Education Major Finds Teaching Inspiration through Blended Learning Methods

By Catie Gross
Marketing and Communications Assistant

Students go through UC's College of Education learning how to follow and develop teaching methods and curricula - and third year middle childhood education major Ashley Martinez has additional teaching philosophies in mind to work into her plans.

Martinez has taken an interest in a new, innovative method of teaching called blended learning. Blended learning is an individualized style of learning that incorporates effective and relevant uses of technology. It not only allows Kindergarten-grade 12 students to receive traditional classroom teaching, but also includes computer-mediated activities. 

Martinez was first inspired by this blended style of learning after Blackboard K-12 speaker, Katie Gallagher, visited her education technology class and introduced new methods of online teaching.

“Katie shed such a positive light on education and put forth a solution to standardized testing and other teaching challenges through blended learning,” Martinez said.

Gallagher was able to connect Martinez with a teacher who values blended learning and practices it in her classroom. Martinez was invited to spend a week with Diana Bailey from Lawrence Schools in Lawrence, Kansas where she shadowed Bailey in her classroom. Bailey is a trail blazer for blended learning and the integrated use of technology as a way of teaching.

Martinez was able to observe Bailey’s unique method of teaching and experience the high-level of engagement students had toward learning.

“Blended learning takes the standard classroom curriculum and flips it upside down,” said Martinez.  “I have never seen students so engaged and motivated to learn.”

Traveling to Kansas to shadow Bailey was just one research project of Martinez’s. She also attended the Ohio Education Technology conference with other teachers and professionals to learn about ways technology is incorporated into education.

“Personalized education and blended learning were two buzzwords of the conference,” said Martinez. “Teachers are curious about the benefits of blended learning and its growth within classrooms.”

Martinez is currently a student teacher in a traditional classroom at Chase Elementary School but plans to dedicate her next year at UC to blended learning research. She hopes to implement the teaching methods into her own classroom after graduation in 2016.