My teaching assignment is woods 9-12 and guitar 9-11. It is a wonderful job, I can’t imagine a better job. I get to work with my hands and see ideas and hard work rewarded with a physical representation of student learning. Learning they can hold in their hands or demonstrate on guitar. I believe this feeling is something that is greatly under appreciated until later in life. I couldn’t count how many adults talk to me about learning to do wood working or play guitar or fix old vehicles. Adults are searching for a missing piece in their lives, now more than ever in our modern-day workplace where a large portion of the population does not see the final product of their work, they crave the fulfillment of completing something.
I believe that the ease of which you can learn something online has started a resurgence of DIY’ers. This isn’t something new, my father talks about waiting for weeks for books to arrive in the mail that were step by step instructions on DIY projects, and they were VERY well done. You could get these manuals for everything, from home electrical to bicycle repair. I think that classrooms will inevitably become more and more blended, some are better suited than others for it, but I believe that is what the future for teaching looks like.
A wood shop as you can imagine is not that well suited for an online class, however it is a blended classroom, we use the internet as an educational tool often. There are several occasions where I will have students watch videos on a tool operation. I find this is an effective way to enrich learning for some students when I do not have time to teach them one on one. These videos are not a stand-alone instruction tool, but it offers a great deal of background knowledge to students who I then instruct individually before their independent work.
I also teach a construction class called Theatre Arts, in this class we build the sets and props for the musical. I learn something new daily, for example this year we built a suite of armour from hobby foam. Where did we learn how? Youtube. It was up to them to find a resource to teach us how, be a critical learner, does this video explain things in a way that makes sense? Do we have the resources available to do this? Teaching students how to find good resources online whether it is for construction or music related is an important skill, arguably more important than building a suit of armour. Why do I say arguably? Because those students learned a very important lesson, you CAN build a suit of armour. You CAN explore and learn and fail… and persevere and finally, you CAN succeed. These are my experiences in blended classrooms, they aren’t all success stories, but they are all lessons.