Neuqua expands blended courses

Abigail McArthur-Self, News & Copy Editor

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In a continuing effort to offer students control over their learning and adapt to the development of technology, Neuqua is expanding its roster of blended classes. Blended classes do not meet every day, and instead use online resources to allow students to work through the course on their own.

However, they’re not just online classes; they still have scheduled class times and often meet as a class in a brick and mortar location. Unlike traditional classes, blended students and teachers can decide how often they wish to meet in the classroom and when it is more beneficial for the students to use that time on their own. Mike Purcell, District 204’s High School Director of Curriculum explained that blended courses are aimed to give students control over their educations and teachers flexibility with their classes.

Currently, Neuqua offers government, twentieth century literature, business internship, chemistry, physical education, AP statistics, and consumer economics as blended courses. Purcell said that adding new classes is usually a process of teacher recommendation, but that the end goal is to offer as many courses as possible in all three formats — traditional classroom, blended and online — allowing students to “own their own learning as much as possible.”

Blended classes are relatively new, and the majority of Neuqua students haven’t taken one. However, according to Purcell, they have been introduced to blended learning, which is simply the incorporation of new technology into the classroom. This, he said, includes initiatives such as the purchasing of Chromebooks or the increased use of online resources like PearDeck and Flipgrid. The district’s plans will make ‘blended’ style learning an integral part of education in 204.