Leadership magazine March/April 2017 V46 No. 4 - Page 28

Recognizing and understanding effective blended learning in secondary classrooms

Today ’ s students need more than sitting in desks taking notes while the teacher lectures in front of the class .
28 Leadership
Given that technology pervades our lives , school leaders have a great responsibility to educate students who capably access technology , thus preparing them for a prosperous and unlimited future . Moreover , because the use of instructional technology in today ’ s schools can influence future career opportunities , technology use is a matter of social justice .
Blended learning is defined as an educational program in which a student learns , at least in part , through online teaching with some element of student control over time , path , and / or pace , with a portion or all of their instruction delivered in a brick-andmortar school ( Christensen , Horn & Staker , 2013 ). It offers exciting possibilities to engage high school students in new instructional environments mirroring career and work environments of the future .
The following strategies and experiences from the technology infusion in higher education provide insight for the successful use of blended learning in K-12 secondary classrooms and connote what school leaders should observe as they seek effective technology use for student learning .
Learner interaction
A key factor for successful online learning is learner interaction . What makes blended learning particularly effective is its ability to create a community of inquiry , encouraging open dialogue and critical debate , negotiation , and agreement ( Garrison & Kanuka , 2004 ), and often giving voice to students who may be reticent to offer their thoughts in a face-to-face environment . Drawing students into that learner interaction requires familiarity and understanding of the individual learner . In other words , it ’ s no surprise that getting to know students and their learning needs fosters learner interaction in an online learning environment . Traditional methods of learning about students can be enhanced as instructors become more facile with technology ; analysis of Facebook accounts , Twitter , and other
By Bobbie Plough