Friday, 2 May 2014

Blended education.... an intervention for the new generation?

Being bombarded with the infinite amount of information has changed the way we communicate process information and think. Innovation and creativity is essential in approaching new methods of education. 
Education in the digital age is based on how learners are changing the ways they interact, and their increased ability to create, share and organise their own learning.

The truth of the matter is that we need to find a way to teach with the available tools that makes it easier for them to learn. More and more teachers are finding that this breakthrough method is blended learning.
Blended learning combines the best of online learning with traditional teaching and is vast becoming the ‘go-to’ tool for both secondary and tertiary institutions.

For instance, most educators in blended classrooms use some version of a course management system application to connect with students online. Blackboard and Moodle are perhaps two of the best known applications used today. Through platforms like these, students can access video of lectures, track assignments and progress, interact with educators and peers, and review other supporting materials, like PowerPoint presentations or articles.
Applications like these give educators the freedom of alternating between online and the more traditional teaching methods.
Traditionally an educator would use their class time to lecture and facilitate supporting material, then give tasks and projects for students to do on their own time.  Within the blended method, educators can still use their class time to lecture and facilitate material, but could already have shared this information on an online portal for students to review at home and on their own pace beforehand. Class time can now be used to discuss and engage on this content. This creates a much richer environment for content to be discussed and field related question to be asked, focusing on the individual rather than the mass.
Rather than making learning frustrating and impersonal, students are empowered through blended learning to participate, not only with the teacher, but also with other students. Instilling such habits at an early age will result in positive change for all.

Although blended education is a relatively new concept it’s an important one to be aware of.  This model has the potential of not only changing the secondary and tertiary learning environment but also career development and even continuing education in the future which in effect pose positive change for the entirety of the population and bodes well for the future economy.

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