Blended and Flipped Learning

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.


Filed under education, technology, flipped, education, Uncategorized

6 responses to “Blended and Flipped Learning

  1. Kris Sredich-George

    As educators, we want to be on the cutting edge of technology in our craft and skill, just like doctors. Unlike doctors, who rely on years of research prior to using that DaVinci robotic arm for surgery, educators do not have mountains of factual, impirical data and studies on the affects of digital learning or flipped learning. While most of us are smart enough to know technology is a tool that is only as strong as the assignment we use it for, students think technology provides them with ALL the answers, minuse the independent thinking. We need to be careful about how we bring kids to blended learning, in what context within content areas and how it can improve their knowledge, not their inability to think independently, or to juggle a busy time schedule. Even though they have busy lives, just like we do, technology cannot and will not provide them with every opportunity to become 21st century skilled. We are still humans who need human contact and support for a variety of reasons. Careful planning, testing and evaluating of economic/social and subject matter must happen. And, one classroom, one teacher, one district, one semester of research does not fit all situations. Just ask the doctor you see for surgery. Do you want the tested method? The maybe effective method? Or, the best method possible for your situation?

    • Kris,
      Thank you for your response. While I agree that we do not have mountains of empirical data to support digital learning, the devils’ advocate in me would argue that you can’t start collecting data until you start working with something new. This is the case in the medical field as well. I understand and respect your caution with blended learning. I think it is right to question how many eggs we put into the basket. One thing down the pipeline from the state that all should be aware of, though is that we will be doing Smarter Balanced assessments and they are computer adaptive testing programs.

  2. Andy Scheel

    I think when considering either Flipped Classroom or Blended learning, we must look at where our craft currently sits and where it is heading to. Common Core Standards and State Expectations are going to shift to develop a deeper understanding and application of content rather than the current state which leans on broad content standard completion. Sharing and communicating understanding, ideas educated thoughts and opinions is all part of future expectations. This along with fundamental understanding and developmental knowledge of material and content. Both flipped and blended learning allows for teachers to deliver content and share teaching with a wider audience within the educational community with a more consistent and lasting voice. Assignments and assessment of content are to be owned by ALL stakeholders within the educational community and will with the constant connectivity of both models. In the end, both models work. Which fits our community better? Flipped relys much heavier on student technology both home and at school. Blended allows for it to be shifted back and forth with conformity to what works best. We should look into this on both a needs and capacity basis.

    • Group learning, what an interesting viewpoint on this Andy. It is one that I had not really thought about, but now that you bring it up, it is an important aspect of blended learning.

  3. Laura mcdonell

    This is a very interesting topic. Both responses are very necessary to consider. At St. Clair middle we are being told that the future involves blended learning. I am still trying to figure out exactly where I stand between the two. I like that there is a combination of new and old methods in both of them. As a parent, I am hopeful that my own kids will be in classrooms where these types of styles are used correctly.

    • Laura,
      I don’t know that it needs to be one or the other. Flipped works in under some conditions while it is not great for others. The same can be said about blended learning. As Andy pointed out, conditions need to be right for either or both to occur. In the end, teachers must be receptive to the needs of their students (something that has always been asked of them) and tailor their plans to meet their needs. Technology is another tool in the teacher toolbox that can be used to meet the needs of students. Blended learning is differentiated instruction through the use of technology.

      Thanks for your response.

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