Blended Learning is a powerful new means of education. Traditionally, students are taught frontally, with a teacher lecturing a group of 20-30 students. In such a setting a truly talented teacher will be able to stimulate and accomodate many different students, with different backgrounds, aptitudes, and learning preferences. But the frontal nature of the class makes it challenging to reach everyone. Typically, some students will have already mastered what the teacher is teaching, while some are still one step behind.
Blended learning utilizes technology to facilitate more pin-pointed and tailored instruction in the classroom and at home. There are a number of models for the blended learning classroom. At Gaon Education we focus on both enhancing frontal teaching using technology, and facilitating differentiated instruction through the rotational model, where students are divided into groups and rotate through stations. Let's take a look at the rotational model in a bit more depth.
Computer Station Let's start with the computer station. First, the talmid completes a pre-test and the adaptive learning engine assesses what they already know and what they don't. If they exhibit mastery over an activity, they don't sit through it again - they move on and are challenged further. As they progress, the software analyses how well they are learning new concepts and recalling old ones, and adapts appropriately, giving them more drills, or pushing them to new heights. Over time, we can assess a student's learning preferences and let them learn using that modality more often, so they can better enjoy and connect to the Torah they are learning. All this data is gathered up and compiled in an easy to use report that the teacher can view that night when planning the next day's lesson.
Teacher Station Rather than replace the kesher of a rebbe with a computer, this model enhances the student-rebbe relationship. Since the class has been divided in three and time interacting with the teacher is in a small group, students enjoy more personal and personalized attention, allowing for a greater kesher with their rebbe or morah, and instruction that speaks to the exact point that they are having difficulty with or in which they can be extended. The blended learning model has freed the teacher to see the class as individuals, and teach them as such. The rebbe or morah has not formed these groups randomly! They have data - numbers and results from only yesterday when their talmidim and talmidot were at the computer station in class. The teacher is sent a record of every student's results, and can put those struggling with shorashim in one group, and those struggling with nekudot in another. When the students come around to their session with the morah she is ready - with activities designed specifically for the group of students she has for the next 20 minutes.
Individual/Small Group Station These students move on to group or individual work, where they can practice exercises that reinforce the unique lesson that was designed just for them.
Blended learning allows us to meet Shlomo Hamelech's dictum of educating each child according to his way. If we do it right, it will surely bring us closer to the conclusion of that verse: Even when he ages, he will not stray from it.
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