For today’s blog, I decided to take a contrarian point of view. With good reason, the majority of instruction has focused on the positive aspects of blended learning. Therefore, I decided to research some articles that focused on the negative aspects and drawbacks of a blended classroom. However, being that I am an eternal optimist, I will attempt to offer a solution for each negative aspect. Let’s begin.
My inspiration for this blog format came from one of my favourite childhood cartoons Anamaniacs. Let’s take a break and remember, Good Idea Bad Idea.
The first article I read opened with the most obvious concern, that being the financial cost of establishing an infrastructure necessary for a blended classroom. Factors such as school location (urban/rural), economic status, and internet connectivity, are all capable of derailing a blended classroom. In the same way you need water to fish, you also need infrastructure to create a blended classroom. If the schools cannot afford to create this structure, then the idea of a blended classroom is over before it can begin.
While there is no perfect solution to solving this problem, there are some potential workarounds. The most obvious solution is BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology). A vast majority of students now own their own tablets, phones, or devices. If we are capable of creating a blended classroom that is accessible
Jennifer Hofmann discusses a number of different challenges and their solutions. One of the issues she discusses is “resisting the urge to use technology simply because it is available”. Teachers who are not as well-versed in technology, may simply push technology on their students without a full understanding of how to do it effectively.
The easiest solution to this problem will come with time. As more teachers become comfortable with technology and how to effectively integrate in the classroom, they will be able to pass this knowledge on to their colleagues.
Now of course, there will always be pushback and trepidation from teachers. The best bet is to bring those teachers along slowly, allowing them to see the benefits themselves, rather than simply piling it all on their plate at once.
The final issue we will discuss is brought forward by Arumina Majumdar, who states that “trying to keep track of learners’ progress can be the most difficult challenge to address”. Arumina discusses how students may complete an online course, but if they have not developed a deep understanding, then the learning impact is wasted.
The answer to our third and final problem can be found in the type of assessments we provide for our students. The students must be given both summative and formative assessments, to ensure that their learning has reached the appropriate level. Furthermore, because we are discussing a blended class, and not just an online course, teachers must utilize the in-class time to evaluate and discuss the learning objectives with their students. For me personally, I can examine the assignments a student hands in, but my best method for determining their level of understanding is from reading their faces after the explanation of a question.
Despite all the technology at our disposal, we must integrate it with traditional teaching elements in order to ensure the understanding and knowledge of our students.
In the comments, I would love to hear about other issues you could see arising from blended learning, and how best we could defeat these challenges.