The Power of Blended Learning and Differentiated Instruction.
Training in differentiated instruction
Training in digital skills and blended learning
As of mid-March 2020, all schools and training facilities are closed or idling because of the arrival of the COVID19 virus. This particular and unprecedented context could only amplify the various digital divides that have been evoked in techno-pedagogical research for several years (the most vulnerable youngsters are hit hard by the crisis). A large-scale survey from Uit De Marge vzw, a support centre for youth work and youth policy, shows that four children out of ten are experiencing problems with start-up lessons, preteaching and homework. In addition, two thirds of the children and youth do not have a personal laptop or computer at their disposal during the day. Moreover, six out of ten children and youngsters in the survey indicate that they have nobody nearby who can help them with their schoolwork. The consequence is that young people differ greatly in the prior knowledge they have during and beyond the Corona-period. For teachers, this means that any ‘whole-class’ approach, both digitally and in the classroom setting, will fail to meet the needs of many vulnerable young people.
Differentiated instruction is a pedagogical-didactical approach that supports teachers in dealing with these differences in a positive and proactive way. Providing differentiated instruction is complex for teachers and even more complex in online or in a blended learning environment; the latter referring to the combination of online learning and face-2-face teaching in the classroom. So, first of all, this project aims to strengthen teachers’ competences to apply differentiated teaching and to show innovative ways of adapting differentiated teaching to current teaching and learning settings. Secondly, the project aims to address the digital divide among teachers and learners to enable the efficient use of digital tools. The oldest digital divide concerns learners’ access to digital material. As this material is currently indispensable for learning any training programme, the impact of this initial divide is seriously amplified by the current health crisis. The second and more recent digital divide is the lack of digital skills. It is no longer just a question of having access to equipment, but also of knowing how to use it wisely to be able to effectively follow the training modules on offer.
Skills4You sets out to study, develop, create and disseminate digital skills4all.
A state-of-the-art study in schools/colleges/universities will be done in the Province of Liege, the Province of Flemish Limburg and the Province of Dutch Limburg.
The necessary tools to understand the challenges of blended learning and digital skills will be provided for teachers.
Training modules for learners will also be created to help them manage their online learning in a blended learning environment.
Finally, a tailor-made professional program for teachers referred to as our ‘Diffentiated Instruction intervention’ to support students will be designed, implemented, evaluated, and disseminated.