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Is Blended Learning part of the answer?

There was an article in the recent addition of eSchool News about “blended learning” models being used across the country. While there is no official definition of blended learning, in general, it can be described as an instructional approach that combines both face-to-face and online instruction.

This blended learning approach appears to be gaining momentum. It leverages the advances in technology and provides students with flexibility, without giving up the the connectedness and accountability of the traditional classroom model.

In Saline, we developed and offered a blended option for our College Writing I course. It is called “College Writing with Service” and offers an opportunity for students to explore community service as part of their writing course. To accomplish this they are released from attending the class for portions of the trimester, however, they stay connected with the teacher through Moodle.

Next year we are looking to expand the blended learning options by adding a Senior Capstone Experience. Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) is a year-long interdisciplinary course. Two main components of the course are the college style lecture and recitation, and 60 required hours of community service. Students have choice in their area of study, but the focus is on educating world citizenship.

The course will be centered on one guiding question: What are a student’s home, local, state, national, and world responsibilities? The purpose of the course is for seniors to synthesize areas of future study in light of the local and global community.

The course culminates in a Senior Project, an individualized plan that students envision, enact, and reflect upon over the course of their senior year. In this course students will not be “in class” each day and will stay connected to the curriculum with mobile devices and Moodle.

I encourage parents with children that will be seniors in 2011-12 to consider this course.

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