Blended learning programs combine classroom time with online learning and provide some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace. This model is becoming the rule rather than the exception in 21st century classrooms, but getting a blended learning initiative off the ground can feel intimidating. So, where can you begin—without feeling overwhelmed? We’ve compiled this list of five easy ways to start incorporating technology into your classroom and building a blended environment!
Having your students blog is a great first step to crafting a blended learning environment. Blogging not only builds students’ English and literary skills but also teaches them about digital citizenship and Internet safety. Blogging also provides students with a platform to collaborate, reflect, and communicate their ideas.
What better way to utilize technology in the classroom than with the devices and platforms your students are most familiar with? There are lots of creative ways to incorporate social media in the classroom. For example, utilize Instagram to send your students on a photo scavenger hunt. Take a work of literature your class has recently read or an upcoming field trip, then put your students to work finding related items and posting photos of them using a designated hashtag. Alternatively, try allowing one or more students to “take over” your classroom Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook accounts for a week at a time. Give them free reign to share photos, showcase student work, document the class’ progress, or share resources they find related to what the class is working on.
*Keep in mind: If you are interested in using social media in your classroom, make sure to create a classroom account that is set to “private,” get signed photo release forms from students, and check your school’s technology policy before you begin!
Become a certified TED-Ed Club teacher and have your students’ present “TED-style” talks that can be shared on the organization’s webpage! Ask students to pick a topic that they have interest in or feel strongly about, have them do some research, then start up the video camera. Making these videos helps students create their digital presence, as well as realize their potential to have their opinions be heard, engage with an authentic audience, and network with people from around the world!
As soon as a teacher mentions the word “research,” it is usually followed by a classwide sigh. Help students get excited about their next research project by having them present their findings with an infographic. Infographics cue emotion, improve comprehension, and can quickly convey complex messages—visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text! Creating infographics is also a great opportunity to incorporate blended learning. There are a number of free and user-friendly online services for creating high-quality infographics, including Canva and Piktochart. Your students will be amazed by what they can create.
Video in the classroom has the capability of meeting many differentiated learning objectives. With video-conferencing tools like Skype, students can connect with people anywhere—whether that’s another classroom across town or a guest speaker thousands of miles away. Or try one of these interactive virtual field trips to help your students visit iconic locations around the world.
With these tips and some willingness to experiment, you’ll soon be on your way to successfully incorporate blended learning in your classroom. Want more blended learning strategies and ideas? Check out our Pinterest board, or view solutions for Blended Learning with Edmentum!