By – by Jason Suter and Chris Mangan
Recently, blended, hybrid, and flipped learning have been hot topics of conversation in the educational community. Many educators use these terms interchangeably or find their definitions to be ambiguous. In this article, it is our intention to discuss some of the strategies common to these types of instruction and provide some clarity.
Where Do We Start?
As with any instructional strategy, technology integration tool, app, or device, educators need to start with a goal in mind. In fact, we strongly believe the goal should never be to ‘flip your classroom’ or implement a blended, hybrid, or flipped learning environment. Rather, these things, regardless of whichever definition you finally apply to them, are really just tools which provide the means to achieve the real goal.
The Real Goal
Simply stated, an educator’s real goal is to meet the individual needs of every learner, every hour of every day. Proper technology integration gives educators the ability to finally differentiate for every student, providing opportunities for self-paced (think teacher-paced or faster) and mastery-based learning, and opening access to course materials and learning activities that extend outside of the classroom walls and regular school hours. These shifts essentially move us from a school day where time and location are the constant and learning is the variable, to one where learning is the constant and time and location are the variable.
To achieve the goal of consistently meeting the individual needs of every learner, we are not suggesting that teachers spend more time preparing lessons, but rather that they utilize their time differently. Instead of spending time preparing lessons based solely on the curriculum that needs to be covered, mass-customized learning enables teachers to prepare informed lessons by looking at data daily. This activity helps teachers tailor their instruction to meet the needs of every student each day. Using data to inform instruction results in teachers meeting with students because the data indicates that an intervention is needed.
Technology Integration and the Flipped Learning Implementation Process
Technology integration, when applied correctly, not only allows us to do things that were not previously possible, it also allows us to save time on various tasks. The time saved can be reallocated to areas that have a greater impact on student learning. Making the move to a customized and/or flipped learning environment should be seen as a process that takes time to fully implement. This is not an overnight or all-at-once process; it’s a long-term change in the way classroom instruction happens.
Adapting to the Way Today’s Students Learn
Educators must realize that today’s students are children of the most technology-stimulated time in history, which shortens attention spans and presents the challenge of communicating information in a way that quickly captures the learners’ attention. Even a ten-minute YouTube video is painful for most students to watch. In a traditional classroom, this same student is asked to sit through a 40-minute lecture, which leads to the student becoming disengaged because we are not teaching the way students learn.
British professor and educational/training developer Phil Race, who presented an alternative experiential learning model which was seen as radically new and different, reported in 2001 that a teacher generally speaks 100-200 words per minute and a student only hears 50-100 of those words. The study also found that students are attentive just 40% of the time.
Another study conducted by Chet Meyers and Thomas Jones found that students retain 70% of what they hear in the first ten minutes of class and just 20% of what they hear in the last ten minutes. Studies like these teach us that the method of the traditional lecture is not very effective, which is why many schools have already acknowledged this and have begun to implement other forms of instruction, such as flipped learning.
Increasing Student Engagement
The word ‘engagement’ is often used when referring to students actively learning in a classroom. We actually believe there is a difference between ‘on-task’ and ‘engaged’ behavior. There is not a problem with a classroom of students involved in on-task behavior: the framework created within this type of instruction creates an environment where ensuring that students are on-task is achievable. However, true engagement seems to be achieved when a student develops a desire to go beyond the required curriculum and becomes a self-directed learner who explores the curriculum more deeply, of their own initiative. One of the benefits of incorporating technology in a flipped, blended, or hybrid environment is that it provides the opportunities needed for students to become the engaged learners we hope to nurture in our classrooms.
Source : Blended, Hybrid, or Flipped Learning: What’s Ideal for Your Classroom? By Jason Suter and Chris Mangan
Illustration by: Preetham Shetty, Co-Founder Ekin Knowledge
About Ekin Knowledge
Ekin Knowledge is an innovative Edutech company in the space of personalized learning. edWhizz by Ekin is a personalized learning platform which enables teachers to deliver differentiated instructions and personalized assessments based on individual student needs.
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