- Math concepts typically have a somewhat linear development cycle; new concepts often build, upon previous ones.
- To gain mastery, math skills require a two-fold "how to" method of learning that involves both practice and understanding.
- Most importantly, individual students often learn scaffolding skills and develop mastery at a very different pace and style.
The above three generalities can be very daunting for math educators of all expertise and experience, especially in a classroom of 25-30 students. Simply put, the traditional lecture structure
makes addressing one of the bullet points often feel a bit like “robbing Peter to pay Paul," meaning that focusing on one point may neglect the other two.
However, the individualized and differentiated opportunities found in an effective blend of online and offline instruction methods provides educators with the ability to meet the needs of each and every student. In other words, it's possible to have enough to pay Paul and Peter, with enough left over to pay Mary too!
Three Value Points of Blended Learning
Blended learning provides educators the ability to simultaneously:
- Address all student learning needs and goals, including enrichment and reinforcement
- Increase engagement and self-driven learning
- Scaffold basic skills and promote higher-order thinking
Let’s take a deeper look at how these three advantages can be achieved in the 21st century blended learning classroom!
1) Addresses enrichment and reinforcement
Curriculum often features a linear progression of skills and concepts, so if a student fails to master a fundamental skill early on, they will most likely struggle with subsequent skills. Additionally, if the teacher attempts to backtrack in order to help any struggling students, other students have a propensity to become disengaged with stuff they “already get."
Blended learning strategies and models have proven quite adept overcoming this challenge.
Via the advantages provided by online learning tools and an optimization of teacher instruction time, gaps in background knowledge can be identified quickly via formative/continuous assessment means while the individual curriculum is instantaneously modified to fit each student’s learning needs. Lessons and concepts can be reordered based on the need, preference, and pace of the student, whether the goal is reinforcement or enrichment. This becomes especially valuable in an Response to Intervention (RTI) setting.
2) Fosters self-driven math learners
Blended learning is not only beneficial for excelling and struggling students. By taking advantage of customizable curriculum and the heightened engagement provided by a mix of online and offline learning resources, teachers can create a student learning experience that is both enriching and self-driven.
The combination of engaging interactive learning content and valuable offline learning experiences, including feedback from peers and the teacher, helps students drive their learning in ways never possible before.
3) Creates valuable one-on-one instruction opportunities
The self-driven nature of an effective blended learning model frees up teachers to move from a lecture-based instruction method that may only target auditory learners to instruction methods based around peer groups and individual exploration. This can include project-based learning, problem-based learning, real-world application, and much more.
Whether your model is rotation-based, a flipped classroom, or something else, effective blended learning helps educators minimize the setup work related to drafting worksheets, grading homework, and reinforcing already-taught topics because much of that early work is taken care of by reliable and customizable online resources.
By using the self-driven aspects of online resources, educators are afforded more time for valuable one-on-one instruction opportunities in which he/she can help students develop the higher-order skills required to put those basic skills and concepts into action (i.e. the good stuff)!
More Blended Learning Resources from Wowzers
These value points are not the only advantages of blended learning in the classroom! We'd love to hear how you use blended learning strategies and methods to enhance your instruction and curriculum.
- Shoot us your ideas, stories, questions, and comments at via our Facebook page or tweet us at @Wowzers!