Most of us are familiar with the traditional classroom with a teacher leading the lesson and the students following their instructions. This has been the norm in classroom procedure for centuries. Now, however, technology is starting to play a part in education and this has spread to the classroom itself. Some teachers now make use of technological equipment and resources in their lessons – incorporating film, music and even websites and interactive games into their lessons. Blended learning takes this idea a step further.
Blended learning is a hybrid of both practices. Blended learning is a mixture of traditional teaching and learning, and teaching and learning through online platforms. While certain components of the syllabus will be taught face-to-face as previously done by the teacher in the classroom, other aspects will be dealt with online. Basically, the learners will be required to complete various activities or tests online. This may be done in a mediated setting in a classroom or it may be done as a form of homework.
Though most popular in adult learning, blended learning is now becoming popular in schools too. Blended learning has the ability to appeal to young learners and teenagers through the use of digital media. Considering that learners these days spend a lot of their free time (and sometimes even classtime!) using technology, it makes sense to incorporate these skills into our lessons.
What’s more, using a combination of face-to-face instruction and digital learning has been shown to have positive results. The face-to-face time allows teachers to clarify any concepts and answer any questions, while the online learning allows learners to proceed at their own pace. Plus it has the added novelty of using technology for learning which will undoubtedly motivate learners.
How exactly do we incorporate technology into our lessons to create a blended learning environment?
- Utilize online videos to teach content. These can either be watched together in class or (for older learners) you can assign them videos to watch for homework.
- If you have use of a computer lab, pair up students and let them play online interactive games related to the content of the lesson. This forms part of language practice.
- Play interactive games as a class to illustrate language concepts.
- Encourage your learners to download apps which they can use instead of homework.
- Use online interactive assessment tools to make tests more fun.
Even those teachers who feel that technology has no place in the classroom will soon change their mind when they become aware of the wealth of materials available on the internet. These days technology should not be an intimidating idea – using it will enhance your teaching methods and increase your learners’ motivation.