Frustrated with not having enough time to teach everything she needs to and carry on meaningful discussions in class, educator Catlin Tucker has found a solution.

She uses blended learning technique with an online tool called Collaborize Classroom, allotting time in class to teach the content, then assigning thoughtful questions online to spur discussions that students can dig deep into.

On her blog, the Honors English teacher details all the benefits from using online time at home with instructional time in class.

The online discussions have made my in-class discussions more inclusive, engaging, and dynamic. Because students have been given a question to discuss online, they have had the time to articulate a response, bounce ideas around with their peers, ask questions, make connections, etc. Then when we revisit these discussions in the classroom, students have a plethora of ideas to share. They are no longer scared to speak out because they have a confidence born from their online discussions and the validation of their peers. They have already presented ideas and read other perspectives on a topic. Many students directly reference their peers’ ideas during in class discussions. They discuss comments that impressed and surprised them as well as those postings which caused them to reconsider their own view points.

Here’s the most important part: weaving in those online discussions into the next day’s class. She’s able to create colorful pie charts on the site, and bring that information back to class to discuss how students weighed in on different ideas and choices.

Smart thinking.

  • Digital Kenf

    This is not only a wonderful concept Ms Tucker has developed and is using, but it is one of the best applications of technology in education that I have seen to date. I have checked out the content this teacher has created on the Collaborize Classroom site, finding it to be extremely extensive and well-thought out. No wonder she was named Teacher of the Year by her high school!

  • I was drawn to this article because the headline and blurb made it seem the exact opposite of what I do in my classes. After reading it I realize that Ms Tucker and I are doing very similar things. I’m a physics teacher and I provide my students screencasts on the material for the next class period. In class I can spend time answering their questions and help them work on problem solving skills. My shorthand way of saying it is “content out of the class and discussion in class”.

    • Anonymous

      Interesting how the same tactic can be applied to different types of classes. In Ms. Tucker’s English class, the “discussion” that happens online at home is brought back to the classroom and becomes part of the content she teaches. I’ll post more about this today in reference to yesterday’s New York Times article “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction.”

  • Tina,

    Thanks for posting about the issue of using a blended learning platform in classrooms today. The key to using technology outside of the classroom is to make it relate to what is happening inside the classroom. Catlin has done an amazing job at describing weaving and what that means to educators.


  • Conradvonsupertramp

    Open source learning and shifting our method of teaching will be critical for success in the 21st century. These techniques and tools can be used for Adult Education. Tutoring. distance learning and more. Great stuff. Reminiscent of the University of Freedom

  • Sarasexy1941

    what bones make up the axial skeleton

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