Saint Stephen’s College in Queensland, Australia uses blended learning (and spaces) to create an environment that ensures that all students can learn and succeed at their own pace.
Steps to Blended Learning Success – Saint Stephen’s College, Queensland
We built a rich online learning environment using Brightpsace, and that is a central pillar of our method of change towards blended learning.
It’s a flipped model that we’re using, the students are going through the content on Brightspace and then I spend my time in class solving any problems they might have come across in the material, but most importantly contextualising it.
Brightspace is fantastic for teachers, It allows us to be personally engaged with the students. We teach Spanish and Japanese at the college, I give them audio feedback sometimes because if they have incorrect pronunciation, then I can use that feature to basically record how a word or phrase is actually said, so the kids then are able to listen to that over and over. It’s a fantastic way for them to improve but also it builds rapport with the students and gives them personalised feedback.
Some of my subjects I couldn’t do at school, because of this I thought I’d have to drop them, but I didn’t. I could use Brightspace to do year seven computer studies and year eight computer studies. It helps me do things at my own pace. It’s actually like, super-duper easy! I’ve taken some of my grades and I’ve put them from Bs to As because of Brightspace.
The biggest advantage is that it allows for a whole range of different types of learning. Different files, so you can put in Word documents, Powerpoints, a whole range of things. A lot of our students are visual learners, I might put in little clips from YouTube, it might be a cartoon of the plot of Macbeth, for example, that helps them to understand. I like that flexibility, I liked that I can go through and decide what different activities that I’m going to get my students to do and that means addressing the visual students, the students who learn through hearing, the students who learn through doing, so I think that all of those important learning styles are accessible to students through Brightspace.
Some early surveys of students indicated that somewhere between 82 and 88% of the students preferred a blended learning approach as compared to a traditional approach of teaching. They’re very happy with the system and we got satisfaction rates of 1.7 on average for use of the system and that was where 1 is ‘exceptionally easy to use’ and 5 is ‘extremely difficult to use’. Now, if you’ve got effective blended learning, you also need workspaces that aren’t your traditional classroom and it’s the combination which allows us to really produce students who have the skills needed for the present and the future.