Balancing the Offline and Online Aspects of Blended Learning

by: Zack Blois on Jul 1, 2013 3:03:00 PM

If you’ve read any of the recent posts in the Wowzers Blog, you probably know that we are obsessed with sharing the benefits of blended learning environments.

However, all the glitz and glamor of EdTech resources can sometimes result in shiny object syndrome and cause educators to lose sight of the need for a student/teacher interaction. To provide a true blended learning experience, teachers must focus on equally effective online and offline learning tools, demonstrations, and resources. 

Blended Learning functions best with great offline activities

Hey, we get that educational technology offers higher student engagement, prescriptive digital data, and an overall fun and effective learning experience. But, it can also become an inadequate crutch when used as the sole learning tool.

describe the imageHere’'s why: so much of today’s digital resources look great, but only teach surface-level knowledge via “skill-and-drill” activities and interactions. Yes, the student will gain basic skills, but they are going to be missing the important stuff, including development of higher-order thinking skills and the pivotal mentoring relationship found between educators and students.

To avoid turning your EdTech into a crutch, deploy deep digital learning resources, content, and activities as a springboard, followed closely by correlating activities where students must utilize higher-order skills including collaboration, problem solving, analysis, etc. By building off the benefits listed at the beginning of this section (engagement, data, fun, etc.), the educator can scaffold the knowledge gained into deeper understanding and application.

Where can I find offline experiences that correlate with online activities?

Guess what? A lot of these so-called higher-order offline learning experiences already exist. Don’t forget, teachers have been effectively educating offline since the beginning of time. The key is to utilize the cream-of-the-crop activities, lessons and ideas that best fit with your desired learning goals, standards, and needs while also offering ‘deeper dives’ into the learned knowledge.

The good news is these learning activities are often already built into your existing curriculum. However, if you'’re seeking new digital learning content, we recommend looking into what/if correlated supplemental offline learning resources are also available.

Want to get started in finding the offline portion of your Blended Learning lessons? Check out these great links below:

Teachers Pay Teachers

Edmodo.com

Edutopia.com’'s Pinterest Page

Cool Cat Teacher’s Pinterest Page

Lifetime Love of Learning Pinterest Page


Want to learn more about implementing Blended Learning in your school? Download a copy of our "Finding the Blended Learning model that's Right for Your School" eBooklet.
 




Topics: Blended Learning