Yesterday I wrote about the components of “Blended Teaching and Learning” which includes what the teacher is doing, what the student is doing, what the content is, and where the content resides. Overall, it is important to understand that blended teaching and learning is part of a continuum from textbook enhanced to technology enhanced to web enhanced to blended to online.
Recently, I had the good fortune of visiting an excellent example of a technology enhanced classroom. One of my clients is the Juvenile Court and Community Schools in San Diego County and I visited there in the fall. One of the classrooms I visited was the teen mothers program in downtown San Diego.
It was about 1 in the afternoon when I walked in, along with the director of technology – two men in a class of 40 girls and a female teacher. Just before we arrived, we found out that one of the teachers in the two classrooms had an emergency, so both classes of girls – about 40 in total – were all in the same classroom. They were all seated at desks facing forward and in the front of the class were two students presenting on a digital white board. All of the other students had clickers that they were using as part of the presentation. The presenters – both girls in the class – were sharing their findings about teen violence. As they presented, they would come to slide which would ask a question such as: “What percentage of teens are victims of violence?”. The possible percentages were listed beneath the question and the girls in the class would use their clickers to suggest their answers. After the audience responded to the question, the presenters would reveal the polling results. Then, the presenters would say something like, “Ok, I see 25% of you answered C, why did you choose that answer?” and the girls in the audience would respond. After a little discussion, the actual percentage would be revealed with an explanation. Also in the room was a baby of one of the girls who began to fuss during the presentation. The teacher walked over to pick up and console the baby so the young mother could continue to focus and the presentation was not disturbed.
Students were controlling the learning in this classroom and the teacher was the guide on the side that was enhanced with technology. The technology used included clickers, a digital white board, a computer and a projector. To me, this was an awesome example of “technology enhanced teaching and learning.”
I commented to the teacher about her use of technology and how effective it was and then I suggested that the only thing missing was having absent students attend online, from a distance, so they could also be part of the action. She said that she maintains a blog that periodically updates what is going on in the classroom. It was an excellent example of technology enhanced teaching and learning.