Getting Students On Board with the Blended Learning Model, Part 3

Getting Students On Board with the Blended Learning Model

While it’s important to have the support of parents and teachers in transitioning to a blended learning model, the most vital participants are the students themselves. After all, schools are there for the sole purpose of serving students’ interests, and even though they may not realize it yet, students are the ones with the most at stake.

In this third and final chapter of our three-part series, we’ll look at common misconceptions that students have about blended learning and how educators and even parents can clear up those misunderstandings.

Misconception #11:

Blended learning means I’m going to be taught by a computer.

The idea that blended learning means replacing teachers with technology is pervasive, even among students. This makes communication absolutely vital. Ensure students have multiple avenues for contacting you and asking questions, and be sure to respond promptly to e-mails and other requests. Also take the time to develop a rapport with students and get to know their needs and learning habits. This assures them they’re not alone and reminds them they have a human resource they can reach out to for help. It also reinforces the idea that you are personally invested in their education.

Misconception #12:

Blended learning is going to be easy. You just sit at a computer and that’s it!

When taking a blended learning course for the first time, many students make the mistake of thinking that it’s going to be a breeze. After all, everything is done on a computer, so that means no homework and no responsibilities, right? Wrong. And that’s where students run into trouble. If students have low expectations from the outset, they can easily fall behind and find themselves struggling for the rest of the school year to catch up. Set clear expectations from the beginning of what kind of rigor the course will demand. Students need and want to be challenged, and challenging students is what keeps them engaged.

Misconception #13:

When colleges see my transcripts, they won’t think blended learning courses are rigorous enough.

College bound students may have concerns about how blended learning courses will affect their ability to get into the higher education institutions of their choice. If a student expresses these kinds of doubts, take some time to talk to them about their future plans. Applying to college can be a daunting process, and many students just aren’t aware of what it is institutions are really looking for. Explain how taking courses with online components shows off their college readiness and can actually look really good on their transcripts since taking online courses is fast becoming a necessity for many college students. Also, help students understand the role their overall GPA, test scores, and involvement in school and community activities play in getting accepted.

Misconception #14:

Blended learning makes it easy to cheat since all the answers are online. I’ll never get caught.

Many students think that working in an online or blended learning environment means they can simply copy and paste answers from Wikipedia. Some of them know what they’re doing is cheating, but the scarier part is that many of them don’t. Worst of all, a growing number of them don’t understand what plagiarism is or the impact it can have on their academic careers. Start your blended learning course off right by ensuring that students understand the concept of plagiarism and its consequences. Also, be attentive. There will always be students who cheat, but they are much less likely to do so if they know you’re paying attention to their work.

Misconception #10:

Blended learning means I won’t get to interact with classmates.

A common problem with online courses is that students can be left feeling isolated because it takes away the opportunity to interact with their peers. This is one area where blended learning actually benefits students because it offers them the chance to make those interpersonal connections during class time. Be sure to take advantage of this and plan group activities to give students time to work with their classmates. Building those connections and learning how to cooperate with peers helps students develop the important social skills they will need later in life and in their careers.  

Use Social Media at Conferences, It’s #WorthIt

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Anyone who has ever been to a conference knows how inspiring they can be. You attend sessions and workshops and learn from leaders in your industry, you sit by people who do what you do on the other side of the country or maybe even in a neighboring district, you exchange ideas and brainstorm new ones, and you return with a new sense of purpose.

iNACOL’s 2014 Symposium, “Powering Personalized Learning,” is kicking-off next week. And if you’re attending, then you should use social media! It is the perfect way to make connections and stay connected throughout the conference. Here are five social media tips to use at any conference: Read More

It’s Time Technology Transforms Education

It’s Time Technology Transforms Education

We’ve seen technology transform so much of our lives: from music, movies, and phones, to banking, shopping, and even friendships. But technology has yet to transform one of the bedrocks of our society: education. Why is it taking so long?

It really comes down to a few reasons: two fundamental and one monumental. First, for too many years the software solutions lacked either depth or breadth. If the graphical user interface was good or the storytelling was compelling, there was no depth, meaning these tools didn’t help students learn the fundamentals. Other solutions had no breadth – maybe someone had a great course or two on algebra, but not enough of anything else. Read More

E-Learning and Digital Citizenship

E-Learning and Digital Citizenship

In the fast-growing world of online and blended education, the concept of digital citizenship is becoming more of a driving force behind how our teachers and students use technology for learning.

It’s no longer enough for us to remember the virtual paths for accessing electronic file folders and storage systems where classroom materials and homework submissions are housed, or recall how to log into our courses remotely from our tablets. Digital citizenship adds an entirely new element to our e-learning lives; It establishes how each of us should appropriately and responsibly use, communicate, and interact with technology. Read More

Top Five Ways to use Video in Blended Classrooms

Top Five Ways to use Video in Blended Classrooms

It’s one thing to talk about significant events in US history—the “I Have a Dream” speech, the first steps taken on the moon, and the assassination of JFK—but it’s quite another to have witnessed them. Video bridges this gap.

Using videos in the classroom can make lessons more interactive, grab students’ attention faster, and offer a different way to present content. Not to mention, students have the option to stop and replay videos as often as they want when working alone or in small groups.

Here are five ways to use video in your classroom.

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