Monday, August 2, 2010

Blended Learning

For some, blended learning means having a mix of face-to-face classes, plus online encounters. However, I'd go a bit beyond. Blended learning can take different shapes if you consider a regular face-to-face classroom with the use of online tools to supplement the learning process that takes place within brick and mortar spaces. Also, if you consider the many different forms of professional development, it can be considered a blend of formal + informal, the kind of sharing in the school hallways plus your connections within your online networked context. I consider them all to be types of blended open learning opportunities. To blend is to find different paths to keep evolving as people, lifelong learners and professionals.

In this screencast, I talk about three examples of blended learning experiences:

  •  Using to connect our students and their ideas beyond classroom walls. Here, I show an example of a very simple, but highly effective, activity some friends of mine worked on with their very young learners. These co-workers would panic when they got started in this blended-informal-formal educators' world, but they are now totally into it:
  • Using Flickr groups to keep promoting vocabulary/language development. Educators can model how to use images to convey an abstract concept. Then, learners can start preparing their own photo sets. Here, the example was the Flickr group, Idioms in English
  • I also make a point that PD can be part of the blended learning realm and give the example of using a wiki, a collaborate webpage, to make sharing and learning an on-going cycle in the workplace.
The biggest challenge we all face when we make blended learning part of our routine is to find the right balance between the so many choices we have nowadays. I'd say that the most important aspect to optimize our choices is to keep in mind that the tools are there only to be enablers of brain connections and networked encounters.

How would you define blended learning and how would you make/have you made it a reality in your classroom?


  1. I think you have hit the nail on the head! Great pictures of blended learning. I agree, the hardest part for me is navigating all the options and choosing the tool that will work best with my students (this changes from class to class, month to month, and year to year!)

  2. I'd say that it changes every nanosecond as new tools and possibilities are generated everywhere with every new connection in the node. However, the same old advice is still true, make is simple, fun and useful for you and your students. Chances are high towards success.


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