Incorporating blended learning in the classroom

Image by: Prawny / Pixabay.com

Blended learning is an approach to education that combines a range of learning environments and digital and non-digital learning tools. The following resources and practices show a number of ways that blended learning can be incorporated into any education plan.

Tools that make blended learning easy

BLENDI (Blended Learning for Inclusion) is an Erasmus+ project that aims to use blended learning to tackle social and educational exclusion for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. It uses a mix of collaborative lesson plans and tools such as online webcasting, online discussion forums and e-portfolios to encourage a team approach to learning. More information on how to implement the BLENDI approach in your school can be found in the project guidelines.

mSchools is a global community of teachers, researchers and policymakers dedicated to promoting technology in learning. The online platform shares new ideas, materials and tools in the form of free and open resources, including:

  • mSteam – aimed at 9- to 14-year-olds, this project has pupils turn their mobile device into a ‘lab’ by completing various teaching units that focus on STEAM subjects;
  • Toolbox (available in Spanish) – a platform created by teachers, for teachers with a collection of the best apps, tools and resources to use in the classroom;
  • Mobile History Map – this project allows students to map out history, literature, nature, science or art through collaborative project-based learning, using gamification and geolocation;
  • ScratchChallenge – aimed at 10- to 14-year-olds, this initiative focuses on the application of computational thinking by helping pupils learn the programming language Scratch and use it to build interactive stories, simulations, games and animations to share online.

Outdoor and collaborative learning spaces

Many schools are adapting their learning spaces to provide pupils with a unique educational experience and make the most of school grounds. In 2016, the Aalto University in Finland opened its campus to 350 students from the Haukilahti Upper Secondary School, allowing them to use the space for sports, science and dining while their school was being renovated. The school found that by using certain spaces of the university for dining, science and sports activities, it reduced its carbon footprint and operational expenses, and had more flexibility in planning classes.

The Nordahl Grieg vgs School in Norway incorporates various forms of learning to allow their pupils to visualise what they are being taught. The school allows students to work on their own projects at their own pace, while emphasising the need for transparency – and this is reflected in their digital technology strategy as well as the design of the school. Gaming as a learning tool and social media have been given a special focus with classes centred around social media and the importance of navigating the digital world. Gaming is used to teach social science, Norwegian and English, allowing students to visualise the subject and enhance their decision-making skills and critical thinking. The school works on the premise that gaming can be used to engage students in the same way as books, films and music.

Nordahl Grieg vgs School

Nordahl Grieg vgs School

The publication Learning Outside the Classroom: Theory and Guidelines in Practice highlights some practical guidelines for outdoor learning, including education for sustainable development, risk management, learning through local landscapes and supervising pupils outdoors. The publication also defines a range of different forms of outdoor education – such as learning on the school grounds, in local neighbourhoods and on day trips – showing teachers that outdoor education does not have to be expensive or time-consuming to be a success.

Resources:

Exploring the Future of Education

Blended learning: making schools strong and resilient for post-pandemic times

Get started with blended learning: how it works in practice, where and how learning takes place

Learning From and With Each Other: Outdoor Leaders’ Views on Personal Growth and Well-Being Through Expeditions With At-Risk Populations

MOOC: Teaching Outside The Classroom