Today’s students are comfortable and familiar with using the Internet to gain information about unknown topics. In the past a person would have gone to the library and referred to an encyclopedia for information. Today we pull smartphones out of our pockets and ask Google to tell us all about any topic. It is for that reason many students wish to facilitate some of their own learning rather than coming to school and waiting to learn at a teacher-led pace. There are three main types of online classrooms that teachers need to be aware of to meet their students’ learning needs.
Blended classrooms use a combination of face-to-face instruction with a teacher at school mixed with some online student-facilitated learning, using the online tools and resources that a teacher gathers and organizes for student usage.
A flipped classroom also involves students using online student-facilitated learning, but what is different about a flipped classroom is that students are solely responsible for learning prior to coming into a physical classroom. Projects and activities are done in the classroom led by the teacher with the assumption students have already learned the online assigned content.
Distance Education Classrooms
Distance education classes, sometimes called virtual schools, consist of 100 percent of instruction via the Internet and teacher-provided online tools. In this type of classroom a teacher and student would never interact in the same physical space.