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Guest article: Rebooting blended learning – the power of video in the classroom

Sam Blyth, director of schools and further education at Canvas discuss how technology has and is continuing to reshape the education sector

Sam Blyth, director of schools and further education at Canvas discusses how technology has and is continuing to reshape the education sector 

It’s no secret that technology has fundamentally changed the face of education. In a blended world that blurs the lines between physical and digital, students can, in part, control the time, speed, and place of their learning. They can ingest passive rote material at home, and free up classroom time for in-depth discussion. They can work more collaboratively and interact with increasingly diverse course material. And teachers can respond more rapidly to their changing needs.

But, while many schools and colleges have been enjoying the success of blended learning, the discussion has already moved on. In a world where terms like ‘personalised’ or ‘flipped’ learning are commonplace, any type of physical and digital divide already feels anachronistic. It should no longer be seen as innovative to combine class time with online learning – but the norm.

Instead, true ‘blended learning’ has taken on a new meaning entirely – how different of types of content can work together to deliver more engaging and compelling learning, all within a digital world.

A blended approach now calls for teachers to use a variety of text, video, audio and interactive services, all online, to power a multi-faceted learning. For us – the newest part of this is video – and it seems a natural next step to complement traditional learning with visual, absorbing content. It’s why we launched Arc, the next-generation online video platform for schools.

We think that, despite its clear benefits, it’s also easy for many learners to be distracted while participating in video-based learning. Without understanding where students drop off, it’s difficult for instructors to know how to close the gap and ensure that users get the most from the content.

Arc helps to meet this challenge. Unlike traditional video platforms, Arc’s innovative interface lets learners and instructors engage and interact with video content in real time by commenting directly on the video timeline. Through this commenting feature, students can learn from each other’s insights as well as from the instructor’s direction and feedback, providing a rich community for students to learn from one another.

So, using tools like Arc and embracing increasingly diverse and tailored content, we believe that educators must embrace a new, multimedia approach to engaging students. The way the education industries alike approach lesson delivery is critical to motivating, inspiring and challenging students. If young people are rethinking the way they want to learn, calling for a multimedia experience, it’s time we all caught up – and rebooted the idea of blended learning.