As internet connectivity and smart devices become every human being’s daily companion, with 1.75 billion users worldwide as eMarketer reported, more and more academic institutions are now leveraging the power of technology to re-invent the traditional classroom learning model.
The 2013’s United States Education & Workforce Committee study said that 31 states are now offering full-time eLearning tools to almost 275,000 K-12 students and 70% of all US school districts are now integrating blended learning (BL) programs in their curriculum.
One of the biggest trends in the academy, BL is a teaching approach that combines face-to-face learning through online-based instructions/activities. To facilitate, students are allowed to use their smart devices to do research, work on activities, complete their assignments, seek consultations, and consume digital learning resources in or outside the campus. But, how can this teaching methodology make learning efficient? Read on our discussion below as we further elaborate the topic.
Learners Are More Engaged
The infusion of online learning tools and traditional classroom lectures expands the learning resources being offered to the students. Apart from textbooks, teachers can pull out relevant video materials online and project it in front of their students to explain the topics further. Educators can also showcase online slideshows and interactive web applications to further strengthen their class discussions.
With BL, the possibilities of getting a reliable learning resource are endless. With the advent of video conferencing, students and teachers can go beyond the four corners the classroom. For instance, in foreign language topics, this innovative tech solution can be maximized in arranging live language lessons from native speakers worldwide. It can also be utilized when facilitating lectures on different cultures worldwide.
Students are safely browsing
The common concern with this learning strategy is that students are widely open to various content online, such as social media and online games that are deemed to be distracting in class. However, with the latest mobile technology today, we are now presented with devices that can block or curate content specifically for students only. One of the biggest brands Apple launched its own Kid’s App Store where students can only access curated educational apps and games. The latest Samsung smartphones, including the Galaxy S5, are also equipped with Kids Mode that let’s one set some parental control on the device, as featured on this source. As for Nokia’s Lumia range of Windows Phone devices, Microsoft also designed a special feature called Kid’s Corner which allows parents to choose the kind of apps and digital content they can only view and access. These innovations minimize the apprehensions that most parents and traditional educators have towards smart devices.
Teachers Can Access and Create Various Educational Content
Since the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy is a part of this learning strategy, educators are given the opportunity to easily design a variety of content types tailored to their students. Apart from online blogs and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) where professors can access a myriad of educational content (infographics and video lectures), they can also access mobile applications and e-Books to accompany their lectures.
The Academy of Vocational and Professional training are also currently the leaders on online Soft skills courses which are mobile device compliant, globally accredited and accessible 24/7
Since mobile devices nowadays are equipped with media creation tools, teachers can even create or design their own content to accompany their discussion. For instance, with many of the apple and android tablets, are empowered to create slide shows with engaging music. The free movie making tool can also help them create video presentations combining photograph, audio, and text element. It’s worth checking out the Samsung and iPad apps.
Makes Students More Engaged
Timothy HuneyCutt of National Math + Science Initiative pointed out that when “technology is integrated into school lessons, learners are more likely to be interested in, focused on, and excited about the subjects they are studying.” In subjects that may appear monotonous to selected students (such as Science and Math), teachers can use virtual lessons and one-on-one tutoring to encourage them to learn.
Students Can Learn At Their Own Pace
Failure to digest the educator’s lecture can lead to students’ discouragement towards learning. With BL, if they fail to understand a particular lecture, they can ask their instructor to give them individualised instruction or learning materials through emails, video-conferencing, and social media channels. Students who are shy to speak out in the class through face-to-face on-campus discussion are also given the opportunity to shine and excel in class through BL.
BL can further enhance students’ learning by integrating technology and online resources to support the traditional face-to-face lectures. As we move to a more digital era, where handsets are now wearable and voice command accessible, we should see more improvements in educational technology in the coming years.
About the Author
As an EdTech advocate, Jennifer Birch believes in the power of Blended Learning. For her, the infusion of online learning tools and traditional classroom expands the learning resources being offered to the students. Connect with Jenni via Google +.