students are expected to take online courses in 2013. At the same time, virtual schools that mostly offer online instruction may provide more time in physical learning spaces to help students who are considered to be at risk.









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