Sunday, January 12, 2014

Blended Learning - Can All Students Benefit?

This week in my certificate course in online/blended learning from the YU School Partnership, I read many articles and watched many videos about the various types of students who enroll in Blended Learning courses. Until I took this course, I did not know nearly as much about Blended Learning as I do now. I was aware that so many schools were implementing Blended Learning programs in their schools as a fad or the "new thing" to do. Schools have been pouring thousands of dollars into purchasing new hardware and software in order to implement Blended Learning Programs into their classrooms. One thing I wonder is whether they are using it because it is as a fad or whether they believe their students will actually benefit from it.

With regards to students who could benefit from Blended Learning, I must admit that I was very enlightened. Prior to this week, I was under the impression that it was something that all students could benefit from, which is actually the case. However, there is much more to this. The students who have special needs, social issues, those with learning disabilites or even need enrichment would most definitely benefit from a Blended Learning course. The benefit to taking this type of course it is that it offers personalized learning according to each child's needs as well as the ability to learn asynchronously at his or her own pace.

When pondering about students who are academically weaker having the ability to learn at their own pace, I cannot help but wonder the following. Some students learn at a faster pace, while others learn at a slower pace as they need the material to be repeated several times until they finally grasp it. The question I have is how do the students who learn at a slower pace eventually catch up to those who are learning at or above grade level?

Although I cannot answer that question right now, I do hope to be able to answer that question in the future. The videos I have watched show the research that was done by the teachers in the schools. Those students make an unbelievable amount of progress. In addition, I also intend to visit various Jewish day schools using Blended Learning. I hope to observe classrooms using Blended Learning as well as meet with the teachers and administrations of schools as well.

In general integrating technology in education requires time, preparation, and of course, money. Proper teacher training is critical to success. Secondly as Blended Learning has not been around that many years, continuous research has to be done. We all need to remember that Blended Learning is about our students being able to succeed in their learning; it's not about the technology tools. I know that if put into place properly, all students will be successful in the long run.

This post was originally written on October 13, 2013 and has been cross-posted from http://www.opendayschool.org/community/blog/entry/blended-learning-can-all-students-benefit.  

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