Category: Education

By Mike Klein Go bold or go safe?  Those are two very different directions.  Soon we will see which direction a state digital learning task force chooses when its report is released next month. The task force created last year by Governor Nathan Deal was told in specific executive order language that technology and digital learning are the future. What does that mean? Far-reaching, shoot-the-moon strategies that shove aside traditional obstacles could become transformational – that is, they would forever change the landscape. Less aggressive but politically safe thinking would become largely transitional – that is, tweaks around the edges. Georgia has recent experience with both transformational and transitional. Three years ago the state empaneled a special council to recommend… View Article

Behind the Scenes in the Making of a MOOC

By Michael Horn The emerging world of K–12 blended learning remains a young field full of promise for personalizing learning and boosting outcomes for all students. More and more bright spots are emerging every day. But there are also challenges. With the buzz surrounding 1:1 device programs and new classroom apps, there are risks that people might just take education technologies and layer it over the existing monolithic classroom processes and not fundamentally change the way students learn. The hype around and cramming of technology remains a serious risk to the field. To help educators make the shift to blended learning that truly moves the needle for students, we’ve been working for the past few months with Silicon Schools Fund View Article

The Path to Personalized Learning is Primarily Digital

Reprinted from the September 18 Atlanta Journal-Constitution By Bob Swiggum Digital education is the use of technology to deliver instruction.  Technology allows teachers to shift away from requiring all students to learn at the same pace and with the same style.  Every one of us has been in a classroom, frustrated by the fact that some of our classmates seem to understand a topic with ease as we struggle with the concept.  Many of us also have had the experience of easily understanding a concept while some classmates lagged behind. For me, it was math.  The abstract nature of ninth-grade algebra was mystifying to me, but along came 10th grade geometry.  I outplaced my classmates. Teachers simply don’t have the… View Article
Georgia families, educators and policy makers are of many views about the impact of Common Core State Standards and whether Georgia should continue to participate. This discussion is likely to become a topic for possible legislation during the 2014 General Assembly. Therefore, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has published a data-driven Common Core analysis to bring clarity to a controversial subject without making a policy recommendation. “We understand this is an extremely hot topic,” said Foundation President Kelly McCutchen.  “We believe it is important in every policy discussion to dig down into the real background and data so that we can provide the information people need to make their own decisions.” Analysis sections include control of what is taught in… View Article
By Michael Horn One of the insights in The Innovator’s Prescription, a book about solving the problems afflicting the nation’s health-care system by Clayton Christensen, Dr. Jason Hwang, and Dr. Jerome Grossman, is that we won’t get more affordable health care by asking high-salary individuals to take lower salaries. Instead, the way to make health care affordable is to push care and treatment out of the hospital to less expensive professionals in lower-cost venues whenever possible. An example of what this means in health care is to have nurse practitioners in retail health clinics treat patients that have precisely diagnosable diseases with rules-based treatments instead of having pricey doctors in expensive hospitals treat them. In other words, disruptive… View Article

Teaching the Teachers How to Teach with Technology

By Mike Klein Georgia school doors re-opened this month which means the serious business of Friday night football looms near.  On the academic side, the battle to achieve something greater than statewide mediocrity punctuated by occasional points of light resumes anew.  But there also is another mission underway, one that could potentially remake the teaching profession. “We cannot send our student teachers into classrooms, expect them to blend, expect them to know what to do without having (technology) preparation,” says Jo Williamson, associate professor of instructional technology at Kennesaw State University.  “We cannot send graduates to (public) schools that are our clients and expect them to retrain them.” Last year Governor Nathan Deal appointed a Digital Learning Task Force to… View Article

Organize The Team, And Then Train The Teachers

By Michael Horn My Clayton Christensen Institute colleague Heather Staker’s recent blog, “Secret to organizing teachers for blended learning,” makes a powerful point. No amount of teacher training by itself will help teachers use technology to personalize learning to its fullest. Instead, organizing the right team to lead a technology implementation is the necessary first step. In her piece, Heather outlines how different team structures are designed to solve specific types of problems and bring about different levels of change. The kind of problem a school is solving dictates what type of team structure it needs to use to be successful. Only certain types of teams are able to create certain blended-learning models, for example. This is an important insight,… View Article
By Eric Wearne Latin Academy Charter School opened its doors for the first time in 2012 with 90 sixth graders, in the Anderson Park neighborhood of southwest Atlanta.  Work on the school started formally in 2010, and Latin’s board, administration, teachers, and families have been waiting to see how a school that had existed only on paper for so long would perform in the real world.  Now, the Georgia Department of Education has released school-level CRCT scores.  Our scores are strong: In reading, 97.8 percent of Latin Academy’s students met or exceeded standards this year, placing the Academy 6th out of 23 APS schools. In math, 79.1 percent of Academy students met or exceeded standards, placing them 8th out of… View Article

Georgia Tech and Udacity Cross the Rubicon

By Michael Horn and Gunnar Counselman “There are a few moments in my life I will never forget. Like the moment I proposed to my wife, Petra. … Today is one of those moments.” So wrote Udacity founder and CEO Sebastian Thrun upon announcing a new $6,600 master’s in computer science degree in partnership with Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech’s dean of computing Zvi Galil expressed similar glee when he said in an interview, “You know there is a revolution going on, right?” Hyperbole about disruptive innovation in higher education is rampant. Starting as a trickle of conversation a decade back and turning into a torrent today, innovation now dominates the ecosystem’s collective mindshare. Any time something new emerges,… View Article

The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.

Senator Herman E. Talmadge more quotes