Since 2011, the University of Central Florida has offered “BlendKit,” a free six-week online course for folks who want to learn more about blended learning. The 2017 edition launched on Monday, but there’s plenty of time to enroll. The first of five live webinars will be Monday, March 6 at 1:00 pm Eastern (US) time. In the meantime, you can prepare by working on orientation activities and other assignments.
The organizers know that not everyone who signs up plans to finish all components of the course. They welcome everyone from lurkers to auditors to active participants, and “completers.” Badges are used to recognize completion of different types of activity, including assessment, design, and content. All course materials are freely available on an open website called the Blended Learning Toolkit.
I have heard great things about BlendKit, so this year I decided to enroll. I’ve begun to familiarize myself with the layout of the course and so far I’m amazed with the thoroughness and attention to detail. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing my reactions and experiences. I’m pretty confident that you would find BlendKit rewarding, too, so here’s a signup button if you want to join me:
Every January brings predictions about trends that will dominate the headlines in the coming year. This article is my biased attempt at identifying a consensus among.
To help keep you from feeling left out of conversations around the water cooler, each trend is defined and includes a short bibliography.
Google Sites went through a MAJOR upgrade recently and a new version was released in November 2016. Gone are the ugly, old-school pages. You can arrange things into columns, drag and drop, and incorporate all kinds of elements. See TechRepublic’s article 5 key features of the new Google Sites for some of the highlights. Watch the two videos below for a quick tutorial and a deeper dive:
The above videos from the EduFlip website were produced by Sethi De Clercq of St. Andrews International School in Thailand.
I have been encouraging people to consider using Google Slides, but one caveat was that you could only insert video from YouTube. On February 8 of this year, Google announced that users of Google Slides can now embed a video saved in Google Drive into a slide. The video below from Practical Ed Tech explains how it works.
To finish up the year I’m highlighting some of our most popular articles. They’re grouped into two strategies you might want to explore over the break. Don’t worry if it’s too late for major changes to that spring course. You can use these ideas to move the needle just a smidge the first time around.
1. Have students create media
This can take the form of a small assignment. It doesn’t have to rise to the level of a major paper.
- How to design a digital media assignment
- Three possibilities (there are lots more):
- A grid for evaluating student media
2. Make your materials pop
There are easy ways to make a handout, syllabus, or other document visually more effective — and they don’t require redoing everything from scratch.
[Image credit: light painting by Jonathan Cohen]