I’ve been paying a lot of attention to blended learning and the various models that are out there. I’ve even been experimenting with the flex model in professional development programs. But after having spent a week at the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC), I definitely feel that things are about to shift drastically in education in how we teach and students learn.
There seem to be several variables driving this movement and disrupting education as we know it: Textbook Publishers, Tablets and other personal devices, and Cloud Computing.
Textbook publishers seem to be moving away from the print market and into the digital content market. I’ve sat through quite a few presentations by vendors and they are offering a variety of online learning programs and online content that promote personalizing learning. As I sat there, I could feel the whirl of confusion, excitement and emotion from the teachers trying to grasp the concept of a classroom without a textbook.
Tablets and other personal devices are infiltrating the workplace and classrooms at an unstoppable rate. Many classrooms and worksites have adopted BYOD (bring your own device) programs and the growing the pains that come with such initiatives.
With cloud computing services such as Google Apps, and Microsoft 365, employees and students collaborate and work in device neutral environments. Updates are instantaneous with very little oversight and device management needed.
So what could stop all of this from affecting the way teaching and learning happen? I feel there are three vary strong forces that could slow progress toward blended learning and even keep progress from happening. These include infrastructure, fear & outdated policies, and lack of digital leadership. Even though the devices are coming in, if the infrastructure can’t handle the demand the devices won’t stay. And if outdated policies such as cell phone bans, blocking, and even teaching and learning schedules dictated by local boards and state legislature continue and do not consider digital learning, blended models will struggle to be adopted. Lastly, and this is always the biggie, there must be those in leadership positions who have a vision for digital learning and blended learning in order to even begin to think about the logistics, support, and resources need to make this shift in how teaching and learning happen.
I am ready, many kids are ready and I know others are too. Many are out there making blended learning happen and they are the ones we can look to for guidance. It is time to stop over fearing change and over valuing the status quo.
Blended Learning Models Explained: http://www.christenseninstitute.org/blended-learning-model-definitions/