What is the number one thing you feel is either most surprising or most important from going over these basic elements on online/the blended component of blended teaching and learning? Please explain your answer and connect your thoughts to either the Affective, Behavioral, or Cognitive experience/growth of your learners.
Online and blended learning open up a lot of possibilities but also a lot of unknowns for educators. One of the biggest struggles that we keep running into is how we bridge synchronous lessons and asynchronous activities. This dives deeper into understanding how both synchronous lessons and asynchronous activities engage the students and allow for student ownership and growth. Currently, many whole group and small group lessons are being taught on island. In other words, teachers are teaching a standard/concept during small group and only coming back to that concept or skill during small group, synchronous learning. The small group lesson does not tie into the asynchronous activities that have been assigned for the day and vice versa. How do we shift this practice?
In the face-to-face classroom our small group lessons tie into our whole group lessons which tie into our independent work and often we interweave cross-curricular content into each of these activities. It happens almost organically because of the behind the scenes effort that goes into lesson planning for the day. We need to find ways to “build the bridge” to connect small group, whole group, and asynchronous activities in online and hybrid teaching and learning. When these connections are not clear for the student, then we will see students struggle and lose engagement. Dr. K also shares that when students are struggling in an online environment it is possibly because they need more synchronous time. This makes perfect sense. If students are needing more synchronous time, then we as educators, need to step back and ask ourselves if there are streamline between our asynchronous activities and our synchronous lessons. If the connections are not there, then we need to restructure our lesson planning.
When students get to engage in content rich, relevant, and clearly connected instruction, teachers will see a higher cognitive growth. When the connections are clear students will spend less time asking “why is this important” and more time on building their capacity around the content. As 21st century learners, students have the resources available to take their learning to the next level, but we, as educators, need to open the door help and connect the bridge for them.