Literature Review

Photo by Jess Vide on Pexels.com

Innovation Project Literature Review

Introduction

            The following literature review will outline the importance of student lead learning and the use of technology in a modern classroom and study the impact and effectiveness of blended learning in a K-12 education environment. This literature review will not contain research including information about higher education and will focus solely on a K-12 educational setting. Blended learning is an educational program in which students learn partially through online programs and partially with traditional instructor-led activities. Through the blended learning approach, students can follow their path and pace, empowering them to take control of their learning from a young age. Blended learning and hybrid teaching models have become the norm and will continue to become more common in classroom settings of all ages (Clayton et. al., 2013). This literature review will investigate and support the benefits of blended learning and a station rotation model in K-12 education.

Effectiveness of Blended Learning

            According to a 2006 study, blended learning and the use of technology in a classroom setting has grown at a rate of approximately 30% per year globally (Barbour et. al., 2011). Since then, blended learning has become even more common with approximately 65% of higher education programs offering a blended learning educational path (Dzuiban et. al., 2018). With more and more schools gaining access to the technologies that are necessary for blended learning to be successful, it becomes a more feasible and effective form of education. A study of 413 middle school math students in Texas, found that when given access to a blended learning style of education, students performed higher on state-level exams. The study determined that when a blended learning approach was implemented properly and effectively, students were able to perform at a higher level. The program particularly benefits students who were academically behind due to the program being individualized toward the pace of the student (Fazal et. al., 2019).  Overall, the consensus of several articles concludes that blended learning can influence the quality of education to a higher degree. In a 2014 study, 94% of students and teachers undergoing a trial period of blended learning agreed that the program did enhance learning (Alijani et. al. 2014).

Challenges of Blended Learning

            While technology is becoming a more common resource for schools, many schools struggle to keep up with the constant updates to technology. For technology to be most effective, schools need a dedicated technology specialist (Muir-Herzig, 2004), which is a luxury not all schools have. Rozalind G Muir-Herzig states that “for technology to be effective and make changes,… schools must be prepared for technology use in the classroom. Leaders need to develop a model that would include a shared vision, entire school community involvement, specific training for staff and time for the training, a full-time technology director, and time for the staff to communicate and share among peers for technology to be an effective tool in the classroom curriculum” (Muir-Herzig, 2004). This emphasis on a schoolwide shared vision and the need for technology specialists is not a feasible goal for many schools. Oftentimes, these goals would require organizational change, which is both costly and difficult. This has been a challenge that not many schools are yet ready to tackle. Particularly public schools which are government-funded and cannot quickly adapt. The effectiveness of blended learning for all students is also questioned as it is found to be more effective for extroverted students and less impactful for more introverted students (Kuo, 2014). This would statistically exclude about half of the students from excelling in a blended learning program. While many challenges face the transition into a blended learning program, teacher commitment and administrative support could help make this transition smoother.

Influence of Effective Use

            According to the National Science Foundation, as of 2006, all public schools had access to instructional computers and internet access, yet another challenge presents, effective use (NSF, 2018). Teacher confidence, experience, and attitude have a large impact on the benefits of blended learning. Along with this, student access to resources such as outside tutoring, teacher assistance, as well as familiarity with technology greatly alters the effectiveness of technology use (Blackwell et. al., 2014). While students need constant and quality support through any technologically based education program, teachers also need the same support for programs to be as powerful of a tool as they can be (Erişti et. al., 2012). A 2003 study found that newer teachers felt more confident with technological use, but experienced teachers included more use of technology in their curriculum. Based on these results, the study concluded that for the most effective technological use, schools needed to utilize both pre-service training and in-service training for the continued support of technology use in classrooms (Russell et. al., 2003). 

Importance of Technology in Education

            The events of 2020 have made it abundantly clear that education through technology is necessary for all schools and teachers to have access to. According to the World Economic Forum, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1.2 billion children in 186 countries are receiving educational instruction online (Li et. al., 2020). Even with students beginning to return to school, the use of technology is continued and the sheer number of students utilizing technology is undeniable. The technology was slowly making its way into education anyway, but through natural causes, schools across the globe were required to expedite their transition into a technologically advanced educational system. Even as schools begin to resume a normal session, the presence of technology seems to be a permanent change. Internet use initially rose 70% during the first month of pandemic-related shutdowns (Beech, 2020). A lifestyle shifts this drastic is not likely to go back to “normal” with many recognizing the world’s “new normal.” Technology was on the rise to begin with and now is an undeniable part of our future more than ever before. 

Conclusion

            Even with the many challenges of creating organizational change, blended learning has proven to be an effective and efficient way to direct education. Recent research suggests that with proper implementation and continuous support, technology-based learning coupled with instructor-based activities is one of the most effective forms of education. With more schools, teachers, and students gaining access to technology and the internet, it is no longer only for a lucky few. While transitions may be difficult, the benefit of blended learning is undeniable.

References

Alijani, G., Kwun, O., & Yu, Y. (2014). Effectiveness of Blended Learning in KIPP New Orleans’ Schools. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal18(2).

Barbour, M., Brown, R., Waters, L., & Hoey, R. (2011). Online and Blended Learning: A Survey of Policy and Practice from K-12 Schools around the World. International Association for K-12 Online Learning.

Beech, M. (2020, March 26). COVID-19 Pushes Up Internet Use 70% And Streaming More Than 12%, First Figures Reveal. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/markbeech/2020/03/25/covid-19-pushes-up-internet-use-70-streaming-more-than-12-first-figures-reveal/?sh=794d663e3104

Blackwell, C. K., Lauricella, A. R., & Wartella, E. (2014). Factors influencing digital technology use in early childhood education. Computers and Education77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2014.04.013

Christensen, C. M., Horn, M. B., & Staker, H. (2013). Is K-12 blended learning disruptive: An introduction of the theory of hybrids. 2013.

Dziuban, C., Graham, C. R., Moskal, P. D., Norberg, A., & Sicilia, N. (2018). Blended learning: the new normal and emerging technologies. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-017-0087-5

Erişti, S , Kurt, A , Dindar, M . (2012). Teachers’ Views about Effective Use of Technology in Classrooms . Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry , 3 (2) , 30-41 . Retrieved from https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/tojqi/issue/21395/229369

Fazal, M., & Bryant, M. (2019). Blended Learning in Middle School Math: The Question of Effectiveness. In Journal of Online Learning Research (Vol. 5, Issue 1).

Kuo, Y. C., Belland, B. R., Schroder, K. E. E., & Walker, A. E. (2014). K-12 teachers’ perceptions of and their satisfaction with interaction type in blended learning environments. Distance Education35(3). https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2015.955265

Li, Cathy H. (2020). The COVID-19 pandemic has Changed education FOREVER. This is how. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/

Muir-Herzig, R. G. (2004). Technology and its impact in the classroom. Computers & Education42(2), 111–131. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/S0360-1315(03)00067-8

National Science Foundation (2018). Elementary and Secondary Mathematics and Science Education. Science and Engineering Indicators 2018.  https://nsf.gov/statistics/2018/nsb20181/report/sections/elementary-and-secondary-mathematics-and-science-education/introduction

Russell, M., Bebell, D., O’Dwyer, L., & O’Connor, K. (2003). Examining teacher technology use: Implications for preservice and inservice teacher preparation. Journal of Teacher Education54(4). https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487103255985

%d bloggers like this: