The basic blended learning approach uses both online and face-to-face interaction for course content delivery. The instructional time for each component will vary according to the course goals and learning objectives.
Blended learning combines the best of both worlds – online courses are accessible anytime and anywhere the Internet is available. Online courses allow students considerable flexibility, which most people need when balancing the many facets of their lives. Yet, face-to-face interaction is vital in creating a community of learners; although discussion boards and other online collaboration tools such as Edmodo can be very effective and allow interactions over large distances, these options are not uniformly available or easily facilitated. Particularly with courses that include a hands-on component, face-to-face instruction is a necessity.
TEAL uses blended learning for the professional development of pre-service and in-service teachers and administrators. Pre-service educators follow the guidelines established by their course instructor for both online and in-person learning. Districts select a team of three in-service educators to attend multiple days of face-to-face professional development led by specialists in the arts. This familiarizes teachers and administrators with basic skills and background knowledge needed to integrate an art form with one or more content areas, develop arts integrated lesson plans, access the online modules for additional learning, review coaching techniques, and work with TEAL consultants to create a plan for professional development at their sites. TEAL coaches also use Edmodo, the online education network for classroom use, to connect with each other, the consultants, and the teachers and administrators engaged in TEAL.
The amount of time spent online compared to the amount of time in-person is unique to each pre-service course and K-6 district or charter network. It is necessary for districts and charter networks to determine the time that can be allocated to TEAL. In order to dedicate adequate time to the blended learning format, participants will need the support of their leadership to learn, design and implement arts integrated lessons with their students.