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18 March 2020 15:24 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

As an education professional in an international school in Africa, you have for some time likely been adopting a Blended Learning approach that facilitates individualised learning.  As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to spread around the world, there is increasing anxiety and even misinformation. However, in our schools there is also an opportunity to explore the possibilities online learning provides; including as a support to our school communities in these challenging circumstances.

Child protection and well-being is a top priority. Blended Learning - essentially a blend of instructional face-to-face classroom learning, digital or online learning and structured independent study - enables students to continue working online from home. In real time, they can engage with their teachers and their peers, ask questions, make suggestions, raise issues, challenge opinions, offer insights.

“Blended Learning is exciting and unpredictable in that it transforms the ‘passive’ teacher-centred classroom into an ‘active’ student-centred classroom,” says Catlin Tucker, internationally-renowned Blended Learning expert.

“More often than not, lessons start at school, are then taken online at home and woven back into the classroom the following day. They’re therefore not limited to physical space or time. Students, often extremely shy in front of their peers, begin to articulate what they shared the night before. They get validation from others and their confidence grows. That’s wonderful to see.”

This approach dovetails with the ‘flipped classroom’ strategy whereby teaching and homework is switched. Students watch lectures or access instructional content digitally and then do homework in the classroom with access to the teacher and peers for assistance and discussion.

However, there are many Blended Learning models and methodologies. Establishing which one or which combination works best depends on the unique realities of the school. What is the school’s budget? What are the technological capabilities? Does it have the necessary facilities?

AISA firmly believes that Blended Learning transforms student learning through personalisation and increased autonomy, which allows students more agency over their educational experience. This approach plus the use of technology in general offers exciting opportunities for educators across Africa. As an AISA member, you and your school have access to a network of professionals with vast experience and expertise to share.

Gone is the need for textbooks that need to be replaced each year. No longer must the teacher be standing in the same classroom as the students. By engaging on our website, forums and social media, we can connect and support each other on important topics, including Blended Learning. To find out more, click here

AISA schools have a transient population of students and teachers with a vast array of experiences and educational needs. Blended Learning helps to address these needs. It opens up access to collaboration across diverse schools and nations to share teachers' expertise and students' passions.

In the words of the famous anthropologist, Margaret Mead, ‘If children do not learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn.’

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