This post from Jill Thompson reminded me I had been wanting to write on this topic for awhile. She points out that there is a difference between technology integration and blended learning. I couldn’t agree more. This is why I have hopefully helped to clarify it with this “Continuum from Textbook Enhanced to Online Teaching and Learning.” In addition this presentation entitled “Blended Learning, How do you know it when you see it?” was by my colleague, Allison Powell and myself which may help clarify blended learning a bit more. It is difficult to just talk about blended learning without also observing it.
iNACOL has produced two documents recently to help clarify what blended learning is for the field. The first is “Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education“. This document points out that in order to really personalize learning, it has to be a blended teaching approach. It would be very difficult for a teacher nowadays to personalize learning, but not also be a blended teacher. A blended learning teacher not only uses the technology to enhance student learning, but also transforms in their teaching pedagogy and curriculum design in a way that causes more student involvement and engagement in their learning.
The second document is the “A Roadmap for Implementation of Blended Learning at the School Level” that was completed in collaboration with the New York Public Schools, iLEARN NYC initiative. This was written after observing, interacting and interviewing teachers and administrators in blended learning schools throughout New York City. Many school administrators may especially appreciate the rubric and observation tools found at the end of the document. The purpose is really to identify how blended learning looks at the school and classroom level. This Blackboard Collaborate recorded webinar , “A Day in the Life of a Blended Learning Teacher” also further clarifies blended learning from a teacher perspective.
iNACOL is now in the process of refining this roadmap so that it is more national in scope and may provide guidance for blended learning schools throughout the U.S. and the world about the implementation, monitoring and sustainability of blended learning programs.