My aspirational brain vomit

Blended/Hybrid Learning

Archived material posted in 2012


How Learning Commons can assist with Blended/Hybrid Learning and other forms of 21st Century Learning.

Some points:

  • Teacher-librarians work collaboratively with teachers, rather than being prep coverage that may or may not  meaningfully link to what classroom teachers are doing. This is important for continuity, modeling of collaboration and sharing (by teachers to students), and to truly create a community of learners, which includes teaching staff.
  • Blended or hybrid courses include time spent not only face to face, but also online and (not necessarily with the teacher) physically out in the community (Caulfield, 2011). The latter could include outdoor, service, apprenticeship, co-op, and other experiential learning opportunities, which are key for a holistic, engaging education, but the focus of this document is on online and digital technology component of a blended education, so the physical element will not be covered further here.
  • It must be remembered that:

if the focus is on technology instead of applying knowledge of the discipline to determine which principles students need to know and how to best teach those principles to them, the possibilities of creating the most effective and engaging hybrid course design are limited to the technology chosen. (Caulfield, 2011, p. 7)

  • This video explains blended learning:


  • This slideshare shows that elements of blended learning can be used for younger children as well as those in the middle and high school years.

Radical Changes

Hayes-Jacobs (2010) emphasizes that blended learning allows for radical change in education by reducing to obliterating the need for the rigid, lock-step school structures of “tradition” (remembering, of course, that this “tradition” is not much more than a century old), such as grouping by age, and replacement with more flexible structures that recognize the needs of individual students. An effectively designed learning commons, as the rightful centre of a school (both physically and virtually), can facilitate these new school forms and structures, such as the:

    • Schedule (long term and short term)
    • Grouping patterns of learners (institutional and instructional)
    • Grouping patterns of professionals (multiple affiliations)
    • Space (both physical and virtual) (Hayes-Jacobs, 2010, pp. 61-62)

Hayes-Jacobs (2010) also recommends this website on educational building design for ideas for the whole school physical space.

Finally, Hayes-Jacobs (2010) calls for a 21st century pledge with what many might perceive as a radical curriculum commitment from teachers. T-Ls and other educational technology specialists can provide guidance and support to teachers wishing, or being required to make such a commitment. The pledge points out that 21st century tools improve learning by providing visual, organizational, and thinking tools that increase engagement, allowing for transfer to other areas of curriculum, reducing intrusive routines, increasing the chance academic work will be done outside of the classroom: it also asks that teachers ensure that the tools are used to enhance content and are evident in student work (Fig. 2.1, p. 22). Furthermore, Hayes-Jacobs (2010) requests that teachers (with administrators being required to take on a similar commitment):

  • Review all current available technological resources available in the district [online, hardware, creative software]….
  • Identify at least one specific unit to revise.
  • Plan to replace a specific content, skill and assessment practice with a 21st century upgrade within the unit.
  • Share the proposed change with colleagues.
  • Learn to use the tool that will be requisite to replace the current unit design with the new practice.
  • Revise the unit and begin implementation with students.
  • Tolerate a certain degree of frustration.
  • Celebrate the victories.
  • Review and share 21st century learning openly with colleagues at targeted work sessions through the school year. (Fig. 2.1, p. 22)

This is a tall and intimidating order with a steep learning curve for many educators with a myriad of responsibilities. Seek out the help of T-Ls and the school learning commons for guidance and support. T-Ls can also help you to expand your personal learning networks and other professional development opportunities


Next: References

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