The following is an excerpt from our new white paper Eight Steps to Successfully Implement Blended Learning in Your Classroom. Download it today!
Do you ever find yourself leaving school at the end of the day thinking you could have taught your lesson just a little bit better? It is very natural as a teacher to take stock of your day and think about adjustments you can make for tomorrow. What if you could use tools like games to make a large scale change to your classroom that would lead to much higher levels of engagement and achievement? You can, and blended learning is the 21st century key to this kind of change.
You might be wondering how can you transform your classroom with a blended learning model? After all, the possibilities with tech based learning — middle school science games (hint, hint) — can be truly infinite given the right strategies.
Time to Rearrange the Desks
Whether you have a cart of iPads or a room full of ChromeBooks, integrating technology into your classroom is a great way to engage students in learning. One facet — the classroom setup — is often overlooked. It might seem that just putting technology on the desk in place of a textbook will improve a student’s experience and engagement, but research has found otherwise.
Says Ramona Persaud, Edutopia contributor, “From the front door and school grounds to the classroom, the aesthetics of learning spaces impact brain function and influence how students feel when they’re in school—as well as how they feel about their school.”
You likely understand Persaud’s point intuitively. Students perform better when they feel comfortable, safe, and feel as though they belong. You might even have anecdotal evidence demonstrating the impact of something as simple as a desk arrangement.
If classroom setup is instrumental in determining the success of your blended learning model, try something a little out of the box next year. Get a bunch of chairs and a couch and have your students use them during blended learning time. No room in the budget for furniture? No problem! Let students sit on the floor. Students simply do not have to be sitting at a desk in order to be engaged in learning.
Seven Ways to Set Up Your Class For Success
Check out this great list of recommendations from Blended Learning Universe on how to arrange your classroom for Blended Learning.
- Station Rotation-moves students from station to station on a fixed schedule, with at least one (if not all) of the stations featuring digital learning activities such as games, puzzles, or videos. The rotation can free up teaching time, allowing you to work one-on-one with students needing extra attention.
- Lab Rotation-looks similar to Station Rotation except that students go to a dedicated computer lab rather than an in-classroom station. Many teachers enjoy the flexibility of using an outside lab in terms of both scheduling and classroom layouts.
- Individual Rotation- provides students with personalized schedules and assignments. The students may or may not visit every work station in a single day, instead focusing their attention on completing assigned activities.
- Flipped Classroom- changes the classroom dynamic. Students learn at home via a digital curriculum and online lectures. They then complete teacher-guided projects and other activities in the classroom.
- Flex- gives the most control to students. It allows them to move through classroom curriculum and activities — both digital and traditional — on a fluid schedule. Teachers, in turn, offer support and instruction as needed. This model tends to use online learning to a greater degree than the previous four.
- A La Carte-allows schools to offer electives they can’t provide due to a lack of on-site resources. The model often supplements high school classes.
- Enriched Virtual- requires students to learn at home via online instructional materials and meet with a teacher face-to-face two to three times a week. This model tends to be less common than the other six.
No matter which approach you choose, remember that bringing blended learning into the classroom is a chance to approach student learning in a new way. Do something new this year with your class and get excited for a transformational 2017-2018 school year!!!