Blended learning has been happening in libraries since we introduced an Online Public Access Catalog, added online databases, began teaching students to evaluate websites and using technology to create as part of makerspaces.
However, blended learning is a bit trickier for our teachers. While many classrooms have Promethean/SMART Boards, Elmos, laptops, and tablets, many times these devices are used as a substitution for former paper/pencil activities rather than true blended learning opportunities for students.
ESSA defines blended learning as: a formal education program that leverages both technology-based and face-to-face instructional approaches
(A) that include an element of online or digital learning, combined with supervised learning time, and student-led learning, in which the elements are connected to provide an integrated learning experience; and
(B) in which students are provided some control over time, path, or pace.
(ESSA Section 4102, USDOE)
What can librarians do to help provide blended learning opportunities in schools as part of an effective school library program?
- Curate content for teachers that address students’ needs using open educational resources from a variety of sources
- Provide digital literacy instruction, experiences, and research guidance to students in the physical and online environment
- Function as a role model in implementing blending learning including providing professional development to colleagues
- Advise teachers and students on applications and tools that enhance teaching and learning in a digital environment
- Offer advice to colleagues on ethical use (copyright, transformative fair use, etc.)
(Terminology with Talking Points, AASL Vision for ESSA Implementation Task Force, 2016)
For more information about blended learning and ESSA, make sure to check out AASL’s ESSA page.