Is there Value Mixing Online Math with Classroom Instruction?

Blended learning, which combines online learning with classroom instruction, is one of three trends that define the future of teaching and learning, according to a 2011 article by KQED, a community-supported public media outlet in Northern California.

The article points out that computer learning works with a child's natural inclination to work on a computer because basically "today's learners are wired at all times".  Teachers are finding it very valuable to mix online math and other subjects with classroom instruction.  Online learning, whether through school or other online resources, includes everything a child can do on a computer such as watching tutorial videos, playing cool math games and taking interactive tests.

The article points out that this trend means that teachers are finding different ways to use classroom time and their roles are shifting from being the keepers of information to being facilitators of information.  They are opening up to different ways to teach so students will be more enthusiastic about learning.  Another advantage is that teachers find that introverted students participate more through online learning.  Teachers use blended learning in a variety of ways such as children watching videos and tutorials at home then doing projects during classroom time or taking online quizzes at home based on the learning they did that day in the classroom.  Or some teachers put their entire curriculum online and work one-on-one with students in the classroom.

The blended learning concept is catching on so much so that the Department of Education (DOE) plans to give monies to 400 schools around the country so they can incorporate blended learning into their classrooms.  The DOE has budgeted to spend 300 million over a three year period.

Regarding a school topic like math, teachers are finding that students are grasping math concepts better when they see it explained through a video tutorial or when doing problems online.  In addition to online class homework that is assigned to complete at home, there are websites like www.mathnook.com that provide free learning resources like rounding math games and other cool math games that offer fun ways for children to learn.

For many children, learning online provides an opportunity for them to go back and redo a problem on the computer and actually enjoy it instead of feeling bad that they didn't get the concept the first time.  Kids also like working online at home because they can go at their own pace.  And because it is more visual and interactive then working in a one-dimensional workbook, they actually have fun learning and will linger at the computer longer because it is more enjoyable.

Lastly, some other advantages to mixing online learning with classroom instruction is that teachers can track the progress a child is making at home such as how long he or she worked on a concept and how many tutorial videos they watched at home.  These online learning programs can also give test results immediately, which is helpful for the student to see how they did right away versus waiting a longer time because their teacher had to manually grade their work.  Online programs can provide colored graphics that show teachers the individual progress of each child-it's a win-win for both the student and the teacher.