By Wendy Verdaasdonk
5 Tips for Teaching a Successful Blended Lesson
The main results we want from our digital tools are, of course, effective learning and high student engagement. So with this in mind, let’s jump into some easy ways to create fun and engaging blended lessons.
Tip 1 - Balance traditional and digital teaching practices
How do you create a healthy balance between traditional and digital learning? First of all, by creating variety within the lesson. A lesson using digital resources should always contain traditional learning practices as well. Switching it up (a couple of times) within a lesson keeps student engagement high and avoids digital fatigue. A blended lesson could be built up in many ways, but here’s one example:
- Teacher introduction
- Assign two digital activities, one accessible to all, and one extension activity
- Showcase example questions with the class to promote discussion
- Continue with the assigned activities and go around the class to help individual students who are struggling
- Pose a simple, medium and hard question on the board with the class, let students answer on paper and discuss the answers
Tip 2 - Introduce a new topic using digital resources
Starting an entirely new topic can be made more engaging by starting with a digital activity right off the bat. You can choose to have students try it out for themselves first - Mangahigh activities will build up difficulty gradually and have tips to help them along - or complete an activity on the board with the entire class. The second option will give you the opportunity to explain the steps to solve the questions, without having to prepare the questions in advance, which helps reduce teacher workload.
Tip 3 - Avoid digital fatigue
After using digital tools for a while, students will get restless and distracted. After using digital resources often and for a long time, digital fatigue is a common problem. This is why we recommend you switch up the lesson after 12 -15 minutes (never more than 20 minutes) of digital activities. That can be just a 5-minute break to talk about what they’re learning or a complete switch to another way of digesting the information.
Tip 4 - Encourage independent learning
When using a mix of digital and traditional learning, you can create opportunities for students to learn independently. One lesson idea is to divide the class into two groups, of which one starts with a group on-paper activity that you lead, and the other starts with activities on your chosen digital resource. The second group can work completely independently to begin with, and when switching groups, you can use the analytics to identify what your students struggle with and make this the main focus of the group activity.
Tip 5 - Use digital tools for homework
Digital resources can be a great way to switch up your homework. Assign activities to your students and make sure to set a realistic deadline; we suggest no more than 3 school days. For Mangahigh, it’s recommended that students try each activity at least three times which should earn them a medal, (if they don’t achieve a medal, this is a good indication they need more teacher support in that topic). When checking homework, you only need to log in to your teacher dashboard, where you can see the total number of attempts and which students achieved which medals! To avoid digital fatigue, we recommend you only set 1 in 3 homeworks as a digital assignment.
Hopefully, these tips will help you create balanced blended lessons. If you’d like to know more about how other schools use Mangahigh in the classroom, make sure to read some of our case studies where teachers from all over the world share their experiences.