How can blended learning be integrated in an elementary classroom and what are the benefits?
ISTE Standard 3 considers how students can “apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information” (ISTE Standard 3). One of our assigned readings this week discussed blended learning in an entire California school district (Wong, 2014). This led me to look for specific programs that can support blended learning, but allow for sufficient traditional learning experiences to occur. I don’t feel that technology should become a substitute for face-to-face interactions at school, but if used appropriately, blended learning environments can be a tremendous asset for teachers and students.
In my search for programs that support blended learning, I discovered DreamBox. According to their website, “DreamBox is PreK-8 math solution driven by a technology that’s as unique as the students and educators who need it, love it, and use it to go to the next level” (dreambox.com, 2015). DreamBox makes math fun by incorporating games, and then it provides the teacher with real time data for each student. Additionally, it is customizable so students in the same grade can be working on math at different levels. Blended learning allows teachers to provide more individualized instruction for each child, and thus better support. The article Making Blended Learning Work in Elementary Schools (Vander Ark, 2012) provides examples from four different educators about creating a blended learning environment in elementary schools. One teacher referenced in the article explains how DreamBox helped her students progress an entire grade level during one school year, despite larger class sizes and higher expectations of students. If implemented correctly and used in conjunction with traditional learning experiences, blended learning can provide many opportunities for student growth.
Vander Ark, T. (2012). Making Blended Learning Work in Elementary Schools. Retrieved from districtadministration.com/article/making-blended-learning-work-elementary-schools
Wong, W. (2014). How Technology Enables Blended Learning. Retrieved from edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2014/04/how-technology-enables-blended-learning
DreamBox Learning. (2015). DreamBox. Retrieved from dreambox.com