Blended Learning is a pedagogical approach to integrating technologies in traditional classrooms. Distance Learning means instruction in which students and teachers are in different locations.
How is Distance Learning different from in-person instruction?
The key difference between Distance Learning and in-person learning is the locations of students and teachers. Using video-communication websites like Zoom and Google Meet, students and teachers can see each other faces and talk to each other. However, they are physically at different locations.
What are some common mistakes with Distance Learning?
A common mistake of implementing distance learning is implementing distance learning like online learning. During distance learning after school closure, schools implement distance learning without a fixed school-wide schedule; instead, the teaching schedules are left to individual teachers to make the decision. Therefore, teaching after school closure is not distance learning.
How Blended Learning enhance Distance Learning?
Blended learning instruction strategies have evolved as new technologies are available for teachers and students. Some educators define blended learning instruction with flipped instruction strategies. Studies cited that some blended learning programs replace some face-to-face teaching with online delivery. The term blended learning is initially vague, and it encompasses a variety of pedagogical methods. Recent studies in 2006 narrow blended learning as a combination of face-to-face instruction with computer-mediated instruction. However, our experiences as current teachers allow us to redefine blended learning based on new useful features available technologies.
Why teachers need a Learning Management System?
Learning Management System websites and their new features have made the Learning Management System website as the most crucial technology to implement effective blended learning instruction. With most Learning Management System website, teachers streamline most of their administrative tasks:
- Streamline communications using different means to announce to all students quickly and easily.
- Maintain and auto-update a detailed and comprehensive gradebook that allows students to view grades of all activities to track their progress.
- Streamline feedback with auto-graded and adaptive assessments that provide students instant, meaningful feedback, and students can reattempt for partial credits.
- Create and assign interactive video activities that are embedded with interactive questions so students can watch the video and self-assess at their own pace.
- Assign assignments that allow students to submit their work easily by integrating different Google files, including Google Doc, Presentations, Spreadsheets, and Jamboard.
Why it is challenging for teachers to engage students at a distance?
The most difficult challenge for teachers to teach students through distance learning is engaging students behind their screens. When in class, teachers engage students by building a positive relationship with their students and assessing their students frequently. For example, teachers can remind students to re-engage students using proximity, nonverbal cues, and other means.
Through distance learning, teachers cannot determine if students are paying attention during synchronous sessions. For example, some students record themselves and play the video as wallpaper during synchronous sessions. Some students also share inappropriate content during synchronous sessions. Overall, there is a lack of student accountability, intervention, and support in current distance learning.
During asynchronous sessions, there is also a lack of student accountability. When in classes, teachers assign independent work, and teachers immediately grade students’ work at the end of each period. Anecdote stories of distance learning experiences show that teachers often assigned dull asynchronous activities such as reading Google slides, watching Khan Academy videos, or reading textbooks. Teachers have limited means to promote student accountability.
How to engage all students at a distance?
The key difference between in-person instruction and distance learning is the locations of students and teachers. Because students and teachers are not physically in the same location, it creates many new challenges that do not exist during in-person instruction. Therefore, the secret to engaging students is mediating the new challenges that come with distance learning.
- Cannot provide meaningful feedback to all students timely: In class, teachers can scan the class and identify any off-task students easily by looking at students’ body languages and looking at students’ work.
- Solution: Using an effective Learning Management System website, teachers create adaptive and auto-graded assessments that provide students instant feedback so students can self-assess and retry the questions.
- Cannot provide meaningful intervention and support quickly: In class, teachers can quickly and easily re-engage students using proximity, nonverbal cues, and other informal intervention.
- Solution: Using an effective Learning Management System website, teachers can access real-time data and data analysis that allow teachers to identify struggling students and provide intervention quickly.
- Cannot enforce student accountability: In class, teachers can quickly assess students’ progress and grade students’ work by stamping students’ work. Likewise, teachers have students collaborate with other students for peer evaluation.
- Solution: Using an effective Learning Management System website, teachers can redefine their activities to be auto-graded with instant feedback. Teachers can promote student accountability by making students accountable for participating and answering correctly.
What is the best Learning Management System website for my teachers?
There are so many Learning Management System websites out there, and they all some have similar features. However, administrators should consider the following before selecting their Learning Management System website:
- Pricing: Does it require a district to pay for a district-wide license? Does it require a school to pay for site-licenses for all teachers? According to the Edweek Market Brief, “On average, 67% of educational software products go unused… In some districts, up to 90% of purchased software licenses are not being used.” Training teachers to use Learning Management System effectively is a daunting and expensive task for a district or a school. By the time most of the teachers starting using the Learning Management System website, the expenditures become questionable as schools and districts face unexpected financial challenges yearly. This is one of the main reasons why many veteran teachers refuse to learn new site-license technology.
- Easy to train teachers: Training teachers to use the Learning Management System is an ongoing additional cost for schools and districts. Often, most teachers would not spend their own time to learn how to use the Learning Management website, and most spend working hours to learn how to use it or creating resources. Consequently, schools and districts have to pay teachers extra-duty paid and substitutes for training teachers. Consequently, pick the working Learning Management System could be a costly mistake for a school or a district.
- Practical and Easy to Use: It’s normal that teachers have difficult times learning how to use the Learning Management System website at first. However, once your teachers have learned how to use all features, it should become second-nature for teachers to continue investing on creating resources on the Learning Management Website.
- Is it easy to collaborate and share resources?
- Can teachers use other online resources easily?