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Blended Learning

How Can Blended Learning Make You Love Teaching Again?

Have you heard of blended learning? It’s one of the newer buzzwords in education today. Flipping the classroom, hybrid learning … these terms are all related and are starting to really make headlines in education news. Is there anything of value behind the hype? Or is this just another fad that will come and go?

Blended learning picture showing an iPad on a pile of books.
This could be the new normal.

Coming up with a definition of blended learning isn’t a simple matter. It really depends on who you ask. But when you “consolidate” all of the different definitions you might find, they all basically mean the same thing. Blended learning is incorporating online learning with face-to-face instruction in a way that is pedagogically valuable.

So, how did it make me love teaching again?

I started adding blended learning to my teaching toolbox about 5 years ago. In all honesty, by that point I’d been teaching for 28 years and I was pretty much burned out. My patience was thin, my temper was bad, and I really didn’t like my job all that much anymore. But I needed to stick it out to earn my full retirement benefit.

I was so tired of lecturing and was always trying new activities, labs, demos … anything that would help the kids learn the content without me having to give the same lecture 4 or 5 times a day. One of the things that I DID love about my job was creating new “stuff” … lesson plans, fun activities … I did it as much for my own sanity as for my students.

So that meant I was online a lot, searching for new ideas and strategies. I’m also a tech lover, so finding things I could do online with my kids was always a plus. That’s when I started reading about “flipping your classroom” and how online learning was really becoming a thing.

Then I Discovered Blended Learning!

I was immediately intrigued. I loved the theory behind the idea of a flipped classroom, but instinctively felt that it wouldn’t work for my kids for several reasons. They didn’t all have access to technology at home, and I couldn’t imagine most of them making the effort to watch the videos on their own time.

But … blended learning! Ah, now THERE was something I could sink my teeth into! Using technology and online learning while in class where I could keep tabs on students and facilitate groups sounded like heaven to me! The more I learned about it, the more excited I became about the possibilities it opened up for both my own teaching and their learning. I could even use it with the 5E Inquiry method!

If you recognize yourself in any of the above, or if you’re curious and would like to learn more, I’ll be continually adding content about blended learning .. the technology and apps, how to avoid common pitfalls, teaching tips and lesson plan ideas and what worked as well as what didn’t!

Speaking of lesson plans, I came up with a great template that I used in writing my own BL lessons. You can grab it, along with a bonus BL lesson on cloning that my kids loved, by filling out the form below or in the sidebar on the right. This will also give you access to more freebies and resources that will be coming along the pipeline over the next few months.

Are you interested in blended learning? Are you already using this technique? We’d love to hear your thoughts!