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Posts Tagged ‘smoothie

If you asked teachers and instructional designers to define blended learning, I wager most would say that it is the mixing or combination of face-to-face teaching and online learning.

There is more to blending than that — it is also about seamlessly reconstituting different content, pedagogies, strategies, technologies, and more.

The mixing should be so thorough that it might not be possible to label any particular observed process, e.g., was this coaching or content delivery, was that cooperative work or idea generation, was the content about english and mathematics?

I prefer to think of such seamless teaching and learning as a smoothie. All the ingredients are so blended that it is hard to tell what each was by looking through the glass.

All that said, a 99-part milk and 1-part banana smoothie still looks like a lot like milk. So it is possible to create a lot of noise, go through motions, and still end up with something that is technically blended but is actually relatively unchanged.

So when this CNA article reported how our Ministry of Education (MOE) will look into blending classroom practices with online learning, I gave pause.

I had questions that I wish the article answered. For example, our Minister for Education was quoted:

“Moving forward, there is a big review happening in MOE to see how we can better plan to blend the two. Not too far into the future, I think we want to do this quite soon, (we want to) blend the two so that we can harness the best of both worlds in a modern education system,” the minister said.

That is a worthy cause. But it is also a reminder that it is also possible to blend the worst of the two, e.g., isolation and being lectured to.

So what exactly counts as the “best of both worlds” and why are they considered the best?

I am not doubting that smoothie-based learning is healthy because I prescribe that every time I facilitate learning. But what is “best” often depends on context.

My second set of questions arose when I read this:

Because schools entered full home-based learning “at such a short notice”, there are still “many areas for improvement”, Mr Ong added.

So what are pitfalls MOE thinks it should avoid? What mistakes did schools make and learn from?

This might arguably be the more important of the two sets of questions I have. Since it is difficult to be sure what is best, why not focus on what has been tried but proven to be tired? Why make the same mistakes again?

For the sake of our teachers and students, I would like to see smoothie type learning that not the blending of the worst ingredients of schooling or the equivalent of 1:99 banana smoothie.


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