Education trends emphasize blended learning
As America’s education system evolves to better prepare students to compete on a global level, one thing is becoming clear: Blended learning will be a central component of the classrooms of the future.
Blended learning makes it possible to personalize students’ learning experiences by combining teacher-led instruction with online instruction. This is accomplished by incorporating technology into the classroom.
The concept is picking up steam as many school districts are looking for innovative ways to approach education, especially in the midst of the implementation of the Common core learning standards in many states, which will require students to meet heightened academic expectations.
According to Deseret News, research from the U.S. Department of Education indicates that students in blended learning environments perform better on average than those who learn the same material exclusively through online instruction or face-to-face instruction, rather than incorporating both methods of teaching.
Many teachers appreciate the blended learning model because it allows them to cater to the varying academic abilities of individual students, making it possible to track student progress while making it possible for students to move at their own pace, the source explained.
“Truly blended learning requires that teachers approach their role differently, as guides and mentors instead of purveyors of information,” a report from the North American Council for Online Learning said. “Classrooms must be redefined as flexible learning environments, in which students learn in a variety of ways while communicating and collaborating with others who are outside their school – and perhaps outside their country.”
According to Forbes, schools across the United States are adopting the blended learning model because it bolsters student learning and makes teachers’ lives easier, especially as education technology becomes increasingly intuitive.
A survey from the SmartBlog on Education found that nearly two-thirds of readers used technology tools as a part of classroom lessons, and one-third felt that bringing technology into the classroom would be the most significant issue occupying education professionals in 2013.
Michael Horn, co-founder of the nonprofit education think tank Innosight Institute, predicts that as more public schools adopt blended learning, elementary schools in particular will take action by incorporating online stations into the popular rotation model.
Students are now entering classrooms having fully embraced technology in their personal lives, and will likely respond positively to its incorporation into the classroom and school curricula. If teachers are able to use technology as an instructional aid, they will be better able to address the needs of individual students face-to-face, and be more effective educators as a result.