9 Must Have Blended Learning Apps, Tools, and Resources
Students in all educational settings are self-selecting blended learning. What this actually consists of varies depending on the opportunities, policies, and student preferences. An app well-suited for blended learning needs to make learning seamless across time and space. This seamless experience is essential when considering learner flow and cognitive demands. The blended learning apps and tools presented in this article have been carefully curated with the above considerations in mind. There is no one-size-fits-all blended learning solution. Think about what will work with your students and try those.
1. Digital Badges
One challenge of blended learning is capturing learning that occurs in a variety of contexts. Students are no longer constrained by the four walls of the classroom. Tools that capture and recognize learning are essential as pathways to track student progress. Digital badges are a tool that stores metadata and credentials micro learning moments. Systems like Badgr and Credly are great options to begin using badges.
Edmodo is a solution that integrates with both Google Apps and Microsoft Online. It serves as a collaborative, sharing platform for teachers, students, and parents. It is intended to support discovery, create groups, administer quizzes, and learn from like-minded teachers. It should be noted that Edmodo is not considered a learning management system.
3. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is an entirely free platform that has hundreds of videos on every topic imaginable. Also, there are practice exercises for all types of content. Students often use Khan Academy to prepare for a more collaborative activity in class.
4. Lesson Paths
Blended learning can take the pathway of a flexible and individualized learning environment. In this setting, playlists become very important to structure student learning. Lesson Paths is a system where you can assign an existing playlist or create your own. Students can also set up their own playlist.
5. Go Formative
Rapid formative assessments become a critical piece of the puzzle in a blended learning environment. Wherever your students are, Go Formative lets you create assessments, track real-time learner analytics, and see students work in real time.
Voicethread is a platform for collaborative participation and articulation of student thought. You can upload more than 50 different types of files to Voicethread and students can comment on them using chat, video, text, or phone call.
BrainPop lets you assign short and engaging videos to your students. They are an excellent way to introduce a topic or give students extra practice. BrainPop Junior is for students younger than third grade.
8. Base Camp
While BaseCamp is traditionally thought of as a tool for businesses, it can be invaluable for teachers as well. Manage projects, multiple versions, and different students all in one platform. Students working on a project can keep all of their documents and resources in BaseCamp.
Science labs are an essential part of the educational experience. Virtual simulations allow students to explore and play with a science concept before completing a real lab. Also, for science labs that cannot be performed in the classroom for whatever reason can be replicated via a PhET simulation. Developed by the University of Colorado, these simulations are open ended and inquiry-based.
Blended learning has the potential to be beneficial or negative. The actualities will depend largely on intention and use. All of the technologies described in this article help to connect students or provide additional practice. It is important that blended learning does not turn into individualized micro learning opportunities, but rather realizes the potentials of a digital world for learning across formal and informal environments.