What is blended learning?
Blended learning integrates technology with face-to-face instruction to address multiple modalities in the classroom – digital content engages students in understanding and remembering, differentiated small group instruction focuses on applying and analyzing, and group projects enable creating and evaluating. In great blended learning schools, technology and teaching inform each other. Students alternate regularly between engaging with teachers and peers and focusing on online content tailored to their learning pace and progress. Tightly integrating online content and offline instruction helps students get what they need when they need it. Regularly reviewing student progress data and dynamically adjusting student groups optimizes student-teacher interactions.
Benefits of blended learning
Like any other great blend, blended learning works because it combines two things in a way that makes each better than they are on their own: teachers’ talent and technology tools. Blended learning allows teachers to do what they do best – work directly and closely with individual students and small groups – by harnessing the adaptive power and precision of technology.
The best blended learning approaches use technology to:
- help each student master the content and skills they need,
- allow teachers to get the most out of their planning and instructional time, and
- streamline operations with costs similar to – or less than – traditional schooling.
What blended learning *isn’t*
Simply adding online computer games or videos to a student’s day or homework time doesn’t count as blended learning. Neither does rolling a laptop cart into a school. Nor does it mean that students are isolated at their keyboards with no social interaction.
Exploring the possibilities
The result of successful blended learning is rich and deep interactions between teachers and students (and between students themselves). Integrating technology and teaching allows students to fully master content and skills, and at the pace that’s right for them.
Think about it this way: an average classroom sets a “speed limit” for the class – bounded by grade-level standards and assessments – making it hard for some kids to catch up and holding others from moving ahead when they’re ready. But blended learning revs up students’ learning velocity, allowing them to go further and faster. Who knows how far they’ll go?