Blended Learning vs. Tech Integration

Like many others, my department has been drawn to blended learning and the personalized learning it allows. Both this year and last year, we worked with a small group of teachers in our district to help them implement blended learning pedagogy in the classroom.

We've had much success, but make no mistake, transforming teaching to provide students with a blended learning experience is no small task. One of our favorite articles on the topic, The Basics of Blended Instruction, by Catlin R, Tucker, provides some great tips for teachers looking to pursue blended learning.

One thing we observed in working with teachers is that it's extremely difficult to wrap your head around the difference between tech integration and blended learning. Truth be told, we were probably a bit fuzzy on it ourselves for quite some time!

In order to help explain the difference, we created a graphic based on Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura's SAMR Model.

Because we receive numerous requests from principals asking us to help teachers understand the difference between tech integration and blended learning, we also created the presentation below:

If you find the graphic or presentation useful, you are welcome to use it, just be sure to keep the Adams 12 logo in place, and leave a comment to share how you help clarify the difference for people!


  1. Anna,

    Thank you for sharing your resource! I appreciate the distinction. In your department, do you see a distinction between online learning and blended learning? Is that on a spectrum of some kind?

    Thanks, again, for sharing!

    --Drew McAllister

  2. Hi Drew,

    Great question! We definitely feel there's a distinction. Specifically, blended learning includes a combination of online learning and face-to-face instruction, and allows for student control over pace, place, path, and/or time of learning. Online learning might not include any face-to-face instruction or control over these elements.... Here's one of our favorite resources that talks about the models of blended learning:

    1. Hi Anna,
      What is the most critical part of the blended learning ? I consider that might be the key answer to many other questions. When we know how to use it than we can be successful.

  3. In the example for blended learning, it appears that blended learning simply involves providing students with choices. I feel like this is a little more simplistic than what I was picturing.

  4. There are several different models of blended learning (see link in my comment above to Drew), the animation showcases just one; but yes, providing students with choices is integral to blended learning. It is not the only component, but it is a big part of what personalized learning is all about...

  5. Blended Learning is a high interest model to implement differentiated learning and instruction and also in identifying progress regularly over time, in particlular in Pre-K.

  6. I like that teachers provide basic instruction and the students can develop their ideas and learn at their own pace

  7. It's starting to become much clearer. I see I've done tech integration but I'm not really giving my students the choice to pace their own learning and ideas in the programs I've used.

  8. My take on Blended Learning

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  10. This is a very nice post and thanks for sharing your presentation for others to help them. Teachers must read this article.

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  12. Love how you related the SAMR image to Blended learning - there IS a big difference between integration and blended learning.


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