I’ve just returned from conVerge10 at which I had a frantic couple of days attending, presenting, listening, learning and catching up with other eLearning teachers across all sectors of education. Fantastic stuff, thanks to the eWorks team for another successful event (see you next year). As I became immersed in the proceedings and presentations I started to make some observations that gave me pause for thought-
- The average age of the attendees must have been 35+ (at least); where were all the young ‘up and comers’?
- There was lots of talk about being ‘not very tech-savvy’- a general lack of tech self-confidence, such as-
- “there are too many Web 2.0 tools to choose and learn”
- “it scares me that I have to learn soooooo much!”
- “I don’t know where to start’
Does this sound familiar? Are you or your colleagues in that 35+ range, not that confident with computers, unsure of how you might move your teaching practice towards a blended learning model? As with all things worth doing there’s the ‘right’ way and the ‘wrong’ way, I’ve suggested two ways you might approach your move to blended learning- I’ll let you choose which one’s right for you and your current skills and abilities.
The Soufflé approach
A soufflé is a light, fluffy, baked cake made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients. The word soufflé means “to blow up” or more loosely “puff up”.
Think ‘occasional’ food, think difficult to prepare, think many ingredients
The recipe for Soufflé blended learning-
- Combine the following (badly)- Dropbox, Moodle, PhotoStory, Movie Maker, Podcasting, Blogging, Mind Meister, etc., etc.
- At every opportunity add the latest and greatest software/app to your course (without understanding its implications or teaching & learning benefits)
- Become a ‘Jack of all Web 2.0 tools, Master of nothing’
- Serve to your students
- Wonder why your students are angry/perplexed/frustrated/not learning/not experiencing
- Wonder why you are feeling angry/perplexed/frustrated/unfulfilled
The Cheese sandwich approach
A sandwich is a food item, often consisting of two or more slices of bread with one or more fillings between them.
Think comfort food, think easy to prepare, think simple ingredients.
The recipe for Cheese sandwich blended learning-
- Carefully select one (1) Web 2.0 tool or piece of software that you feel might-
- Add a positive experience to your class/students AND yourself
- Has a valid application from a teaching and learning perspective in your subject
- Is easy to use, apply and teach to others
- Combine it sparingly to your current teaching practice e.g. face to face delivery
- At every opportunity seek to learn more about the tool you’ve selected-
- Its ‘other’ more esoteric features that may be of benefit at a later stage
- Seek other users- this may be through Twitter or subject matter blogs/web pages
- Become comfortable and confident using it
- Serve it to your students when you’re ready (and confident using it)
- Wonder why your students are happy/confident/not frustrated/learning/experiencing
- Stick with only using that tool until both you and your students (not necessarily in that order) are ready to try something else
- Enjoy feeling fulfilled/confident/proud of your new skills/proud of your new teaching practice
It’s no use trying something doomed to failure on your first attempt and making a hash of it- a soufflé has a tendency to collapse while everyone loves a toasted ‘sango’ and they are the most simple food to prepare and enjoy.