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Guest post: How can we support teachers and trainers using digital technology?  

Ahead of the free online course Blended Learning Essentials: Embedding Practice, Maren Deepwell, chief executive of the Association for Learning Technology, discusses how blended learning can create learner success.

Maren Deepwell
Maren Deepwell speaking at the recent BETT Show.

Whether it’s in the classroom or at work, with colleagues or with friends and family, using digital technology is becoming a greater part of our daily lives.

While robots doing household chores might still be a few years off for most of us, having the right digital skills for studying and employment is essential for an increasing number of us.

And teachers and trainers – the people we rely on to help us succeed in gaining qualifications that help us take the next step in life – need those essential skills as well.

Teachers open up worlds for all of us

In my work as chief executive for the Association for Learning Technology, I work with teachers and trainers, librarians, technicians, education developers, senior leaders and many others who work in education – and all of them need to get to grips with technology.

We all remember that teacher who made us have a “lightbulb” moment, who opened doors in our minds and made us understand something new. Today, the worlds we are exploring, the boundaries we have to push, are increasingly in a digital landscape.

You might for example go on a virtual reality expedition discovering the Great Barrier Reef or use a handheld device to make a short animation about a team project. You can use a mobile app to brush up on your mental arithmetic or learn how to code and programme.

For every learner there is a world of possibility, and that kind of learning requires leadership and support from teachers with the relevant skills – essential skills for blended learning.

Technology moves fast, but we can keep up together

But how do you get the right skills? How do you know what will work for your learners, what you can use in the classroom or training session? How do we know which new gadget will make a difference?

These are some of the questions that the educators involved in Blended Learning Essentials have been asking themselves. Together they have brought together the experience, tips and tricks from teachers and trainers across vocational education and training in the UK, and shared it via videos, articles, glossaries, activities and more, to provide a common starting point for everyone, bringing together all the essentials in blended learning.

Most importantly on our courses, you can meet Digital Champions who can help you along the way, whether you are completely new and want to find out what a VLE is or looking to embed innovation across the curriculum or an entire institution. We know that at every stage and at every level there are essentials skills, essential knowledge that is needed to ensure success for learners.

This course is about giving everybody the skills they need to open doors in their learners minds, to help them onto the next step in their journey, whether that’s at college or at work. With the right skills, we can empower teachers and learners to not just use technology, but to connect, collaborate and create new innovations that will shape our future.

Want to know more? Join the free online course Blended Learning Essentials: Embedding Practice from the University of Leeds, UCL Institute of Education and the Association for Learning Technology now.

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