The term “blended (or hybrid) learning” is not a creation of the pandemic 2020. It actually appeared much earlier and means any combination of a traditional face-to-face (or in-person) instruction with any kind of e-learning. The Christensen Institute has been studying and providing insights into blended learning principles, design, and implementation strategies for over decade. While hybrid learning may be beneficial for the high school and college students, it is definitely not the best way of teaching young children. However, the decisions of the mayor and chancellor in light of the COVID-19 pandemic have created a new situation when all or most schools have to do blended learning, whether they are ready for it or not.
The decision has created havoc, as parents and teachers alike do not know what to do. Many school buildings are not ready for in-person education during the pandemic. Many families do not know what to do with their kids on the days they do not have in-person classes; the situation is even more difficult for parents of children in grades K-3. The calendar is not made and nobody knows when it will be made. Many teachers are scared of going to work. There are already so many problems – and very dubious consequences for education. According to DOE, “the youngest students will get 15-20 consecutive minutes of live instruction,” which obviously is not enough to understand new material. Young English language learners will struggle even more as it is not so easy to decipher what a teacher says when there may be problems with internet connection and technical equipment.
Both Brainy Academy and KidzHOME – House of Multicultural Education have been working with children during many years. Having studied the situation, we have decided to create a joint program as our response to Blended Learning 2020 to help parents and children cope with the new situation. We will describe the program in our next post.