Blended (subtitled Using Disruptive Innovation To Improve Schools) entered my world when a representative from Edmentum recommended to my staff that we read it before going one-to-one.
It’s important I provide some background before reviewing this book. My workplace, where I teach English, is rolling out a new initiative this August in which every single student will be given a laptop to use both at school and at home. I’ve been teaching since the year 2000, and I’ve been teaching predominately using traditional textbook methods and using mostly whole group instruction. One-to-one is an incredibly exciting adventure, and I’m very glad to finally reflect the society in which we live, but I’d be lying if I pretended to have any idea where to start with a classroom fully utilizing laptops.
That’s where Blended has been so incredibly helpful. This book takes a big picture approach to how to utilize blended learning not only in the classroom, but as a school, as a district, even as a culture. It offers several different models of technology in the school, and it explains which model is probably best suited to your current situation. It goes into great detail as to why blended learning is vital to the student, and it especially stressed the importance of most student populations having face-to-face time with teachers. Any teacher fearful of technology replacing them will feel greatly heartened after reading Blended. It truly values the importance of professional educators working with children and young adults.
I also appreciated that it explained basic terminology, offered some useful websites to help you get started, and provided several anecdotes in each chapter offering real-world examples to illustrate points being made.
This book proved extremely effective at helping me wrap my head around one-to-one, it taught me several different methods I could employ in my own classroom, and it encouraged a positive attitude about technology in the classroom which will help contribute to a productive culture in my workplace. Best of all? It straight out tells you that it will not be an easy process and it will take time to find a comfortable method specific to your school and population, but it also explains how to go into blended learning purposefully and strategically.
Though it gets slightly repetitive near the end, I urge you to read this book if you have any questions about one-to-one or blended learning. Personally, I would consider Blended required reading for any teacher about to embark upon technology in the classroom.