Saturday, December 25, 2010

How To Blend

The success of a Blended Learning Environment depends on creating a balance that is best for the students and community the school is to serve. In recent months, I have been exposed to three blended schools, each with a completely different balance of face to face and distance education.

In Olds, Alberta, Canada, grade 10 through 12 students can apply to be a part of their Academic Team program. The students spend half of each day in the newly constructed Olds High School and the other half of the day working on projects, assignments and classwork where they see fit on the Olds Community College Campus, adjacent to the high school. What makes this high school even more special are the creative learning spaces designed within the school, including a commons area with pods of computers and a teleconferencing room as well as a science lab with a horseshoe design so all students have a front row.

The Odyssey Charter School, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A, offers a K through 12 blended experience. In this school where 85% of the student population is considered at-risk, students attend the physical structure 4 hours a week. At the elementary end of the building, teachers make weekly home visits to ensure curriculum is being covered. At the high school end, students interact online with their teachers and are required to attend the recovery room at school if they begin to get behind in their studies.

While visiting family just outside of Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., I came to learn that my young second cousins go to their school only two days a week. The rest of the week, required study is planned by the teacher and completed at home with their parents. Through this process, the students have parents active in their education, with the support of their teacher.

Each of these programs has high satisfaction and success rates. Now, we need to keep in mind that Blended Learning Environments need quality programs to be successful. When deciding on the right balance for a Blended Learning Environment, what factors do you think should be considered?

1 comment:

  1. thanks for these three examples of school from a different perspective. There have to be many different ways to do school. How do we ensure that we offer as many different options and types of schools to our kids?