mboRijnland achieves success with blended learning
Do you want students that are more engaged in their lessons and are intrinsically more motivated? Then follow mboRijnland’s lead. Their online, blended lessons via Teams and FeedbackFruits have had a lot of beneficial effects on students and teachers. “This is an amazing development,” says Linda de Bruin, maths teacher in Healthcare and Welfare. She is very optimistic about the results and how this new way of teaching enriches her role as a teacher.
The idea to introduce hybrid workspaces had already been voiced for some time at mboRijnland. Not everyone benefits from being at school from 9 am to 5 pm. Vocational apprenticeship (BBL) classes, for example, want to be able to work remotely as well. That is why, in September 2020, mboRijnland started several pilots to see how online classes for 17,000 students and 1,500 teachers could be implemented with the help of Microsoft Teams. The coronavirus accelerated this process: every class had to be moved online within a week and with success! However, the art of teaching proved to be a bit different online than when standing physically in front of the class.
Everyone is encouraged to actively take part, leaning back is no longer an option.
Let’s be honest, 45 minutes of listening to a teacher’s story, no matter how interesting, is difficult for both teachers and students alike. We have a limited attention span and online teaching is much more intensive for your eyes and brain. So mboRijnland decided to introduce something else.”
Real-time insight in student progress
In a physical classroom, you can walk around and see how students are getting on with their work. That is a lot more complicated online. You want to hear the right answer from everyone, not just from the person who raises their hand. You want to give everyone the necessary feedback and have insight in their progress. “That’s difficult when all you have is a live chat and assignments that need to be checked afterwards. After all, you want real-time insight in where students are in terms of their learning goals,” says Linda. This is why she combines Teams with FeedbackFruits. With these solutions, Linda has immediate insight into student progress. And this way, leaning back and doing the bare minimum in class is no longer an option.
Closely involved with students in each class
Linda loves teaching in small groups, so she divides her classes into two. The students take turns with a quiz question or explanation during the online lessons. “This allows me to maintain personal contact and I also get to see when students have a cool mug or have been to the hairdresser. This way, I am at a distance but still close to my students.” After a quiz question is filled in, the teacher knows whether the subject needs to be repeated or completed. Not joining in or not completing the quiz is also something that is instantly visible in smaller groups. “In the past, you only saw this at the end of a period, but now it happens on a daily basis. This keeps students focused on their lessons.”
Blended learning causes positive frustration
The new, interactive way of teaching gives teachers direct insight into a student’s progress and what the student still needs from the subject matter. “This might be a point of frustration for some, but that’s a good thing because learning is not without trial and error. If things are not going well, students come to me and say that they are getting behind. They conclude this on their own, and that’s a great development,” says Linda enthusiastically. “I see their intrinsic motivation, because they actively come to me. Even the students who are not motivated, I see quicker as well. Because of this visibility, we have immediate insight in whether this course is their cup of tea. Before the implementation of blended learning, you only noticed this much later in the year.”
Direct dialogue with your student
Next to being a math teacher, Linda is one of the iCoaches. She is a front-runner and works with colleagues and support services to motivate and inspire innovation. Linda gets inspired by colleagues who implement new approaches in their style of teaching. “Sometimes students have to read a document. Before, these documents used to disappear into their bags until they were thrown away. Now, colleagues send interactive documents with questions, which ensures students read the document. That way, they truly work with the materials, and you have direct contact with your students.”
‘The role for teachers is becoming more interesting’
Teachers that use FeedbackFruits and Teams rate the solution an 8 out of 10 on average. Almost 90% wants to continue using it and would recommend it to colleagues. Nevertheless, the teachers do not always see all new digital tools as a positive improvement. “Some teachers think their role is no longer important when students give each other feedback. Personally, I think that my role has become much more important than before. My work is more interesting because now I have real-time insights in what my explanations mean to students and what they still need. This is much more a coaching role besides the teaching. How do I encourage and motivate them to improve themselves and which assignment suits every individual student best?” FeedbackFruits and Teams made it possible to create a more in-depth dialogue between teachers and students.
FeedbackFruits was set-up to create interaction between students, teachers and content. Considering the current situation it is essential to engage students in (online) classes. The didactical tools of FeedbackFruits, can be subdivided in the following four catergories:
- (Peer) Feedback
- Activating study materials
- Online discussions
- Interactive Lecture