Is BLEND a solution or just another problem?

Gianna Vozzella, Reporter

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Blend is the new computer program created by Austin ISD for students to use in the classroom and to have access to their assignments at home. This program now is practically taking over the teachers job and is not helping us learn.

Blend was introduced to me towards the beginning of the eighth grade but it was rarely used in my classes that year. However, when I went into freshman year, it was the ruler of the classroom.

Schoolwide, Blend is used in about every classroom providing us with our assignments for the day and lesson plans for the whole semester. When you get to class, teachers often tell you where to go on Blend and which assignment to do and walk away to their desks, sometimes not saying a word for the rest of class.

Blend is affecting the way we learn by encouraging online lessons and “self paced” lessons instead of class discussions and one-on-one learning with teachers. Teachers rarely talk if they set up a self-paced lesson on Blend, leaving the students to figure out what they should be really taking away from a lesson.  

Austin ISD claims that the features within Blend amplify the best practices of teachers and enhance the skills of students. How are we amplifying the practices of teachers if they sit at their desk most of the time and have students learn the topic themselves? How are the students skills improving if that student doesn’t have hands on learning from a teacher?

Blend claims to “blend” our learning together with a mix of online learning and face-to-face learning, however its more online lessons and less hands-on learning. Blended learning from Blend is not a mix of the two it is just online learning and taking over the teachers job leaving the teacher to just watch over the class.

I learn and understand a lot better when a teacher is hands on with us. I can say that Blend makes topics a lot harder to understand when you have to read every scripted lesson on the screen. When teachers talk in front of class the use more detail and more real life examples of the topic therefore making it easier to understand and apply to assignments and tests.

Blend is not engaging to a student when you have to just keep reading and watching powerpoints and videos. I do not have a long attention span to begin with but when I have to keep reading long and boring slides I often don’t pay attention to key points or remember anything I have learned.  

If Austin ISD gets rid of Blend we can go back to the one-on-one teaching we had before. If schools are trying to go paperless we should only have our homework assignments or tests online not the actual teaching and lessons themselves. Blend is taking over the classroom slowly and affecting teachers jobs. Blend is not helping us effectively learn.

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