Trying to Define Blended Education

I attended the BlendEd symposium on Oct. 25&26, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta. It was great to see people from all across the country meeting to talk about what Blended Education means and what it looks like in our schools. The term gets used a lot with distance education and with High School Redesign, and although the term has been around as long time, there is no definitive definition that everyone can agree on.

Here is my attempt at defining Blended Education. This is just my first thoughts on the matter, however. I look forward to thoughts and opinions that challenge my assumptions and I hold the right to change my position as I learn more about it.

Blended Education occurs when a professional educators use technology to reduce the barriers created by time and space in order to apply effective pedagogical practices that meet the needs of a wide range of learners.

We know that the Carnegie Unit does not ensure learning. We know that students do not need to be in a classroom to learn, and that learning doesn’t only occur between 8:30am and 3pm. We know that just because a teacher has said it, the students are not necessarily going to understand it and remember it. We also know that the digital world can produce all kinds of Analytics and metrics that teachers (not algorithms) can use to make teaching and learning more efficient. We have discovered how to use game theory, inquiry, experience and authenticity to improve learning. BUT, our current paradigm of education prevents us from applying what we know. Our education system is locked in an 8.5″ x 11″/.pdf world, unable capitalizing on our knowledge of teaching and learning.

Blended Education is an attempt to change that. It is using new technologies in ways that transform teaching. Most importantly, it utilizes the social components of new media to foster the relationships between students and teachers. Blended Education is not computers and Apps teaching students. Rather, it is teachers using technology to build relationships, discover their students’ learning needs, and then breaking down the constraints of a thirty-seven minute, four-walls-and-a-door, 9:48am class to meet those needs.
I would love to hear your thoughts…