Five questions European teachers are asking about blended learning
How will countries across Europe continue to make best use of blended learning in their classrooms?
That’s the question addressed by Co-Learn, our latest Erasmus+ project looking at blended learning delivery and pedagogy across Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the UK and the Netherlands. CLC’s Caitlin McMillan considers what that question involves.
Last week saw us get together (fittingly, in a blended fashion) for our first project meeting.
We were hoping to make it to Delft, but Covid-19 had other ideas, so the Dutch and Danish delegations got together in Delft and the rest of us joined in remotely.
1. How can children have ownership of their learning?
In some ways, children have had more ownership over their learning than ever before during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Teachers observed that quieter children were sometimes more participatory and interactive during remote sessions, and that children had more opportunity to follow their interests and passions. This question proposes investigating what ‘ownership’ means in a learning context, and how technology can help everyone to be heard.
2. How can teachers use blended learning to create differentiated learning in the classroom?
Teachers have learned a huge amount about technology-enhanced learning in the past year. This question focuses on what support teachers might need in order to be able to use technology effectively for differentiated learning both at home and in school.
3. Can maintaining the dialogue developed between teacher and pupil during the lockdown continue to benefit learning outcomes?
For pupils, as for us all, the social environment changed enormously during school closures. The digital space offered a forum for pupils to engage with one another and with their teachers, allowing for more personalised dialogue and the expansion of classroom relationships. For some pupils, an online chat function proved a safer space to interact and ask questions than putting a hand up in class. This question suggests exploring the ways in which these relationships have developed, and looking at how technology can help us to maintain the positive elements built during lockdowns.
4. Can a virtual teaching presence be effective even in a physical school environment?
All participating schools agreed that teacher presence was a core component of making remote learning effective, but could a virtual presence also be effective in the classroom? This proposal entailed teachers running individual lessons over video conferencing while a TA was in the classroom with the children. Would it work better for some subjects than others? What kit would pupils need in order to engage effectively? This question hopes to identify opportunities and obstacles in the remote learning environment.
5. How can a blended approach to feedback help both pupils and teachers?
As a group, we settled on this investigation for our first piece of action research.
Alongside our partner schools, we will explore how student-teacher feedback and dialogue can be supported by technology, how technology can enhance peer-to-peer feedback and whether digital communities of practice can enhance student learning.
Watch this space for more information about how we and the other Co-Learn countries investigate feedback in school. We’ll be working on it ahead of (hopefully!) a trip to Denmark in February where we can share findings.
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