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Kim Aling

MOOC: Blended Learning Essentials - Why we use blended learning

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The Features of digital resources include.

  • Storage
  • Access 
  • Multimedia 
  • Personalisation 

These features lead to different ways on which teaching and learning can be enhanced.

These four properties and the ways in which they can add value to learning certainly align with my views on the benefits of blended learning.  Digital technologies also foster greater collaboration by providing more opportunities to co-create.  This develops students' wider skills in collaborative working.  

Another feature of digital technology is that it can open the door to greater personalisation through learning analytics.  Learning analytics is an exciting new area, providing ways to analyse what a student does and feed them new work tailored to their needs.  The OU have several projects trialling this.  See  http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/mar/26/learning-analytics-student-progress. 

The ability to create quizzes that provide instructive feedback, but are machine marked helps students in terms of immediate feedback, particularly for formative assessment.  They also help teachers by freeing up the time otherwise spent marking that can now be utilised for those topics that require more face-to-face teaching time.  

Other ways in which digital technologies change teaching and learning are greater sustainability, with less need for paper. Our recent projects at New College include the roll out of Office 365 to all students and staff.  Teachers are now sharing documents with their class, reducing paper and photocopying usage.  

We have helped teachers set up Class OneNotes as a form of ePortfolio.  For example in Photography we have helped them set up a class OneNote for students to collect resources for their projects.  The teacher can review and comment on the collections.  We are exploring Yammer as an alternative to Facebook. 

We are now using the Video app in 365 to store videos that students can search and view, eg for GCSE Maths.   

Some subject areas, particularly Design and Technology and Fashion are using Pinterest so that students can share their research. 

We also have three pilot schemes using Surface tablets.  Three classes selected from different subject areas have been gifted tablets and the eLearning team are working with teachers to integrate their use onto the scheme of work.


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