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    Avatar of Tracey F
    Tracey F

    Hi Everyone,

    To me blended learning is a combination of face to face instruction with online or web-based teaching/learning.  What I am discovering though, it isn’t as simple as just that.  Incorporating any technology into the classroom involves careful thought and preparation.  Facilitating social interaction, collaboration and discussion within the online elements of a blended learning pedagogical approach is extremely important.

    Some of the opportunities of a blended approach to learning would be the ability to expand the reaches of a subject being taught/learned in the classroom, benefitting from the knowledge, opinions and perspectives of those students who are historically quiet in a traditional classroom setting, added flexibility for students to complete and participate in class projects, assignments and discussions, added face time with the teacher to question, explore and practice what is learned on line and opportunities for students to explore a variety of methods of expression.  Even though I have been on leave for a couple of years and my school was not equipped with the latest and the greatest technologies, I still knew that students deserved a choice in how they approached and completed many of my assignments.  It was more difficult, but utilizing technology was always an option.  However, the benefits of utilizing technology as a form of pedagogy or inquiry, blended with the advantages of a living, breathing, caring teacher as opposed to simply utilizing technology as a means of presenting something in a more entertaining way is really starting to become clear to me.

    Learning the mechanics of technology I find is a real challenge for me.  I am by no means technologically illiterate, but learning about what digital tools are available, mastering how they work and utilizing their capabilities to produce an effective, engaging and challenging lesson feels very daunting to me.  If I want to redesign a traditional course into an worthwhile blended learning course I need to know the ins and outs of so many digital programs, software, apps and management systems. Yikes!! In one of the readings for this week however, I was heartened by the advice that suggested that blended courses or programs should be continually developed over years rather than weeks before a class begins.

    I teach junior high and high school English and I think a blended learning approach would marry beautifully with this core class as the students explore and analyze many different texts and practice many forms of expression.  Having access to online plays and pieces of writing from around the world, speaking with authors, experiencing and presenting creative content, writing blogs, writing to a wider audience and writing collaboratively are just a few of the options I can think of and I don’t yet fully grasp the concept of Blended learning.  I am very excited to learn about all ways in which I can begin to develop my own blended learning environment.