Saturday, May 05, 2012

#blendchat: Join Us!

Last Saturday, we discussed the blended classroom at #edcampbos. The blended classroom integrates many tools to foster optimal student learning.  Many educators gathered at a large table on the tenth floor of the NERD Center in Boston to discuss this concept.

As promised, I will lead a blended classroom Twitter chat the first Sunday of the month at 8 p.m. EST. I welcome all to join me for our first chat this Sunday, May 6 at #blendclass. Our first chat will be broad and center on the questions, definitions and practices we have related to blended learning. Next month, the chat will focus on a specific topic or questions that seems to be a main discussion point in this week's chat.

At #edcampbos we first defined the “blended classroom.” Definitions varied. This is a list of many of the definitions:
  • diversity
  • tech enabled learning.
  • helping students find the best ways to access, understand and present learning.
  • augmenting classroom with online learning.
  • greatest variety of tools to take information in, show learning and create.
  • access to course information anytime, anywhere 24-7.
  • project able.
  • combining online and face to face.
  • computers and tech to support learning.
  • tech and learning at home and school.
  • cultivates 21st c learner.
  • engages students.
  • student focused.
  • connecting students to experts.
  • virtual learning blend with physical school.
  • quintessential environment.
  • deepening connection with students and others.
  • differentiating
  • meeting all needs.
  • mirrors cognition, brain-friendly.

The blended classroom is not the “sit at your seat and let the teacher lead” classroom of old.  It’s a dynamic, multi-tool, student-centered, passion-driven learning environment.

Books recommended to strengthen blended classroom endeavor included:
Brain Rules
Memory and Cognition

Educators shared many tools that support blended learning in their classrooms including:
  • Social networks such as NING and Edmodo.
  • Video: students are able to watch videos repeatedly, and in their own space and time.
  • Online books: images, definitions, voice.
  • Socrative: a check-in system.
  • Kid-blog.
  • Reading groups across classes.
  • Twitter: #commentsforkids, great hashtag for sharing kids’ comments and eliciting response.
  • Moodle
  • Skype play and Skype educate
  • Balabolka - free text reader.
  • UDL: Universal Design for Learning
  • QR Codes
  • iPads
  • websites and Wikis for research.
  • Apple tool voice.
  • Expeditionary Schools.
  • Content focus for 5 ½ weeks rather than whole semester.
  • Mixed level, interdisciplinary, project base learning.
  • Google aps

The discussion demonstrated that the blended classroom is becoming a popular and productive education strategy and practice--one that engages and empowers students.

Please add comments that further the information related to the definition and practice of blended learning, and please join us Sunday night at 8 pm EST for our first #blendchat.