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What Do Tomorrow's Classrooms Look Like?
Blending online learning with traditional lessons invites teachers to reinvent the classroom
Right now, online learning and face-to-face learning are seemingly distinct, opposite choices in K-12 schooling. You're either in the school room or at home learning online. But this is changing -- the online classroom will soon supplement face-to-face learning, and students will move easily between both environments, benefiting from the strengths of each.
The "flipped" classroom is one way of blending the traditional classroom with online learning. A teacher "flips" the traditional method of face-to-face lecture and homework: delivering lectures and typical "classroom" content via an online platform for homework, and devoting in-class time to the kinds of activities that would normally be considered homework. This isn't just about lecturing on video. Our creativity is called for. What kind of material is best learned at a customizable pace online? What kinds of experiential activities will best help kids to apply their learnings?
The flipped classroom is just one model for integrating online learning into the classroom. With the tools that the online space presents opportunities are abundant.
Educators are currently working to help each other blend online and face-to-face teaching with networks such as Project Share. Some benefits of embracing the blended classroom are more subtle. A group of teachers in Cincinnati told me via Twitter that blended learning "gives the quiet kids a voice. The classroom is anywhere and online conversations become in-class content."
I think one of the best ways to understand effective online teaching is to begin learning online yourself. Just as face-to-face learning prepares a teacher to know what kind of classroom she wants her students to experience, online learning prepares you to understand this unique medium which research shows is different from face-to-face teaching.
What online or blended teaching strategies have you benefited from, either as a teacher or as a learner?