The factory-based model referred to by Clayton Christensen in the forward of Blended may have been the product of industrialization but it worked well for me. The teacher directed, structured, predictable nature offered me clarity and comfort . I liked the orderly arrangement of desks that identified the classroom as a place of learning with a clear purpose. I absorbed the information given to me and successfully demonstrated the retention of that knowledge to my teachers through tests and assignments. I graduated with high marks and some awards to my name.
The question remains, how would I have fared in a school with a more project-based approach or one that was student-centered approach that included blended learning? And did other students fare as well as I did?
Reflecting on my ideal learning experience I would likely include blended learning. I am self-motivated and enjoy working independently and would have appreciated the ability to move at my own pace and do some of my learning outside of the classroom setting. In Math, a subject with which I had particular difficulties, the opportunity to watch instructional videos and review them over again with an opportunity to apply those skills in class under the guidance of a teacher, as modeled in the flipped classroom, may have resulted in higher achievement for me. Opportunities and access to different tools to demonstrate my understanding, rather than exams and conventional essays, may have increased motivation and resulted in deeper understanding of content.
Like many others I learn best by doing. To maximize my achievement my model would include opportunities to apply my knowledge in practical situations as encouraged by the tell, show, do, apply model. For this reason group work would be minimal as delegating part of the work to another individual would deprive me of an opportunity to learn that particular skill or knowledge for myself.
I recognize that my tendency to work independently is not always healthy. Education requires a social element. A face-to-face element must be included. Whereas I am not an advocate of group work, we can become inspired or enlightened by the work of others and there is truth to the adage that we are smarter together. Alternating between sharing sessions where students showcase their learning and “think tanks” where students and teachers collaborate to conquer challenges that arise would would satisfy the need fort he face-to-face element incorporated into the blended model. The site for my face-to-face component of my education would include structured, traditional classrooms with Smart boards, and wi-fi for instruction with other areas designed for collaboration (break out rooms) with tables, quiet independent work or reflection with wireless connections for personal devices and comfortable seating and appealling decor, a well-stocked library, a makerspace area for creation and discovery to incorporate inquiry based learning, a welcoming outdoor space or indoor arboretum to create a connection to the environment, and auditorium for assemblies and guest speakers, and a gym to take body breaks
The day would be scheduled with certain blocks designated for lessons, and others set aside for independent study. Supervising teachers would be involved in creating daily to-do lists (or more realistically weekly) and monitoring student progress.
The final touch would be an affectionate therapy dog or irresistibly adorable class pet added to the mix to relieve anxiety when feeling overwhelmed, because fur is the fix.
Horn, Michael B and H. Staker (2015) Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools. Jossey-Bass. Danvers, MA.
Tell, Show, Do, Apply: The Anatomy of Good Instruction - eLearning Industry. (2013). eLearning Industry. Retrieved 8 November 2016, from https://elearningindustry.com/tell-