Blended Learning in Secondary Schools

Well my year long elearning fellowship has finally come to an end and I will be back into regular teaching alongside my role as eLearning Director at Wellington College starting next year.

This year has seen me test and research a model of learning which I had used previously with a Year 11 History class. The research explored how student interactivity can be enhanced through the use of a blended learning approach and sought to discover how students could become more engaged in their learning when offered an environment that encouraged interaction and collaboration.

I used a Moodle LMS where students prepared for upcoming classes by engaging with online readings, quizzes, forum discussions and a variety of other resources and activities. They would then come to class and participate in activities including discussion around the content that had been covered. I found that the students were interacting with the content, me and each other with a deeper understanding than they might have previously. One of the most significant findings was that engagement equalised, that is to say that lower ability students became more engaged in discussion now that they felt more confident in their knowledge of course content. I finish my report with a discussion about how I believe that emerging technologies will impact on the future of blended learning and high schools in general.

My completed research report is available for download in PDF format here (2.14MB). It will be made available on the efellows site shortly.

I have also discussed my research project and year in general in an edtalks video which can be viewed below (approximately 7 mins):

A blended approach to learning from EDtalks on Vimeo.

Mark Callagher, 2008 eFellow from Wellington College, talks about his research into using a blended approach to learning. Mark describes his findings, including an increase in engagement, reflective writing, and the transfer to the face to face environment.

4 thoughts on “Blended Learning in Secondary Schools

  1. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for this, I will read it with some interest. I am a History and Classics teacher who also uses Moodle, but not in a blended learning environment. I teach online as part of the Virtual Learning Network.

    I found Moodle was perfect for this, but next year I want to move to a more open ended type course, with more student directed content. Like most LMS’s, Moodle tends to replicate traditional teaching models in a virtual environment. The wonderul thing about Moodle though, is how flexible a tool it is, so a move away from this is quiet easy – just needs the teacher to be in a different headspace.

    Anyway – look forward to reading your research.

  2. Thanks Darren. Yes I agree that the Moodle LMS is a mostly teacher driven site for resource creation etc. However, you will also see from my research that their are enough tools within Moodle to really get students engaged. Next year I am going to use Moodle as a home site or base and use Mahara ePortfolios for the student created content. It will be interesting to see the the two can co-exist in a meaningful way. Thanks for your comment.

  3. I just finished reading your research Mark. Very interesting. Good work.

    I totally agree about forums. An immensely powerful tool, especially in History, and one I have used in my teaching for the last few years. I’m still only scratching the surface though I think.

    I’m envious of your school getting latptops to use in the classroom. Mobile devices is definitely the way to go – usually takes 10 minutes or so to get things going in a lab. This is the approach to technology resourcing that our schools in Cantatech should take – I will be recommending it to boards and principals

    Look forward to catching up with you at a conference somewhere!

  4. Hi Mark 🙂

    I’ve seen your video, I totally agree with all you say. I use Forums so much in Humanities Subjects for engineering in computation career. Moodle is a “magic” tool to engaged them to this kind of Subjects.

    Nice to meet you and know you are doing and excellent work.

    I’ll link your RSS feed from my site 🙂

    Congratulations !!

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