According to Valley Lutheran senior, Chae Kelsey, being able to be back in the school building with her classmates and teachers this fall, “is great because learning really isn’t the same online…Being taught face-to-face is beneficial, and I like seeing my friends.” While Valley Lutheran students are currently able to benefit from in-class instruction once again, that education is being bolstered more and more with on-line resources to support what is happening in the classroom.
This concept of combining face-to-face learning with learning using digital resources is not new to VL students, but the intentional planning and use of digital resources has become critical to the educational process, especially at this time. According to Dr. Lisa Meyers, Academic Dean, one of the significant reasons for implementing blended learning is that “this is the best preparation we can give students before they move on to college, military, and career because, in those settings, they will be expected to learn and develop independently as well as face-to-face.”
Since VL teachers make most of their class content accessible through Google Classroom and other digital platforms, students who are absent for short periods of time are still able to connect and stay active in their classes even though they may not be able to be physically present. This on-line access to course content allows teachers to provide quality education to both groups (present and absent).
As teachers shift to using more on-line resources outside of the classroom, students assume more of the responsibility for tackling the foundational learning on their own through readings and videos posted to Google Classroom. This frees up more of the face-to-face class time for activities and discussions that involve more of the higher-order thinking skills.
Dr. Meyers sees this educational shift as a boost to VL education, “Blended learning helps students develop confidence, independence, initiative, resourcefulness, problem solving, critical thinking, and technology skills. It is the hallmark of great 21st-century education.”