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Teachers see success with blended learning

Education in America is at a crossroads, and many teachers are turning to the blended learning model of education to revolutionize instruction.

Blended learning is a form of education that combines teacher-led instruction in the classroom with online learning. It's been met with a great deal of success. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Education, studies have shown that the combination of the two approaches to teaching produces better results than either face-to-face or online instruction does alone, Deseret News reported.

Josh Woodward, an alumnus of Teach for America, credits blended learning with saving his teaching career.

"Blended learning is not about replacing teachers with machines," Woodward wrote in Education Week. "Rather, it's about leveraging technology to provide students and teachers with immediate feedback, holding each individual accountable for his or her academic success, and personalizing coursework to best meet students exactly where they are."

Although the approach to blended learning has yet to be streamlined across schools, many teachers view it as a promising education model that can meet the demands of students coming of age in an increasingly technology-focused world.

According to Marc Bernstein, an education consultant and former school district superintendent, blended learning may just be what America's schools need to get back on track.

"We have a generation of high school students who have not been succeeding from today's instructional paradigm," Bernstein argued in the Huffington Post. "Reform after reform has failed. We must capitalize on teenagers' intrinsic motivation towards technology while recognizing that being adolescents means needing relationships with caring teachers."

It's is precisely this combination of instruction that blended learning strives for. This model of education does not force students to sit in front of a computer all day, but rather uses technology to augment the learning experience so students can then receive greater personalized instruction from their teachers.

Unlike previous models of classroom instruction, blended learning deviates from the traditional format of a teacher lecturing students about educational material and expecting them to absorb it. Instead, it puts students in control of their learning and makes it possible for instruction to be tailored to their individual skills and needs. This is precisely what teachers find so appealing.

"The computer does the 'know' and 'do' part," Michael Horn, co-founder of the nonprofit Innosight Institute, told Deseret News. "The teacher can focus on understanding, analyzing and applying. It puts the deeper learning into the teacher's bailiwick. We weren't able to get there in the past because teachers were stuck in the 'know' and 'do' part."

Tim Hudson