Yesterday, while chatting with Derek Wenmoth, something he said resonated with me. While this isn’t unusual, I like the way he put this particular issue. In reference to schools’ adoption of blended learning and online programmes of learning (currently the video conference courses) he mentioned that they should not be treated as separate components. That it should be a case of, “this is just how we do things”. For most of our schools the online programme is an additional opportunity for learners, but it tends to sit ‘out there’ somewhere, and is seen as separate to ‘normal’ day to day learning. The ideal is that it is merely an extension of what normally goes on in a school – namely that learning is structured around the learner in a way that is flexible and gives them some autonomy. And that learning is ubiquitous and easily accessible from anywhere and at any time.
For me this ties in so closely to what we have been trying to achieve in the blended learning project – namely taking the best bits of online teaching and learning and ‘blending’ them with normal face to face practice. By doing this we start challenging how we ‘deliver’ education and the systems and structures of our schools.
My challenge to our schools (and any other for that matter) leading into the future is to make “how you do things” reflect this sort of approach. I absolutely understand that most staff are a long way from this, but isn’t it a goal worth striving for? And if this is the case, wouldn’t it be much better for all our learners (whether student or teacher) if we did it together, rather than alone?