What a pleasure it was to meet more than 60 teachers from
SMK Subang Jaya
at Taylor’s College on Saturday 11 January 2014.
Our friends at SMK Subang Jaya asked for training on Blended Learning and Classroom Management. I am not surprised that they picked these topics. There is a lot of hype about Blended Learning in the educational world. It really is changing the face of learning in the 21st century. Blended learning can offer more personalized learning opportunities and make learning much more engaging–providing that it is done effectively. Khan Academy, Ted Talks, free online courses such as those created at Stanford U and MIT, and youtube videos, are great fodder for Blended Learning lessons. Classroom management issues can easily arise if Blended Learning is not planned carefully. To effectively integrate BL into classrooms it is important to structure the activities. Structure is also an important element of cooperative learning and group work activities. By structuring meaningful group work and interactive opportunities we can engage students in learning. By structuring blended learning activities we can ensure that learning takes place and classroom management issues are minimized. It’s all about the structure!
I have observed countless teachers in their classrooms, many of whom believe they are offering blended learning opportunities when they really aren’t. What is missing in these situations is planned structures. Blended learning is not simply showing a youtube video and asking some questions about it. An important structure that facilitates the real ‘learning’ in blended learning is the integration of BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER face-t0-face activities.
Throughout this workshop we observed and participated in many blended learning activities, all of which included BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER activities. (You can see an example of a Blended Learning lesson I created on the ‘Flipping Learning’ page of this blog.)
Another important consideration for classroom management and blended learning is cooperative learning structures that effectively facilitate group work and student discussions. Discussions and interactions are an important part of the learning process (see earlier posts on this blog). In the workshop offered, we demonstrated several cooperative learning structures that can be used regularly in classrooms:
- Participants sat in clusters of four and exchanged discussions with their face partners and shoulder partners.
- Several ‘getting to know you’ activities served to introduce the topics and learning objectives of the workshop.
- BL was modelled throughout the training as participants used iPads to access the internet and participate in Before, During, and After activities associated with specific youtube videos and websites on the topics of BL and Learning Objectives.
- Teambuilding activities (remember the balancing acts and group waves) were fun and energizing while allowing us to gel as a team.
All of this is a far cry from the ‘teach by telling’ methods of old. Learning definitely is not about content delivery. Of course there is still a place for lecture style teaching, but it needs to be carefully examined and revised to include interactions. It is possible!
This workshop was about pushing our thinking outside of our comfort zone a bit, and moving away from traditional teaching approaches and making way for blended learning and cooperative learning approaches that will meet the needs of today’s learners. This isn’t an easy task. Hopefully this workshop will help you in this challenging journey.
Learning Outcomes of today’s workshop:
Teachers will be able to…
- Create highly engaging learning environments that enhance student achievement
- Recognize what makes blended learning effective, engaging, and free of classroom management issues
- Integrate learning BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER face-to-face activities
- Reflect on the notion that learning is NOT content delivery but is an active process
- Apply effective classroom management strategies
- Demonstrate the importance of establishing clear learning outcomes/objectives
On the same day that this training was to take place a seminar invitation from Faculty Focus on Blended Learning was circulated via their e newsletter. Great timing from my friends at Faculty Focus! This prompted me to change the learning outcomes slightly. I am looking forward to attending this seminar virtually: 10 Ways to Improve Blended Learning Course Design in 2014 at http://www.facultyfocus.com. By the way, I have been using Before, During, and After strategies with any video use in classrooms for a number of years. So nice to see that these strategies have been integrated into Blended Learning approaches–a sure way to add structure to Blended Learning!
I do hope we met those outcomes. We certainly had fun trying!
Those who wish a copy of the powerpoint used may contact me via this blog or at my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have included some photos from the workshop here. There are a few website resources we used in the workshop that I have included at the bottom of this post.
Thanks to Lucas Chan and Ms Yoong for their assistanace.
And thanks to my husband/photographer we have some great pictures that capture our time together.
Happy Blending everyone!
The trusted ‘Quiet’ signal at work:
Designing Learning Objectives/Outcomes for our own classrooms:
Thank you SMK Subang Jaya….we had such fun together!
Websites visited during the workshop: