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Blended Bites Blog

A Perfect Cup of Coffee

Jessica Anderson

When I think about big movements towards flipped, blended, gamified, and student-centered classrooms, one stands out as having just the right blend.  In my honest opinion, blended learning is the perfect cup of coffee (well, it would be if I liked coffee).
Blended learning enables learners to work at a progressive rate that meets their learning needs. It also provides the flexibility for the teacher to navigate the classroom building connections and relationships with students all while assessing students' needs and understanding. It focuses learning on mastery, collaboration, and eliminates the need for seating charts, grouping students, and, dare I say, "grades" (but that's for a different post).

One of my favorite things about the blended classroom is that students who work at the same pace can group and collaborate with those in the same spot. This is a benefit for these students because they aren't always working with the same people and don't have to try to group themselves during collaborative projects.  It also allows for "experts of content" to be formed as these students move faster, master the material, and then share their knowledge with students just reaching those lessons. As a facilitator, I see students empowered by their new role and encouraged to keep the momentum.

Finally, I love that I can differentiate for my low-level students without anyone knowing that I'm doing it. Everyone is so busy working on their tasks that no one notices that Johnny is struggling with an activity and that we've just completed the assignment together. I've also eliminated his multiple choice quiz over the material and replaced it with an oral exam. Yep, no one sees it but Johnny benefits and learns the material. Win-win!

I ask myself often if I'd ever go back to a traditional science classroom format of lecture-demo-lab. My answer...NO WAY! Blended learning is the epitome of a perfect cup of coffee---not too hot, not too cold, just right! It's exactly what learners in my classroom need!