Blended and flipped learning are two of the most thrown about phrases in education today, but they are different from one another. In my last post, I discussed how it is important for teachers to adapt their delivery to reach a student population that learns much different than the teachers themselves learned. In order to do so teachers need to be adaptive, reflective, and experimental. Though there are many ways to evolve your style as a teacher, one element that should be incorporated is technology integration. When I use this phrase, technology integration, I do not mean neglecting all of the face-to-face interaction that makes teaching such an exciting career. I do, however, mean allowing technology to become one of the vehicles of delivery of instruction (not the only vehicle). This in a nutshell is blended learning. Flipped learning is a blended learning, though unfortunately it is often lumped together with it. For those that work best in black and white, here is what I think about when it comes to these concepts:
FLIPPED LEARNING = instruction is viewed by students at home, while class time is devoted to higher level discussions and practicing of the concepts learned at home (usually through instructional videos). Primarily used to develop deeper understanding of the material and to maximize class time for student led discussions and practice
BLENDED LEARNING = using technology as a tool in the learning process to share the responsibility of instruction with the classroom teacher. This is primarily used in classrooms with the purpose of letting students drive their own learning. The teacher reduces the amount of direct instruction to the entire class and focuses on getting students through roadblocks to their learning and planning small group activities. Teacher time with students is more likely to occur in small groups of 2-3 students at a time.
The blog post linked here provides great insight into what blended learning can do for your classroom. It includes two videos that provide some insight into how to set up a blended classroom and some of the benefits of it. As I alluded to in my last post, teachers need to be flexible and ever-evolving in their instructional technique in order to best meet the needs of the diverse learners that we have in our classrooms. Blended learning, some form of it, may be the answer for reaching some of those students who would otherwise fall through the cracks.
We have many examples of this being used at Marine City High School today. Blended learning is used by teachers to record lessons when they are out and a sub is in the class, they are used for ACT Prep and MME review, they are used to carve out more time for in-depth higher-level class discussions, and for other reasons as well.