Sunday, July 7, 2013

Blended Learning to Promote Global Education

As society evolves and the availability of technology increases, people are required to be familiar with technology tools and are required to be able to use them for productive purposes  Technology provides great leisure activities such as social networking, reading news, playing games, or  creating and publishing your own "two-cents," through tools like Blogger, Google Sites, Google Docs, Issuu..etc. Technology also provides a world of information available if you look in the right places. Blended learning is an education term that simply tries to combine the best of two worlds, meaning that education meshes the traditional face-to-face interaction with the use of technology tools to enhance learning opportunities (Chistensen, 2013). This type of education has the potential to provide learning opportunities that extend beyond the boundaries of the school. 

Just like many things in education, blended learning can occur on a variety of levels. A typical classroom teacher could create a blended learning environment that is specific to that courses content and combine the face to face learning with technology tools in that contained classroom. If students were willing to experience a different type of learning environment, blended learning can occur on a global scale. For example, a small school, like the one where I teach can only offer so many curriculum choices to the students. If a student wanted to learn something that was not offered in the building they could easily enroll into some online learning formats. As my school has started to discover, many true online learning formats really require the student to be very well organized, and self-motivated to do well and keep current with the courses requirements  There are not typical daily check-ins and interactions that a student would be accustomed to in the traditional learning environment  The Online course may not provide that direct instruction and immediate feedback that can be delivered in the face to face setting. However, many online type of courses are adopting a blended format, where there is a combination of individual learning, along with virtual face-to-face interaction. (Gawron , 2011). The blended environment mixes the online format with a more personal interaction with the teacher and even the class members  Video conferencing tools, and chat tools provide the availability to interact with the teacher through real-time connections. To gain a good blended experience a class should have a mix of independent work, scheduled real-time collaboration meeting times, and the availability of unscheduled face to face meeting times. This type of setting provides a better education experience for the student, and provides more opportunity for the students to participate in courses not offered locally, and feel as though they have access to the teacher to ask questions and obtain feedback. 

Blended learning environments have the potential to provide students with opportunities to expand their learning horizons and be able to collaborate with students and teachers beyond their own school. Depending on the course they wish to enroll, students may be able to collaborate on a global scale. An individual may be able to take foreign language courses for a language that is not offered at the school. A student who wishes to learn to speak Chinese could enroll in a course that might be a blended class based in China. This would provide an amazing learning experience. The student would be able to access the content which they desire, and would be able to collaborate globally with peers. This collaboration would help the students learn how to be appropriate digital citizens and become aware of cultural differences and be able to interact regardless of location, race, gender, culture, and political attitudes. The blended learning environment inst' just an opportunity to take a different class, but has the potential to provide a worldly experience to the student, without leaving the comfort of the school, or their home. I am willing to bet that within the next 5 to 10 years, most school will have a blended learning environment option and some will start to make a blended global course a requirement for graduation. Learning how to interact with technology on a global sense is an increasingly important skill. As the world becomes more connected, barriers need to be brought down and collaboration needs to occur. There is a great potential for the wold to become a "smaller" place where people are willing to work together for the greater good of humanity. 

Cristensen, C.M., Horn, M.B., Staker, H. 2013.  Is K-12 Blended Learning Disruptive? An introduction of the theroy of hybrids. Retrrieved from

Gawron, H.W. 2011. Blended Learning: Combining Face-to-Face and Online Education, retrieved from

1 comment:

  1. Michael I think youre right about the amount of good that could be done as the world becomes a smaller place. Creating a generation of good global citizens could do a lot for many social movements for example the fight against racism.