...is the ability to choose among ALL available facilities, technology, media and materials matching those that apply to my prior knowledge and style of learning as I deem appropriate to achieve an instructional goal (the salad bar metaphor).
Designer/Teacher Perspective - Blended Learning
...is the organization and distribution of ALL available facilities, technology, media and materials to achieve an instructional goal even when many of these things may overlap.
Administrator Perspective - Blended Learning
...is the organization and distribution of as many cost effective facilities, technology, media and materials as econonmically viable to achieve an instructional goal even when many of these things may overlap.
Some of the various facilities, technology, media and materials include books, computers, groups, teachers, classrooms, virtual classrooms, non-traditional classrooms, tutorials, etc.
Current Situation in my Local Context:
My local contex is the school where I am teaching, which is Mater Salvatoris in Caracas. I teach students of 1st year of highschool, who are between 13 and 14 years old.This school has a very poor situation in terms on ICTs. The school provides students with computer classes, but the students as well as the teacher, do not have the possibility of an Internet connection. This makes impossible the using and teaching of any digital competence. The school has a computer lab, with 20 pentiums 4 computers, and although it would be extremly easy to have the Internet access, the Institution has not been really interested so far in doing so. As a consequence of this, the students at school, are not able to explore any of the incredible possibilities the Web, wisely used, can provide.
The school has two videobeams, which have to be reserved in advance, and which can not be removed from the rooms they are located in.I must say that I have never used them so far. There is only one Computer Teacher who, although being prepared to teach the students the current trends in technology, is not allowed to do so, because of school policies, that don't allow so. There is only one technician, who comes once a month to maintain the equipment, but who is not available on any other moment.
As for my students ICT background knowledge, I wouldn´t be sure of it . I know, because of informal information they have provided me, that they are familiar with some web 2.0 tools, such as facebook, twitter, youtube. These are the ones they use most out of the school enviroment. As for blogs, wikis, glogs, e- portfolios, they know basically nothing, as I have confirmed upon asking them. Nevertheless when offered them the oportunity to learn new web tools, they sound incredibly thrilled by the prospect, as well as when told about using such artifacts, in their English class they show an enormous interest. I believe there is hope.
Unfortunately, there are still many closed minded persons and institutions, that seem to be against progress and evolution, and are opposed to the new concepts in education, and therefore stuck in the past. I truly hope this changes, for it would be incredible to be able to connect with our students, and present them with new innovative ways of teaching and learning.
In the darkness of the unknown, teachers are the stars that illuminate with knowlege. A knowledge that can not rest,which can not be subdued by the storms of the constant challenges of our changing times.As travellers of time and space we are daily faced with the mission of blending into new worlds and renewing our knowledge by not only increasing our wisdom, but traspassing the frontiers of our student's space. Technology has opened new opportunities and we have been granted the gift of it by being offered the possibility of distant learning,a marvellous e-learning concept, a most miraculous virtual learning and a blessed blended learning. As guiding stars, it is our responsability to embrace this gifts and lead the steps of the endless journey through the magnificent learning-teaching process.