While I was using some technology last year, I’d say this is my first official year trying out blended learning. Here are some of the problems and solutions that I will share if you’re thinking of trying blended learning too:
- Consistency is key: It took about 2 weeks to get the secondary 5 class into a groove, but now, the strongest students are doing extremely well. I have a lot more engaged learners, and a couple who are even watching the lessons at home before I teach it! However, Edmodo for the younger students hasn’t work out as well. Without consistency or strict follow-up, I don’t often get all the students completing all the assignments, but regular access to the computer lab would probably help.
- Phone apps: Websites like Facile Learning has had less success simply for the fact that there are no mobile apps. Programs like Math-Help-Services.com, Edmodo.com and ThreeRing.com are a bigger hit because students can get to them easily and efficiently on their cellphones.
- Password list: My students can’t seem to remember their passwords or user IDs. This is a problem with our current generation and it’s not going to go away. Everything they have is automatically stored on their phones, so they often have to type in passwords. I’ve been asked to reset passwords a lot, which eats into precious class time. Now, I get them to write their codes down on a piece of paper (since kids don’t bother hacking into each other’s accounts at school, it’s not a big deal to actually write it down). “Down south”, I would have to think of another system.
- Announcements: Edmodo, as a Learning Management System (LMS) has been fantastic for announcements. I use it to write a list of students with missing assignments so that it makes it easier for everyone to keep track of. I also announce when tutoring is being offered after school.
- Using push notifications: Remind.com is pretty awesome. On the website, it advertises that 1 in 5 American teachers are on it. It works as a push notification, so students have no choice but to be notified. I send out reminders about the detention policy (3 lates or skips is one detention), as well as a heads-up for upcoming quizzes or tests. In fact, you can even schedule your notices in advance so that students don’t get messages during class time. Don’t have a cellphone? No problem, you can handle everything from an app on your tablet or just through the main website.