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Blended Learning, Kindergarten Style

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Thu Oct 27 2011

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(From Education Week) Los Angeles 1st grader Lena Barrett clicks through a series of icons and logs on to a laptop under the fluorescent lights of her classroom. Before long, a cartoon version of a game-show announcer appears.

“It’s time to show what you know by finding words,” the announcer says. “In this game, you will click on words that mean the same thing as the word the narrator says. Click on the word that means the same thing as ‘marvelous.’ ”

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Lena, dressed in her school’s burgundy-plaid uniform, clicks on “wonderful,” and the announcer doesn’t waste time with praise. “Pay attention. Go as fast as you can and do your best,” he says. A few words later, she hesitates over “fragile,” before finally clicking on “breakable.”

Six-year-old Lena was among 116 kindergartners last year who participated in an experiment at her school with a teaching method called blended learning, in which students learn from computers as well as teachers. 

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