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Education in a blender

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Frank Schultz
January 25, 2012

You might have read my grousings about the education community’s penchant for creating new terminology. In defense of our educators, theirs has been a rapidly changing field over the past two decades, with new theories, techniques, etc., coming fast and furious.

Ask any experienced teacher, and you’ll get an earful about how they’re constantly being asked to change to conform to the latest hot theories.

I recently have been hearing about a new one. They call it "blended learning." It’s not a term that immediately tells you what it means.

Here’s an explanation from the Education Commission of the States, who identifies blended learning as one of the top 12 emerging issues in 2012 (Aren’t they clever?)


What is blended learning?

?--? A course that combines face-to-face instruction and online instruction.

?--? A school that combines some fully face-to-face courses and some fully online courses.

?--? A school that offers mostly or entirely blended courses.

?--? A student’s coursework, if the student is self-blending by taking à la carte courses from a virtual school while also attending a traditional brick-and-mortar school.”

Source: Evergreen Education Group, “Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice” (2010).


This is not futuristic stuff. It’s happening right here in river city. I have heard of classes in which the students watch the lectures at home on computing devices and then do what used to be considered “homework” in class, where the teacher can be more of a coach than a lecturer. (They call this “flipping,” or “flipped classrooms,” which has a nice ring to it.)

Thoughts?



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