With increasing and ever-evolving technology in the classroom, it stands to reason that our teaching techniques would also improve and adapt alongside. Blended learning is the notion of integrating traditional classroom teaching with digital elements, commonly involving a virtual learning platform that both teachers and students can access to offer different mediums for learning. In theory, this is an incredible opportunity for teachers to innovate and use different media, methods and programs to teach but it is also a breeding ground for complacency when simply moving the same techniques from paper to digital.
Blended learning should be much more than this and can not only enhance learning in the classroom but mobile learning as well, particularly when you have platforms such as Google that are easily recognisable but with privacy concerns. That doesn’t mean you have to opt for a Google education platform like Classroom, you can consider other VLE providers instead as long as how you use them is different. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that just because you are using technology to teach, that you’re being innovative. If you’re simply uploading the worksheets and having students fill them out online, you are simply upgrading your platform rather than your teaching style.
Being more engaging and motivational (among other things) are key elements to virtual learning environment success so here are some ways you can ensure that you are using digital teaching to its full potential.
How To Innovate With Digital Learning
Give Students Authority – Students who have more control over their learning process are more likely to both enjoy and adapt it to suit their needs. Digital learning gives the opportunity for around the clock access and can allow them to adapt the pace or topic to suit their needs so give them the freedom to explore this.
Use Different Mediums – From audio soundbites and books to videos and games, use various digital mediums to make the content more engaging and mix it up. You could create QR game treasure hunts to integrate real-world and digital content which will motivate students.
Be Adaptive – Teachers have access to real-time feedback with digital teaching and these analytics can be more representative of interest than students so use this to your advantage and adapt teaching methods to suit. If students are engaging more with videos then develop the content to align this way, alternatively if you can see them avoiding areas online, try to offer more help and instruction to make it more interesting.
Make More of You – Screencasting, for example, can allow you to create a walk-through or video to help those who learn at different paces. The students who just need the instructions once or prefer to replay instructions can use the screencast to answer their own questions, while you have the freedom and time to help those who are struggling and give them one-to-one help.
Digital learning is only as useful as the teachers who wield it to their full potential and without exploring all of its opportunities, it is going to be no different than the pen and paper approach. Hopefully this brief introduction has convinced you why blended learning is an innovative way to engage students, evolve how learning takes place and make the classroom exciting again.