Blog: Bright Ideas

What is Blended Learning and Are There Ways to Practice It At Home?

What is blended learning? It’s a question on the minds of many parents, and there are a number of different answers. It ultimately breaks down to one general goal—empowering kids to take charge of their education with the integration of technology. In a blended learning environment, kids get the opportunity to supplement their learning through the use of digital media tools. This learning strategy is one that prepares them for 21st-century adulthood, where technology will play an everyday role in their lives. 

Blended learning can be formal or informal, so there are plenty of ways to practice it at home. Parents can offer fun projects to kids that allow them to get creative, explore topics of interest or even get them outside to learn about nature. Thanks to the flexibility of today’s technology, there’s virtually no place a blended learning experience is off limits. To get kids on board, all parents need to do is focus on the things they’re already interested in. 

Getting Kids Involved In Video Production 

Most recent reports show kids clocking in about 2 hours a day of screen time, and much of that time is spent watching videos. An alternative for making this screen time more productive could be getting kids involved in the production process for one of these videos they enjoy so much. That means going back to the basics of video production: 

  • Write a script: Kids can start by picking a subject and the story they want their video to follow as a fun, creative writing exercise. 
  • Build a storyboard: Storyboarding helps kids learn how to build towards a big picture, plus it’s a fun arts and crafts project that the whole family can enjoy. 
  • Filming: With today's technology, filming is as easy as using a smartphone or laptop camera. Younger kids may need a bit of help with this step, while older ones will probably be well-versed. 
  • Editing: During the editing part of the process, kids can learn about all the technical back and forth that happens while their favorite videos are being produced, whether that involves cutting for time, adding special effects or building a soundtrack. 
  • Uploading and sharing: Here, kids can share their creations and get feedback, sharpening their communications and interpersonal skills. 

Not only will this activity help to improve creative thinking, collaboration and reasoning skills, it will also help kids appreciate the videos they watch. For kids who discover a great love of film creation, there are also some amazing opportunities to further develop these skills at innovative summer camp programs that incorporate a blended learning philosophy, specifically for kids who have an interest in film. A summer camp environment is also a great way to help them build the communication and collaboration skills that will set them up for success if they choose film as a career path. 

Solving Problems with App Creation 

Even with all the access to technology they have today, kids are still going to get bored. That’s why they should be encouraged to create their own fun using their mobile phones. Rather than spending hours browsing Facebook or chatting with friends, they could be brainstorming an app to help them solve a problem they have, or one that they see in the world around them.

Parents can challenge their kids to think of common problems, like waking up on time or remembering their homework, and then find an app-based solution. Kids can then design a mobile app around solving that problem, using themselves, their friends and family as their test audience.

In doing this, kids get greater insight into how their favorite mobile games are built while also improving problem-solving abilities. There are tons of online tools and programs that can be used in this project, or parents can go the extra mile and enroll their kids in a class. It really depends on how drawn to this type of activity they are. For some kids, designing a simple app is the start of a lifelong love of app development and programming.

Camp Galileo campers playing with paper instruments.

Creating A Soundtrack for The Musically Inclined

Musically-inclined kids can enjoy a blended learning experience while also practicing their instrument through soundtrack creation. Kids can create a soundtrack to accompany their favorite video game or TV show, and then use the computer to cut and apply that new soundtrack as a project. 

Through this activity, kids get a greater understanding of music composition as well as technical editing skills. They can discover ways to adjust and change their music while inspiring their creativity. Kids in a music education program may already have some music editing resources available to them, and if not, there are plenty of accessible free and low-cost resources online. 

What Is Blended Learning to Kids? 

Kids don’t view blended learning as education. Instead, they see it as independence. Through blended learning, their parents and educators show them they’re trusted to guide their own knowledge and discover new passions. In this style of learning, it's best for parents and teachers to take on a guidance role, allowing kids to really take charge of their own projects.

Blended learning projects that involve the creation of apps, videos and soundtracks allow kids to get creative while also improving their technical skills. They learn to collaborate, solve problems and communicate through practical experience. This blended learning helps kids take charge of their education, empowering them to achieve their dreams. 

Galileo can provide fun blended learning experiences for kids who are interested in video, app creation and a wide range of other creative applications of technology. Check out these opportunities for innovative summer camps in your area: San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, and Chicagoland. Sign up for our mailing list to keep up-to-date on our camp happenings, innovation resources and registration information for our upcoming 2019 camp season.