Blended Learning in Teacher Education: Uncovering its Transformative Potential for Teacher Preparation Programs

Blended Learning in Teacher Education: Uncovering its Transformative Potential for Teacher Preparation Programs

Jackie HeeYoung Kim (Armstrong State University, USA), Danilo M. Baylen (University of West Georgia, USA), Amy Leh (California State University San Bernardino, USA) and Lijia Lin (East China Normal University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8162-0.ch009
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Abstract

This chapter acknowledges that there is sparse literature to consult about the pedagogical and empirical foundations of blended learning in teacher preparation programs because this field is in its infancy. This chapter will first define blended learning, identify the challenges in teacher preparation programs and indicate how blended-learning approaches will assist teacher educators to meet long-standing and newly emerged challenges, and help future teachers to be reflective practitioners, better problem-solvers, and critical thinkers. This chapter also will discuss pedagogical values of blended learning and factors affecting blended learning course designs, and then showcase best practices using blended learning in order to show the effectiveness of blended learning approaches in teacher education. Lastly, this chapter will discuss considerations when blending teacher education courses.
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Definition Of Blended Learning

Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns, at least in part, through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, pace, and/or space, and, at least in part, at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home (Graham, 2006). Additionally, blended learning is called different terms such as distributed learning, open and flexible learning, and hybrid learning. The arbitrary nature of blended learning reverberates in the different definitions of the term:

  • Combining instructional modalities (or delivery media) (Bersin & Associates, 2003; Orey, 2002; Singh & Reed, 2001; Thomson, 2002)

  • Combining instructional methods (House, 2002; Rosset, 2002)

  • Combining online and face-to-face instruction (Reay, 2001; Rooney, 2003; Sands, 2002; Ward & LaBranche, 2003; Young, 2002)

This chapter is grounded in the definition that blended-learning systems combine face-to-face instruction with computer-mediated instruction (Bonk & Graham, 2006).

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The Future Of The Blended Model

The global revolution in information technology, which has transformed the international economy, is also destined to transform American education (Moe, Cuban, & Chubb, 2009). Hybrid schools facilitate the incorporation of a wide selection of educational technological innovations that transform the education process, which is why Moe and Chubb (2009) predict that most schools of the future will take a hybrid form.

Driving the movement toward hybridization is recognition of the considerable benefits that technology offers to the learning process. The promise of technology extends beyond customization of the curriculum and mode of learning. This “force of liberation” (Moe & Chubb, 2009) frees schools from geographic constraints, improves accountability by way of sophisticated data management systems that evaluate progress continuously, and provides significant savings in labor, which can make funds available for use in more effective ways, as the case studies have demonstrated. Furthermore, in the educational sector, computer-based technologies hold the capacity to remediate, accelerate, review, preview, supplement or supplant the existing teaching/learning system. Having networking capabilities means resources can be borrowed from or shared with other educators and students around the country or around the globe, expanding access to top-tier teachers and instructional materials (Hassel & Hassel, 2009).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Blended Learning: Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns, at least in part, through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, pace, and/or space, and, at least in part, at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home ( Graham, 2006 ).

Teacher Preparation Program: The term teacher preparation program means “a State-approved course of study, the completion of which signifies that an enrollee has met all the State's educational or training requirements for initial certification or licensure to teach in the State's elementary or secondary schools.

Web-Enhanced Courses: A course that meets completely on-campus; however, instruction is supplemented via World Wide Web.

Teacher Education: refers to the policies and procedures designed to equip prospective teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school and wider community.

E-Learning: Learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet.

Pedagogy: The method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.

Technology Integration: Technology Integration is the use of technology in general content areas in education in order to allow students to apply computer and technology skills to learning and problem-solving. Generally speaking, the curriculum drives the use of technology and not vice versa.

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