Hack Your Classroom - Week Five: Embracing blended learning, even if you don't have many devices...
In a sense this brings us to this weeks topic - looking at the power and potential of blended learning. If we as educators can recognise the breadth and depth of personal learning (and motivation) that has been achieved over the last four weeks thanks to online environments and communities such as Twitter and Google+, then why aren't we all using these platforms this way with our learners? Obviously if you are teaching students under 13 years old, this isn't really an option, but there is much that can be replicated in a closed, private environment that can provide similar opportunities for younger students as well. I know my daughters who are 8 and 10 love going on to their classroom blogs to both share their learning and to comment and reflect on the learning of others.
In terms of why we should all be embracing blended learning, my thoughts are outlined in this earlier blog post http://www.teachingandelearning.com/2014/03/so-why-we-are-focusing-on-blended.html?spref=tw
This week I am keen to hear from you all about how you and your colleagues are utilising blended learning to provide opportunities to learning that go beyond the four walls of your classroom and the hours in the school day. I am also keen to explore and hear about how teachers are managing this in classrooms where technology is limited and where students don't necessarily have Internet access at home.
For me I believe a hug amount can be achieved with just one computer and Internet connection. Geoff Woods at Rosmini College is a great example, where is students have taken the 'Over the back fence' health programme to a global stage via Skype. What started as his students teaching the primary students (literally over that school's back fence) is now a global programme involving students and universities literally around the world. Who could you connect your students with via a Google hangout or Skype Chat.
Add to the mix one or two iPods and then you have the opportunity to explore different modes for learning and sharing learning. Are you making the most if this technology to video or capture podcasts of your or your students teaching skills or content? Are you giving students opportunity to share or evidence their learning through video, podcast as much as you are through writing? It still amazes me how many schools don't let students utilise the technology in their pocket. Do you encourage students to use their phones in class? If so, how? If not, why not? Considering many are carrying devices with more computing power that the Voyager it seems crazy that we aren't all making the most of it.
Here is a link to an EdTalk I did some time ago about making the most of BYOD.
So how do you make the most of the little or loads technology available in your classroom?