If you don’t have children, you may not know what Rainbow Looms are. Rainbow Looms allows people to take rubber bands and “clips” and create bracelets or other works of art. A great deal of hand-eye coordination is used to make the designs using the Loom. The bracelets and designs range from simple to very complex creations. My daughter creates bracelets and different designs using her Loom everyday (with this weather we are having, I literally mean everyday!). The more complex the design, the more difficult it is to create the design using the Loom. My daughter uses videos from YouTube to learn how to create the more complex designs. She searches for the videos herself, watches the videos and follows the instructions on the video to create the bracelets. She has the ability to pause the video or rewind the video to watch challenging portions again. When she hits a challenging design, she uses problem solving skills and different methods to figure out how to complete the project. Users also have an additional resource by asking their parents, guardians, or family members about any concepts that are confusing. Youngsters who are around eight to ten years of age create most of these video tutorials. My daughter also creates videos and shares them with others.
The whole process sure does look like blended learning to me. Children use devices to watch videos and create products. Use multiple devices and collaborate with others to assist them with their products. Search for videos so they can produce as an end product. Use problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills to create bracelets.
Giving children the opportunity and challenge of learning on their own is an important part of student growth. Can we make excuses on reasons why we should not offer blended learning to our students? I’m sure someone could. Why don’t we take the excuses away? “Not everyone has an Internet connection at home.” Let’s open the school on the weekends so students can access the school and have meetings with team members for different projects. Open the school up during calamity days. Create partnerships with businesses allowing students to use their facilities to work and collaborate. “Kids aren’t responsible enough to do something like this.” Let’s make them responsible. Hold them accountable. Expose them to the environment instead of sheltering them from the environment.
Let’s take a look at the positives that surround this type of learning:
- Students have the opportunity to learn on a variety of devices. While 1:1 programs & BYOD programs are beneficial for incorporating different methods of learning, students having the ability to use a variety of resources help them for life beyond high school.
- Especially during this time of the year when it seems we have school about once or twice a week, blended learning allows our students to learn at any time.
- Students can get “hooked” into this type of learning (as long as it is interesting). I know my daughter is working on Looms all day long during calamity days. When is the last time we’ve the opportunity to get kids “hooked” into education?
- Students can collaborate with others in this environment. Students who can collaborate with others are the most attractive potential employees for employers.
- Students learn responsibility, organization, and time management. From creating their own schedules to using their time appropriately gives students the change to grow and prepare themselves for high education.
Let’s start making this happen for students. Students can learn this way. My daughter is 8 years old and learns new skills everyday. If she can do it, why can’t elementary, middle school, and high school students? We need to work together as educators to change our cultures and instructional methods to make this learning a reality for all of our students. I better get rolling. I have to go look on eBay for another laptop for my daughter’s video productions.