Blended learning paves way for digital content

Panelists note that digital content, access can boost blended learning’s impact

blended-learningBlended learning is by now a well-known concept. However during a day-long ed-tech summit devoted to connecting students and teachers to the technology, broadband, and content they need to become college and career-ready, panelists explored how blended learning needs the right supports to become truly effective.

“Blended learning is not using technology to diminish the role of teaching; it enhances the role of teaching,” said panelist Bob Wise, former West Virginia governor and president of the Alliance for Excellent Education.

Blended learning is commonly defined as a combination of face-to-face and online learning. Benefits include its ability to let students learn at a more individualized pace, as well as the chance for students to access courses that might not be offered at a traditional brick-and-mortar school, supporters say.

“Now we have the ability for students to master content and move at their own pace,” Wise said.

It is crucial for policy makers to understand that blended learning is taking place in school districts across the country, and that schools are making efforts to prepare students for college and the workforce at the same time as they are operating under constrained budgets and adapting to ever-changing technology.

“The key is really to take the core ingredient in K-12–a teacher–and to be able to support that teacher in every way possible, to develop ways the teacher can make the learning experience more effective,” said Joel Klein, former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and CEO of Amplify. “It’s critical that the ‘blender’ be the teacher.”

(Live interaction or online learning? Take our poll on Page 2. Next page: Digital content; empowering teachers)

Laura Ascione

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