Will it blend?! Exploring blended learning…

The-rise-of-K-12-blended-learningRecently I’ve been exploring the concept of blended learning thanks to one of the courses I’m taking at the UCL Institute of Education. One of the papers I was introduced to was ‘The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning‘ (2011) by Michael Horn and Heather Staker. Before reading this paper I had an idea that blended learning was literally blending different teaching styles and activities together and mixing it up with technology, however blended learning is not the same as technology-rich instruction. The term blended learning refers to a specific pedagogy where part of the course is delivered in the classroom and part delivered outside of the classroom environment using technology.

“Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online learning with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace and at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home.” (Is K-12 Blended Learning Disruptive, Christensen, Horn and Staker, 2013, p7)

Is-K-12-blended-learning-disruptiveThis paper is brilliant – not only in its clear, easy to read and digest format – but in its categorising of blended learning, giving a vocabulary to identify and describe practice


Teach Like A Pirate – Part 2

Teach Like A Pirate – Part 2

…on hooks, silence, and iPhone ocarinas!

“If people think something is going to be great they are more likely to experience it as such.” Teach Like A Pirate p122

In part 2 of Teach Like A Pirate the author, Dave Burgess, explains some of the ‘hooks’ he uses to craft engaging lessons. This got me thinking to some of the lessons I’ve been part of that have been special experiences, and funnily enough they all involved some sort of hook – something that excited curiosity!

4’33” by the composer John Cage is a piece that requires an introduction. Possibly his most famous piece, it is 4 minutes and 33 minutes of ‘silence’. Arguably, there is no such thing as silence and so it is really a study of the sounds around us. I introduce it for some time, going into details about the composer, the piece, how it is performed and what it hopes to achieve. I try and ramp up the student’s curiosity to such a level that they can’t wait to hear it! Before we listen to the piece, I ask the students to get comfy – to choose any place in the room, the floor, their … Read more...

Teach Like A Pirate

…On Being Enthusiastic, Passionate and Exciting Curiosity!

Teach Like A Pirate coverEarlier this year, when this Exciting Curiosity project had just begun, one of the first things I saw people talking about via Twitter was the book ’Teach Like A Pirate’ by Dave Burgess (@burgessdave). There was a lot of excitement around the book, and with a title like that who wouldn’t be curious about the content! So with a copy ordered for a pirate-loving friend, and a copy for me, I embarked on the adventure.

There is a story in Part 1 that really stuck out for me. The author, his family and their dogs were out and about when they came across a man who was also walking his dogs and they said hello. The man then spotted a hawk on the top of a nearby tree and told Dave all about the hawk, ‘the type of hawk it was, its hunting behaviour, and how its feathers were specially designed for the type of flight manoeuvres it needed.” (Teach Like A Pirate, p11) The discussion around the hawk and ecosystem of the surrounding area went on for around 30 minutes.

But why would a story like that stick out? Well … Read more...