Broadband Imperative III Equity Access and Student SuccessTechnology Influences Pedagogical Approaches

Pedagogical approaches that utilize the power of technology to personalize learning include blended and virtual learning. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, “In a blended learning environment, learning occurs online and in person, augmenting and supporting teacher practice. This approach often allows students to have some control over time, place, path, or pace of learning. In many blended learning models, students spend some of their face-to- face time with the teacher in a large group, some face-to-face time with a teacher or tutor in a small group and some time learning with and from peers. Blended learning often benefits from a reconfiguration of the physical learning space to facilitate learning activities, providing a variety of technology-enabled learning zones optimized for collaboration, informal learning, and individual-focused study.” Virtual learning is the opportunity to take courses where the curriculum is provided exclusively online.

Although virtual and blended learning environments are widely thought of as effective instructional approaches, they are not available in all schools for all students. Without access to high-speed bandwidth and devices both at school and at home, teachers and students cannot realize the potential of these approaches. Further, newer approaches to provide project-based and hands-on activities are the reality for some schools and on the horizon for more. Such tools require even more bandwidth, such as augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality and game-based learning.

Examples of AR, VR and MR to enhance education include: virtual field trips using AR and VR, allowing students to explore areas without ever leaving the classroom; virtual 3D models for science; and lab experiences that allow students to virtually alter time to move more quickly or go back and correct mistakes. Game-based learning focuses on engaging students in learning through game-based approaches, such as choose your own adventure or student quests. Game-based learning is also expanding to Esports, a competitive video game play that is emerging in K-12 education to further engage students. According to the article, Gamers Are the New High School Athletes: The Rise of Esports, most leagues provide instructional resources for educators managing the team, explaining the game and offering suggestions for promoting good sportsmanship.

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