Thanks Covid, Now I Have A Blended Classroom
Online and blended learning is something that has really become a part of my classroom since Covid. Before Covid, other than assigning the odd game or activity online, I really did not incorporate much technology in the classroom. I was more so trying to balance my first few years of teaching and figuring out what worked and what did not work for me and my students. Then the dreaded, and I mean dreaded Covid hit. Covid then flew in and interrupted that process and made online learning the only way.
During this time with online learning, I enjoyed it in the fact that I knew it was the only way to reach my students and still be able to connect with them. However, it was very inconsistent in their attendance, and their ability to access the content due to challenges like family income and location and what content was completed. Due to the “optional” piece to join, it felt impossible to explicitly teach and provide valuable content.
However, for students who were able to consistently join, I was able to provide lessons through Google Classroom, share PowerPoints, model lessons on a whiteboard through my computer, and provide learning activities online that the students could complete at their pace. Online learning provided me with different ways to modify and adapt my lessons that were suitable to my learners.
Now in my classroom today, with my ten students, I have created a blended classroom. Each day during literacy and numeracy, students have rotations where they have opportunities to work one-on-one with the teacher, work within small groups with other classmates, do activities online, and have opportunities for independent work. Through all of this, I see I have created a classroom that incorporates face-to-face learning and online learning. I have been doing this for the past two years (my role within teaching changed to a smaller group of students with diverse needs), where I have had great success. Students have enjoyed the opportunity to move around in the classroom and converse with different classmates to learn and gather information with them.
I hope to continue gathering information and knowledge to continue to adapt a blended classroom with more access to valuable resources and content that I can provide to my students. Further, I would love to learn more about online learning, for my students who are away often, to give them more of an opportunity to access learning even when they cannot make it to school. I think online and blended learning has opened the doors to endless possibilities with our students and has given them access to more knowledge and information than a piece of paper in the past has. I am excited to embark on this learning journey and see what I can unfold in my future classrooms!