In my book Tech-Savvy Parenting , Arthur Goldstuck and I discuss effective parenting and the evolution of learning and how technology is changing the way teachers teach and children learn. Technology is being introduced into classrooms via blended learning which is bringing the real and virtual worlds closer together.
Formal learning programmes in schools that combine face-to-face learning with computer mediated learning or online delivery of content and instruction, are termed blended learning programmes.
How blended learning works
Blended learning is one of the easier ways for teachers to introduce technology into lesson planning. One of the upsides is that learners can learn at their own pace and remediation exercises or extra practice are easy to include. Face-to-face time with teachers is still there but technology is incorporated into the learning process which enables data on a learner’s performance to be captured and assessed. Beware, however that technology is not being used just to teach old stuff in a new way.
Schools that have adopted blended learning in a big way are tearing down the physical walls between classrooms creating large open plan learning spaces. Learners either bring their own devices or use devices on loan from the school. They online or computer-based curricula at their own pace in the open space. Teachers take out small groups of learners at a time to a smaller meeting rooms or classrooms, and they workshops a concept face-to-face.
Learners then go back to the communal learning space which has very flexible seating arrangements and workstations, anything from a formal table and chair setup if that suits you to couches and beanbags, or the floor if you wish. There learners get to collaborate with each other and share their learning and ideas.
Technology should enhance, not replace teaching
Apps, online learning tools, Youtube and Google to name a few, provide additional layers and richness to learning in a multimedia way that can bring concepts to life. A teacher’s challenge is to incorporate these with their pedagogical skills and knowledge of children’s development, age, stage and cognitive skills, to enhance their teaching and create meaningful learning experiences that engage kids and pique their curiosity.
Digital literacy should not replace basic literacy and multi-sensory learning, and technology should not replace the teacher. A smart classroom needs a smart teacher.
To view a NikkiBush.tv interview with Michelle Lisoos of Think Ahead Education Solutions about iPads in the classroom, click below.