Blended Learning

21st-century skills are key to developing a competent and prepared workforce, these skills include:
Information literacy – Appropriate applied research to any given challenge. The ability to find useful and reliable information.
Creativity and innovation – Exploration of imagination, refining and improving original ideas.
Collaboration – Working together to share, advocate and compromise on issues critical to a teams success
Problem-solving – Experimentations of new and familiar concepts while processing information until a viable solution is reached.
Communication – The ability to accurately read, write, present and comprehend ideas from a variety of media and audiences.
Responsible citizens- the demonstration of proper technology use, global awareness and moral capacity in and outside the classroom.

Technology has a critical role to play in the learning process as a tool, not the solution to learning

When students are challenged to use technology to become producers, their capacity for learning increases. Simply stated, technology should be leveraged to provide options for learning that would not and could not exist without it.

Blended instruction can be defined as a computer-mediated instructional strategy that leverages technology and focuses on the student-teacher relationship to enhance independence, engagement and achievement. This teaching relationship includes experiential and online learning. The curriculum shopped drive instruction and high quality instruction drives learning. The most important facet of blended instruction must be to die opportunities for students to problem solve and be creative producers.

Four attributes of a student centred approach to learning:
a. Curriculum, instruction and assessment embrace the skills and knowledge needed for success.
b. Community assets are harnessed to support and deepen learning experiences
c. Time is used flexibly and includes learning opportunities outside the traditional day
d. Mastery-based strategies are employed to allow for pacing based on proficiency in skills and knowledge.

A key feature of blended instruction is the presence of the teacher in the design and facilitation of cognitive and social learning for the purpose of validating educationally worthwhile learning outcomes.

In order to achieve successful cognitive and social development, students require opportunities to develop both relationships and autonomy. Engaging students is a multi-faceted challenge, evidence suggests that effective integration of technology can increase engagement when it includes opportunities for students to collaborate and construct their knowledge socially.
Learning design must recognise that research on engagement has identified the counterintuitive finding that students who are struggling academically and are disconnected from school make more progress and are motivated to make effort and to resist when they are engaged by caring teachers in more academically challenging coursework.[1]

Students with higher levels of engagement extend more effort and are persistent in completing tasks, leading to greater gains in academic achievement.

Blended learning has been shown to increase or equalise student achievement when compared to other delivery methods. Blended learning leverages and provides equitable opportunities for students of varied intellect, cultures and ethnicities to personalise learning. By blending learning, we shift the learning to a student-centered learning strategy. The blended learning environment, with the teacher as the facilitator of learning, supports the student’s individual discovery and learning progression. Success in school and later life requires content knowledge and information processing skills that are developed through interactions and collaborations as well as technological skills used to gather information, solve problems and communicate ideas.

[1] The Oppurtunity Equation:’ Transforming mathematics and Science educations for the Global Economy.

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