It’s probably fair to say that most of our memories of Middle School art class don’t involve videos and quizzes. But in JoAnne Vogel’s classroom, they’re commonplace. In fact, before students even begin any new project, they must watch a video and pass a quiz showing they fully grasp the assignment. The result? A completely transformed classroom where “the kids have absolute control over their learning,” said Vogel. So whether students are working with clay, crafting a mini mobile out of wire or turning their latest drawing into a foil design, students approach each project with more clarity and fluidity—from start to finish.
Often called blended learning, Vogel’s approach to teaching mixes digital media with traditional teaching methods. Not only does the approach make her classroom run more smoothly, it also encourages students to be self-sufficient by allowing them to move through an assignment at their own pace.
This switch in classroom dynamics also gives Vogel more time to work one-on-one with students. “The videos are there to make sure they have a basic understanding before beginning a project,” she said. “Once they have that, I’m able to work individually with students to raise challenge levels as appropriate.”
And while more time for individualized instruction ranks high on her list of benefits of blended learning, it’s not her number one. “The kids help each other,” she said. “They’re teaching each other because they’re so confident with the material, and that’s great to see.”