Furthermore, as we have seen from the research, diversity of peer modelling is required in order to engage the students - this means the selection, and often self-selection, and observation of many students over time. So, we have some serious practical challenges to creating a visual art classroom that is optimized for effective peer modelling.
However, technology has now progressed to the point where truly ‘blended classrooms’ are possible. Simply put, blended learning is a style of learning in which students learn via electronic and online media as well as traditional face-to-face teaching. Researchers have found that student engagement is significantly enhanced by “organic integration ...of online approaches and technologies” (Vaughan, 2014).
Naturally, blending with video is particularly powerful in the visual art classroom (and this will be explored further in the ‘Implementation’ section of this paper).
Some research has been done specifically on the effectiveness of blended classrooms in learning aspects of art. Abrahmov and Ronen, for example, wanted to find out how they could create a blended photography classroom (part of a Bachelor of Design degree), so that students could spend sufficient time outside the regular classroom learning how to ‘read’ photographs (visual literacy in terms of the theory of art, and looking at the works of great photographers) and looking at the work of their peers, leaving more time in the regular classroom for the more practical aspects of photography (traditional black and white photography course in a studio and darkroom). For the online element of this blended classroom, students submitted work that could be viewed online openly by any student, “allowing students to learn from peer examples” (Abrahmov, 2008, p.6). To complement these online photographs, “a group discussion board was available for continuous peer–peer and teacher–students communication” (Abrahmov, 2008, p.6). The authors found that the online peer photography assignments provided “useful scaffolding to the students” (Abrahmov, 2008, p.13); they found “60% of students examined their peers' work, before submitting their own, and 50% recorded that they had changed their own work”, after they had seen their the work of their peers.
There are also relevant findings in the more radical type of blended model, the ‘flipped classroom’, where students do contextual and preliminary research and receive concept instruction outside the regular classroom, typically as ‘homework’. For example, in a study of multimedia university students, Enfield found that by creating instructional videos precious teacher time was not spent in repetitive instruction, as students could replay the videos, and students could move through the material at their own pace. Engagement was helped by connecting the videos with quizzes.
Enfield also found that “most students (81.1%) stated that they were more likely to watch the videos because there were quizzes” (Enfield, 2013 p.19)
Similar findings were made in “The flipped classroom: now or never?” (Hawks, 2014). The author provides a good overview of the benefits of a flipped classroom, with its possibilities for videos to be watched asynchronously, outside the traditional class setting, leaving more time and space for synchronous and practical work within the regular classroom. The author presents evidence from nursing education, in which examination scores were higher in the flipped classroom courses than the traditional courses. Recommendations for flipped classrooms are made: use the online work to supplement and reinforce the direct classroom work, rather than replace it; use the regular classroom for demonstration, discussion, group work, and individual assistance. In summary, the author posits that a flipped classroom format supports creativity and encourages students to take more responsibility for their own learning, whilst allowing for teachers to have more time to give personal attention.
Learning from peer modelling via online resources helps reserve the class-studio for making, and one-to-one teacher-student interaction. In the flipped classroom type of blend, this means more viewing of online material outside regular class-time; but the blended approach can also mean allowing students to research independently within the regular class-time as required. For peer modelling of good practice and documentation of research projects, online video is perhaps the most useful, reliable, and universally accessible technology at this time.
Abrahmov, S. L., & Ronen, M. (2008). Double blending: online theory with on-campus practice in photography instruction. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 45(1), 3–14.
Aldred, M [Mathew Aldred] (2019a, November 2019 ) AJ on the making of Excavations #1
Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/1mtoYbR6_Bg
Aldred, M [Mathew Aldred] (2019b, December 2019) Landon’s Art Project
Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/hfRQHht73mc
Aldred, M [Mathew Aldred] (2019c, October 2019) Peer Modelling (Transforming Pedagogy for Emerging Technologies Project)
Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/-NspjqshESs
Aldred, M [Mathew Aldred] (2019d, July 2019) Voices we need to hear
Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/vTwaFVexodw
Aldred, M Mathew Aldred] (2019e, June 2019) Making a Blended Visual Art Classroom with YouTube
Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFgiCY0Rg4Q
Aldred, M [Mathew Aldred] (2020a, February 2020 ) Jackie’s “Dreams & Nightmares”
Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/Tc6Q0v4RETI
Enfield, J. (2013). Looking at the impact of the flipped classroom model of instruction on undergraduate multimedia students at CSUN. TechTrends, 57(6), 14-27.
Hawks, S. J. (2014). The flipped classroom: now or never?. AANA journal, 82(4).
Vaughan (2014) Student Engagement and Blended Learning: Making the Assessment Connection Educ. Sci. 2014, 4, 247–264;