- Lecture: 90 minutes
-  Dziuban, Charles D. et. al., “Blended Learning” in Research Bulletin of Educase Center for Applied Research, Volume 2004, Issue 7, March 30, 2004: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERB0407.pdf, accessed on 01-08-2015
The topic of today’s lecture was Instructional Technology. First, we looked through a video hosted on Youtube which showed the development of instructional technologies from the early 20th century on until today.
The video showed the first projectors that were already used around 1910 and were used by US – american teachers to present pictures – e.g. of old wars etc. The first distant learning was established around 1930 by the spread of the radio. Students were able, to listen to a speaker while staying at home and having access to the literature. Around 1950, classrooms were arranged by having the students looking onto the board. The didactics were focused on individual learning.
Around 1960, the first TVs were used didactically and replaced the old motion projectors. Later, the first computers took place even into classrooms. I remember my first class at elementary school: we already had a PC there, which we used to use learning games at this time. I think this was mostly possible because we had a teacher who was really interested in the new possibilities – the other classes didn’t have PCs. They might even have been private property of our teacher, but I’m not sure. I remember that we were allowed to use it when we behaved right, a nice application of the behaviourism theory.
Nowadays, classrooms basically look similar to the early ones – you often have chalkboards, which get replaced by whiteboards. And you have a few classrooms with so-called Smart Boards, that allow to work with a PC. In my high school, we only had two rooms that were equipped with smart boards. A big advantage was the possibility to store the sketches and show them later. Technically, it was not easy to use them – I remember that I had to struggle to paint things like I would have done on a normal chalkboard.
So as you can see, the term “new media” is relative. There was new media constantly since 1900, so we will have further developments in the future. And we are still using traditional books, having classrooms that are often arranged towards the teacher etc. Sure, we are using more learning material that is distributed online, such as e-books, videos, podcasts and so on. Our professor appealed to “focus on didactics, not the technology”. We should concencrate on the basic question: “What should we teach for whom?”.
I think, this is really important. Technology changes and often allows new possibilities. But not each possibility helps us didactically. Looking at the “Virtuelle Fachhochschule” which is a virtual learning institution, it allows individual student-centered learning. But what about the face-to-face contact? I think this is essential for learning – because we unconsciously process knowledge by the support of human face-to-face interaction.
The literature I read today ( see ) is about the question “How can we combine face-to-face and digital learning?”. I prefer the word digital, because “virtual” sounds not matching to me. The “Virtuelle Fachhochschule” is a learning platform and doesn’t aim to model the university virtually.
So, the new term for the combination of online and offline learning is “blended learning”. It allows to combine the “effectiveness and socialization” of the offline context (see ) with an online platform where the student continues his learning. So the didactics move from teacher-center towards student-centered-learning. Looking at my studies at universities of applied sciences until now, I can really see this pattern. Nearly each course was accompanied by online material – websites of professors on the one hand and Moodle courses on the other.
For each course, we could find the exercises online. We often had to hand in our results online and to explain them in the regular face-to-face-sessions. I think, this model is really successful because it allows both the teacher and students to be more flexible. I can decide when I’m going to do my exercises – it doesn’t need to be done in a face-to-face-session only. We can exchange online using the Moodle boards and so on.
That can be an explanation for the described phenomena, that students didn’t stay home only (see ) when models of blended learning were first established. It’s important to communicate face-to-face to get more focussed support and to profite from group work etc.
- The student is able to briefly sketch the development of new media in the instructional technology.
- The student is able to define the term “blended learning”.
- The student can differentiate between offline, online and blended learning and name advantages and disadvantages.