As a virtual instructor in the corporate world, I utilized both synchronous and asynchronous instructional methods. I met with my students daily for four hours in an adobe connect classroom and then students continued their learning through Email and on-line discussion. And finally, they had to demonstrate their learning using the companies actual systems and work with customers on live calls.
I also taught health and nutrition to college students using a blended model. We met once a week in a brick and mortar and the rest of the instruction occurred via the internet through instructional video conferencing, content specific games, ePortfolios, collaborative forums and social media.
Currently, I teach in a traditional brick and mortar high school. We adopted a one-to-one plan last year and every student now has a laptop provided by the school. My classroom became a blended classroom because of the knowledge I brought with me from the corporate world. I had an advantage, most teachers really struggled with how to utilize the technology in the classroom. For the most part, they did not utilize them at all or only as word processing tools.
Creating a blended classroom without any training is just about impossible in my opinion. Fortunately, my experience provided me with the background I needed to really utilize the tools at hand. The kids were working on ePortfolios, eNotebooks, and on-line discussion boards. The ability to use a rotating station model really allowed me to differentiate instruction for my students with disabilities and offered remediation time that I otherwise could not have provided in class. The real-time data provided a window into how students were doing with the information and made very clear those areas in which they struggled.
I really don’t have a preference between asynchronous or synchronous classes. They both have merit and offer unlimited potential for learning. Ideally, how one learns, will be the best indicator for which model is the one for them.