October 22 #CdnELTchat (Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning)

Image source: #CdnELTchat

by Jennifer Chow

On October 22, enthusiastic #CdnELTchat participants talked about “Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning”. We were excited to have Rob McBride (@LearnIT2Teach) of New Language Solutions join us as our guest moderator for this chat. Rob is one of the project managers for the EduLINC coursewareand LearnIT2Teach/Avenue.ca. Thank-you to all those who added their thoughts before, during and after the chat. 

It was a fast-paced chat with many conversation threads. Here are some of the key ideas that came out of the chat:

  • The definition of blended learning is flexible and may describe classes with face-to-face instruction combined with online teaching and learning activities, but could also include exclusively online teaching and learning environments with synchronous and asynchronous activities.
  • Blended learning may include “flex-time” models, where students can choose to attend in person or via remote conference services.
  • Blended learning is always changing, and instructors have to keep adapting and refreshing modes and methods.
  • Blended learning helps students build or develop multimodal literacy skills, digital literacy skills, learner autonomy, self-reflection, and online social engagement with other learners. 
  • Some of the challenges of blended learning include time management, lack of tools and resources, tech difficulties, equity in access, and isolation.
  • Some of the blended learning tips that were shared include engaging in better practices via a Community of Practice, consulting learners through classroom discussions and surveys, using interactive screencasts, creating a digital orientation, creating and sharing a style guide to support a program, developing “Transitions” classes to get students ready for blended learning and engaging in course design evaluation.

All the resources that were shared can be found here: Resources for Blended Learning. Please feel free to add resources to this live document. 

You can find the tweets by searching Twitter for our hashtag, #CdnELTchat, but we’ve also collected the tweets from both the live and the follow-up asynchronous chat using Wakelet: #CdnELTchat Summary on Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning

These are the questions we used in the chat: 

Q1: What is blended learning? Is there a single accepted definition? 

Q2: What are the benefits and challenges of blended learning? What are the unanticipated challenges – what do most instructors fail to plan for? 

Q3: What do teachers and students need to know before trying blended learning? 

Q4: What are some better practices for blended learning? How do we identify these? And how can teachers work together to support each other and share ideas and best practices?

Q5: What questions should we ask ourselves to evaluate the design of our blended learning courses? Are there any tools we can use to do this?  

Q6: How can we deal with questions of access and accessibility in blended learning? For example, what about students who do not have regular access to an internet-enabled device and a reliable, high-speed internet connection outside of class?

The #CdnELTchat team is looking for people who would be interested in facilitating one of our bi-monthly chats.  Please let a member of the team know if you are interested in co-moderating a live chat, or in collecting and writing the summaries which are posted on the BC TEAL and TESL Ontario blogs. Other provincial #ELT associations are also welcome to share. If you would like to volunteer, or have ideas for chats, contact any of us: Jennifer @jennifermchow, Augusta @ELTAugusta, Svetlana @StanzaSL, or Bonnie @EALStories.  Post ideas anytime on our Padlet, https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat

Our next chat will be on Tuesday, Nov. 5 with special guest moderator, Sandhya Ghai, who will talk about Intercultural Fluency in LINC Classrooms.


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