The 21st century classroom has no walls – thanks to the internet, teachers with access to computers, smartphones and tablets can immerse their students in a world of fascinating videos, games, facts and creativity.
Blended learning is far more than just a combination of print and digital materials. It personalizes the learning environment, allows for spontaneous learning opportunities, deeply engages students with relevant materials and facilitates flexible teaching.
Beginning in the primary classroom, blended learning provides students with the tools they need to become autonomous learners and prepare themselves for a lifelong education and a successful future.
So what should you know about blended learning, and how can you start to take full advantage of the technology at your disposal?
Personalized and autonomous learning
First and foremost, rather than a distraction or a “fad”, technology should be seen as a tool to engage learners in a particular topic.
Generation Z – that is young people born between 1995 and the mid-2000s – has grown up with the internet, Google, and social networking. A world without the web and related technology is almost unimaginable for them; it brings them freedom, autonomy and their online identities are an important part of their lives.
Rather than trying to swim upstream and ban technology in the classroom, teachers can use the affinity their students have with tech tools to their advantage.
Under the direction of the teacher, blended learning can bring an element of fun, interest and variety to the classroom. It is able to add layers to classroom topics, allowing students to go deeper into exploring ideas and fact finding. What’s more, it allows students to expand their knowledge in a truly personalized way.
By setting objectives and giving learners the freedom to focus on the most relevant and interesting aspects of a project, educators can teach an entire class, yet still personalize it for each individual student.
Moreover, educators who teach students the skills they need to research, question, and learn with technology in the classroom also set the stage for self-study and autonomous learning. With the right tools and know-how, motivated students are in an excellent position to get ahead; autonomous learning has been shown to have a big impact on learner outcomes.
Broader learning opportunities
If a class is relevant, personalized, fun and uses tools that students like using, education becomes something to look forward to and something that they can participate in, in their daily lives.
Blended learning creates opportunities for students to engage with English outside of the classroom, through games and practice that they can access on mobile devices or computers at home or on the go.
Poptropica English: A primary-level blended learning program
Poptropica English and Poptropica English Islands are a 6-level blended learning course aimed at Primary students. The programs are ideal for teachers who are looking for a rigorous Blended Learning Primary ELT course for learners aged between 6 and 12 years old and schools that offer 2 to 5 hours of English per week.
Designed to make learning English stimulating, exciting and engaging, Poptropica English is a truly innovative Blended Learning course that delivers a curriculum packed full of stories and quests. Poptropica English Islands, a more intensive version of Poptropica English, allows pupils to enter a fun world of adventure where they develop solid English Language skills and are prepared for external exam topics.
Providing evidence of pupil progress and extending learning beyond the classroom in an engaging way, its unique methodology follows five ‘P’s that underpin the course program; Presentation, Practice, Production, Personalization and Pronunciation.
1. Presentation: the teacher demonstrates the key language while providing a model (on audio or in Poptropica English World) for pupils to hear the correct pronunciation.
2. Practice: this is provided in the form of controlled and more open activities using the presented language.
3. Production: these activities encourage pupils to use the language either to speak or write something and therefore become more autonomous and to manipulate the language in order to communicate.
4. Personalization: these activities are also included in the lesson structure to engage pupils further with the unit language and to help them with language recall.
5. Pronunciation: this is a key area in language teaching and it is addressed in all units. Pupils practice it through fun and engaging songs and chants that help them acquire the stress, rhythm and intonation of English.
- Pupil’s Book with Online Game Access Code
- Activity Book with Vocabulary App Access Code
- My Language Kit
- Teacher’s Book with Online Game Access Code and Test Book
- Class Audio CD
- Story cards