Over 400 years ago, William Shakespeare created his 3 witch characters for Macbeth (see Act IV, Scene I). Their foray into creating a special potion in the caldron resonates with the past two days of learning and networking that I engaged in during the recent BlendED 2015 Symposium. Yes, it fits the spooky Halloween-ish theme during this time of year yet, most importantly, it speaks to the collegial, collaborative and innovative learning opportunities that teachers, administrators and facilitators are ‘stirring up’ for students.
This first ever blendED 2015 Symposium centered on practical and comprehensive ways to offer blended (face to face + online) and online learning for students. Attendees came from across Canada and the northern territories to share their experiences and dialogue with one another. The Symposium was organized around five themes: research, pedagogy, tools, course design, and diverse learning groups.
Session details and notes found at https://goo.gl/QgcRix.
What I really want to emphasize from my experiences during this event is that “blended learning” is not just for Outreach, home-schooling and virtual schooling (distance learning venues). This type of approach can effectively be used within a typical classroom in a typical school setting. Due to more access to current and/or emerging technologies, teachers and students ARE creating these blendED learning opportunities.
For instance, a blendED potion could contain:
- GAFE account, Teacher YouTube Channel with specific playlists, Website for link
- Moodle account, Teacher and student resources
- Twitter professional or class account, modeling and sharing on twitter stream
- Smartphone, access to specific apps, websites, email
- Gamifying units of instruction, students different formats to demo
- GAFE/Online account, webcam, microphone to GHangout/Skype/VC/Blackboard with experts/other sites
- Use simulators/interactives, apps (MinecraftEDU, Service Rig Sim, Welding Sim, Forestry Sim, LearnAlberta Gizmos), students apply to project/learning
- Connecting with others through special events such as Discovery Ed virtual field trips, Global Read Aloud.
- Blog account (Blogger, KidBlog, edublogs) to showcase learning, get and receive comments via classmates and/or globally, use Twitter #comments4kids to have other people comment outside of the classroom.
- Access, create and share Open Education Resources
- Host Makerspaces events – space, time, different materials (sew, robots, computers, coding, build), etc. Can be offered at lunch, afterschool, during instructional time.
- And much more!
As you have read, there isn’t just one caldron with one set of experts and potions. There are many opportunities to share, collaborate and move forward IF one is willing to share, take a risk and ask for support……really it’s no trouble!