It’s not about the tech, but how you use it: a mindset for blended learning

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In my district, we continue to work on preparing our students for a changing world. Maintaining positive relationships is always important, but we need to get our students to “learn how to learn.” While the situation may change, that value will always be constant. I discuss with my students that change is continuous. The other constant, though, is being able to solve a problem. If a student “learns how to learn,” they can work through changing variables.

As a teacher, I emphasize real-world applications and “learning how to learn” in all of my classrooms. Preparing students for the real world outside of our classrooms/schools is a significant goal of education. I use a variety of research-based tools in my classroom, including technology, primary and secondary resources, small and large cooperative group work, and relevant/rigorous content.

Technology, along with the incorporation of blended learning, has helped our staff meet the needs of our students in an effective way. We have also been more intentional about the use of our technology and the incorporation of another tool in our toolbox. Tools are great, but asking ourselves why we should implement tools and how it impacts student learning should be considered. Using technology just to say, “we are using technology,” shouldn’t be the goal.

Our students have always craved relevant, real-world applications. High expectations, along with the support that is necessary for students to achieve them, has always been important. This has not changed. I feel that the most significant change has been that students have been put in more situations where they can influence their learning. They are more responsible for creating and using learning tools, which has been aided by the incorporation of blended learning.

Blended learning and the effective incorporation of technology into the classroom has helped students “learn how to learn.” The engagement has increased. Relevancy has increased. Rigor, when done appropriately, has also increased. Learning has been impacted in a positive way.

Education is a career that I am passionate about. I enjoy the big picture of education and look forward to continuing to serve students, their families, and the greater community. The field of education is a noble yet difficult career. Doing our best and inspiring others to do the same is imperative. We owe it to ourselves, the district, the community, and most importantly, we owe it to the students.

Erich Ziegler

Erich Ziegler

Erich Ziegler is a Science and Technology Teacher at Forest Park Schools in Crystal Falls, MI. He is passionate about the big picture of education and looks forward to continuing to serve students, their families, and the greater community. He uses a variety of research-based tools in his classroom, including technology, primary and secondary resources, small and large cooperative group work, and relevant/rigorous content.

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