Is blended learning the new normal?

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Welcome to Moodlenews’s newest contributor, Megan Pope.

WIRIS

Pushing the role of technology in education seems to be a trend, and several schools in Michigan have been implementing Moodle as the LMS platform for a new blended learning model. According to a recent article by The Times Herald, Algonac Superintendent, Mike Sharrow, suggested “We’re transforming into a new world of education, and we need to be as efficient as possible.” In a world of budget cuts, school districts may view blended learning as the solution to a difficult problem: maintaining quality education while pinching pennies.

I can understand the appeal. Moodle allows for flexibility, as students could work from school or home. Sharrow suggested thought the switch to a 3 or 4 day school week could happen. Imagine your 5th grader going to classes Monday-Wednesday, and working from home the rest of the week. Using LMS platforms in blended learning experiences might revolutionize the American education system. It will definitely create a work-force of tech-savvy professionals. Michigan is not the only state to do this. Last fall, USC Hybrid High School opened their doors. This charter school uses blended learning, and is pushing the boundaries of traditional schools.

However, there has been concern over whether blended learning is a good idea. Last October, an article from the Huffington Post outlined several states which will not be doing a virtual ribbon cutting for any online schools.

Similar to the backlash against MOOCs in higher-ed, there are concerns about the feasibility (including cost and accreditation) or sustainability of blended learning in K-12 education.

The biggest question [I am sure] most educators, parents, and policy makers are asking themselves is “will this increase learning?” Only time and research will tell.

There is one thing I can firmly say though; I would not want to be truancy officer in 2030: how do you find a student who is missing from a virtual class?

Interested in learning more about the USC Hybrid High School, check out the video below [direct video link http://vimeo.com/59446095]:

Profiles of Next Generation Learning: USC Hybrid High from NextGenLC (NGLC) on Vimeo.