How does tech-rich instruction differ from blended learning?


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New advances in technology generate opportunities for educational growth. You can potentially benefit from new digital tools and software that can help push boundaries at every juncture of your graduate degree experience. Specifically, two learning approaches that focus on using technology ― blended learning and tech-rich instruction ― can provide you with the skills needed to utilize technology to your advantage. Technology is going to continue to become more relevant in classrooms and the workplace, so learning how to use it early on can make you more successful in your roles and more appealing to prospective employers.

Female student or young professional working on a desktop computer.

It’s important to remember, however, that these two teaching concepts are not synonymous. While both use digital tools in the classroom ― whether that’s a traditional or online setting ― they have different goals when it comes to the way educational content is absorbed.

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between tech-rich instruction and blended learning and discuss how both approaches work in music instruction.

What is tech-rich instruction?

Gone are the days of solely relying on textbooks to learn in school. Today, tech-rich instruction gives you the opportunity to cast a wider net. Essentially, this teaching concept involves educators using technology in the classroom to reinforce the subject matter. By integrating technology-based lessons into the curriculum, teachers and professors have a helping hand during lectures, while not relying solely on technology as a teaching tool.

Some of the benefits of tech-rich instruction include personalized learning and enhanced collaborative efforts among students. With direct access to learning materials online, you can learn at your own pace. Technology also encourages group work, spearheading an opportunity for online group activity and communication.
How it works in music instruction: With tech-rich instruction, you can take advantage of the various digital platforms that cater to music education. For instance, programs like MuseScore and Noteflight can elevate the experience you once had following the textbook.

What is blended learning?

While similar to tech-rich instruction, there’s more of a reliance on technology in a blended learning experience. According to the Blended Learning Universe, blended learning is a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Benefits of blended learning include customization, competency-based learning and convenience. Not only can you have control over the pace at which you absorb lesson plans when you’re working online, but you also benefit from the flexibility and opportunity to learn from the comfort of your own home, the library or anywhere else with an internet connection.

How it works in music instruction: Much like tech-rich instruction, taking advantage of blended learning means having access to all of the same platforms and music notation software that can be obtained over the internet.

You won’t solely rely on these publicly accessible websites for education, however. Your professor will also use a learning management system that blends lectures, learning materials, group discussion boards and more.

Microphone near a laptop computer.

How the Kent State online Master of Music in music education program uses technology

While both tech-rich instruction in the traditional classroom and blended learning are beneficial teaching and learning options, Kent State’s Master of Music in music education program is fully online and provides an added advantage. Your learning experience is enriched by the convenience and interactivity that’s delivered by technology.

Throughout your tenure, you’ll also learn some of the latest modalities and digital tools in music that can help you accommodate diverse learning styles and connect with your students. You’ll learn how to use a variety of software in the digital classroom, such as Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and music notation software like MuseScore and Noteflight. Overall, this program can provide a similar learning experience to that of tech-rich instruction or blended learning.

If you’re interested in learning more about this program and how technology-based learning can benefit your career as a music educator, visit musicedmasters.kent.edu or call 1-888-989-7072 to speak with an enrollment advisor today.

Recommended Readings:
How Kent State can help you become a stronger leader in music education
How Kent State can help you finance your education

Sources:
ASCD – Teaching from the back of the room
What blended learning is and isn’t
Classroom management tips in a tech-rich classroom
Extending classroom management online
Ed week – blended learning
NAfME – Blended learning in the performing classroom
Using digital tools in the music classroom
Blended learning – the basics
KSU Masters of Music in music education

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