Dreaming Blended…

Guest post by Archana Shyam.

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How many times have we, as students wished that teachers would approach that math problem a little slowly, wished they would not rush reinforcing yesterday’s concept in today’s class. Perhaps be able to teach you that chemistry equation again because you missed school that day? Or wondered why you have to understand some philosopher’s ideology until it is too late and you are in the real world trying to remember and apply it.

How many times do we, as teachers have found ourselves wishing there was more time to spend on a concept than the scheduled time you have, or found ourselves anxious for that child who could not attend school as he was down with the pox or has had a pressing family problem? Or even wondered how awesome it would be to have the time to make a philosopher’s ideology or a freedom fighter’s story more interesting with enactments and debates?

Blended Learningmight be one of the ideas in the realm of educational methodologies to answer these challenges.

What is Blended Learning?

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Blended Learning is not about uprooting a certain way of teaching and replacing it with another. It is about making the best use of all the available resources to make teaching more efficient and class room time more productive.

Dr. Margaret Driscoll’s definition of Blended Learning in K-12 may be most relevant to all teachers. She mentions that Blended Learning can be defined in four different categories

  • Technology assisted mode of learning
  • Mixed pedagogical learning ( use of cognitive, behavioral approaches)
  • Face to face instruction combined with knowledge delivery mediums like web, videotapes, CD-Rom.
  • Combining technology with actual job tasks

Read Dr. Driscoll’s definition in detail here

How will Blended Learning work?

In this article I chose to look at a hypothetical classroom which uses blended learning where lessons have been pre-recorded.

I have assumed that the teacher:

  • has the lesson plan and content available.
  • has the means and technology to record his/her lessons.
  • is aware how to access the Internet or a Learning Management System (LMS) to upload or edit assignments.
  • has a clearly articulated plan for the usage of class room time.
And the student:
  • has a medium to access the lesson. (laptop, tablets, phone)
  • has his lesson plans already uploaded in them, or access to the internet to find them.
  • knows how to use the LMS or access the lesson plans which are uploaded.

Blended Learning is not a new method of teaching or learning. Rather, it is a new approach to the educational processes that have been used for generations. Blended learning combines various tools & technologies, pedagogical practices, and environments of learning within the paradigm of teaching to make learning more interactive, fun and relevant.

Class room time – which was traditionally a one way medium of knowledge transfer, is now turned into a session filled with interaction, activities, exploration and more…

Blended learning is a cyclical process.

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Imagine a class room in Bal Vidyalay, a hypothetical school based somewhere in the rural India.

  • Sayoni: A little girl who is not in school because she has the pox.
  • Vinod: A boy who has to take care of his sibling today. Its harvest season and his mother had to help his father.
  • Rahul: Another student in the tenth, who longs to audition for the upcoming school play, but can’t miss his chemistry class.
  • Shankar: A bright child who is attending class today, but is getting bored of how the class is progressing.
  • Padma: A teacher who feels guilty about not having enough time to indulge her students in group activities, debates, and fun projects.

What Blended Learning could do for Bal Vidyalay?

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Blended Learning in India

Business schools in India have already applied Blended Learning methodology in their approach. ISB (Hyderabad) is considered to be the pioneer among these schools.

Maharaja Krishnakumar Sinhji Bhavnagar University located in the state of Gujarat is another place where a research has been initiated on using Blended Learning. As part of UGC minor research project, the objective is to research innovations in learning and experiment use of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) and face to face instruction.To read more on their research, please click here.

New technology is common, new thinking is rare.

~Sir Peter Blake This is a world where technology touches a majority of our lives.

For any man who can provide the basic needs for his family holds a cell phone, a television and cable. For the government wants you to have technology in your life – thus your low cost laptops, televisions and may be even internet connections. For learning is not restricted to what your books are saying, but what you are ready to explore, search and learn. For teaching is no more within boundaries, this technology gives us wings to expand, receive more and give further.

So, do you think Bal Vidyalay can be a reality in India? Do you know of any schools attempting Blended Learning?

Have you dreamt Blended?  Please share your views and thoughts.

Atul Sabnis

Atul Sabnis

Founder of eVeltio Education Consulting, a young firm that provides consulting & implementation services to educational institutes to execute better strategies for delivery of education by integrating training, process, workflow, and technology.

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