Blended Learning landed at Rossland Secondary School in September and as with any new innovation, there have been some questions and challenges as everyone figured out where they had to be, and what they needed to be doing. As week three draws to a close, students are settling down for some focused project-based learning and getting excited about the possibilities of this new approach to education.
Blended learning puts more onus on the student to set their own short and long term goals and direct their own learning according to their passions, interests, learning style and abilities. It recasts the teacher from the sage on the stage to the guide by the side. It focuses on more applied, inquiry-based, deep learning rather than rote memorization. Blended learning is not online learning.
It is the convergence of online and face-to-face learning that takes the best elements of both. It will, in many ways, revolutionize our education system. For some great articles on blended learning, check out the RSS Blended Learning website: http://rssblendedlearning.wordpress.com/
Blended learning is not unique to RSS. It is being implemented in schools across the province, and across the world. It is the direction that the Ministry of Education plans to take all schools in the province. One only has to go as far as B.C.’s New Education Plan focusing on personalized learning and a provincial government Discussion Paper on transforming the education curriculum to concentrate on concepts rather than facts to understand that these changes are going to be dramatic and far reaching in all schools in the province.
RSS is an early adopter of changes such as blended learning, because the RSS staff is convinced by the research and evidence that it is the best way for students to learn and prepare for life outside of high school. The RSS staff is committed to bringing the best models of education to their students now, even if it does get messy at times.
By the time innovations such as blended learning, flipped classrooms, personalized learning and “big ideas” become mainstream, RSS will already have the kinks worked out and will have years of experience in helping students discover their passions, take charge of their own education and achieve their learning goals.
The students are getting with the program and are excited about the changes. They are finding ways to collaborate with each other on their work, they are teaching teachers how to do things with technology, and they are learning how to own their education. It will be exciting to see our students excel in university and the working world with these advanced skills.
RSS is having a parent meeting on blended learning tonight (Tuesday Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.) to answer questions and help parents understand how they can assist their children, check their child’s progress and be part of their child’s learning journey.
The RSS staff is excited about blended learning and the opportunities it provides and their excitement is contagious. It’s time for all of us to get excited about learning.
There are a multitude of resources on blended learning and why it works. Many can be found on the RSS Blended Learning website and links are posted frequently on the Neighbourhood of Learning Facebook page. “Like” the page to get updates.
-Neighbourhood of Learning Committee