Most of us are aware that blended learning means integrating face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning.
The benefits of blended learning are many, including allowing greater leeway for students to work at their own pace and take a lot more courses than they might otherwise have had access to at their own local schools. Think of it as an educational leveler.
But as Bob Wise, former governor of West Virginia and president of the Alliance for Excellent Education opined at a recent panel discussion, "Blended learning is not using technology to diminish the role of teaching, it enhances the role of teaching."
The panel went on to discuss what they felt were three important parts of best-practice blended learning: content, planning and leadership.
Content, the panelists agreed, is still vitally important--perhaps the most important element--but blended learning is not a matter of replacing books with text on digital devices and letting the students sit there reading from the screen. Online or off, or in the classroom, the learning must be interactive.
And in order to get the best interactive learning climate, a great deal of planning is required.
Bob Wise strongly suggested that without adequate planning the best technological infrastructure in the world is worthless.
Plans are needed. Goals are needed. We must explore some old, familiar questions.
What do we expect from the students? How will we assess? How they are doing?
And all of this requires leadership. Leadership spelled t-e-a-c-h-e-r!
We here at RobotsLAB agree. Our RobotsLAB Box, for instance, is a fully interactive STEM learning teaching tool, packed with exciting robots capable of delivering content at its very best. But without planning and a teacher for guidance and leadership, it will not reach its full potential.