June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.317.1 - 12.317.10
Blended learning - enriching the class activity with technology
Blended learning presents new opportunities. Opportunities to enhance the conventional lecture experience and also stimulate the students outside the lecture theatre. This paper provides some drivers for learning and indicates some of the influences likely to impact on the development of a blended learning curriculum. To situate the work an example of blended learning from an Engineering Science module is presented. Here the use of an Electronic Voting System, animations, use of a tablet pc and active use of a Managed Learning Environment is presented.
Whilst traditional classroom-based activity present an opportunity to transmit information, a better view is one where the lecture is seen as a place for the lecturer to inspire, enthuse and participate in a so called learning conversation; a conversation that actively seeks out, and uses, the students’ own conceptions to re-align what is taught, what is asked and hence better develop what is understood. Such principles are captured in strategies including Laurillard’s Conversational Framework(1). For many teachers this idea requires a significant change in how they view their role in the classroom and their relationship with their students. In a dialogic model of teaching and learning the teachers too are learning, adapting and responding to the students and not simply being a knowledge provider. Problems often arise with the dialogic view of teaching in that growing class sizes and the available 'bandwidth' for the lecturer and student to communicate quickly becomes saturated. Saturation of the bandwidth often results in teachers adopting a more didactic and less engaged teaching practice which may reduce the support for the individual learner.
Fortunately, given that technology in the 21st century is ubiquitous, it is in our homes, our cars and our pockets it is no surprise that it is filtering into the everyday classroom too. Information and communication technologies (ICT) present an additional connectivity; a connectivity that widens the bandwidth and allows greater participation between teacher and learner and also learner to learner. Such technologies, however, need to have a purpose and they need to be ‘solving a problem’ not being used because they exist. Quite simply, technology needs to support sound pedagogic practice and not displace it.
This paper demonstrates how the active and innovative use of ICT can support and enrich the class activity and also meet many of the recognised principles of good practice in undergraduate education.
Some underpinning principles
If technologies are to be exploited for learning then their affordances need to align with what is required. Teaching teams (faculty) should not ask what technologies should they use but rather undertake a needs analysis that includes and asks
o What actually are our needs and why might we wish to do things differently? o What are we doing currently and what evidence do we have that it works and should be kept?
Russell, M. (2007, June), Blended Learning: Enriching The Class Activity With Technology Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2032
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