My classroom was like an old western movie. I often thought of myself as a “white hat” and there were times when I certainly went “cowboy” after some new technology, literature set, you name it I probably started a shoot-out over it. So when I try to gather compelling course content around Blended Learning – I ask myself – have I turned from Pioneer to Settler?
Remind Me, Blended Learning?
The term Blended Learning, a concept which has needed definition since starting my current job almost ten years ago, has undergone many revisions. The simplest way to think about blended learning is to imagine a single classroom and remove the walls and meeting times. The best definition of blended learning includes the (2007) guidance by previously Sloan Consortium of between 30%-79% of content available online and the factors of Path, Place, Time, Pace identified by The Christensen Institute.
Who is Turning from Pioneer to Settler?
Some educators give up decisions about online content to software companies, with their canned, adaptive content. Teachers, or schools, or districts are judging the completeness and or the automaticity as the deciding factor are giving away the content teachers use as a medium between student and teacher.
And while achieving some aspects of the definition of blended learning, it does not likely preserve the classroom culture. And without a feeling of safety and belonging, what type of classroom is that anyway?
Some educators secede the decisions of learners to outside school vendors, weather is the state online school or online charter schools.
And it is easy. Easy to let a software make the decisions for us. But should we settle for that?
Stay a Pioneer
Instead of settling for the ideas of what vendors and software developers think our students should learn educators should still be pioneering variations of blended teaching and learning. The art of teaching that no company or program has replaced yet is the art of bringing together the students and the content well. The teacher has to decide what goes online and what stays face-to-face. There is no formula for what that is in each classroom, each classroom teacher has to make that choice based on the students s/he has and the content. Every year, the teacher always in control of those variables.
Stay a pioneer.