Tag: Blended Learning

Time to Restructure Testing?

By Kelly McCutchen  Across Georgia, tension is in the air as 1.6 million students endure the annual ritual of end-of-year testing. Nervous students, parents and teachers feel the pressure: The efforts of an entire year hinge upon the performance at this one point in time.   Without a doubt, testing has a vital and necessary role in education. Why else would private schools test their students even though it is not mandated? When used appropriately, testing analyzes strengths and weaknesses, gaps in knowledge and progress toward the ultimate goal of graduation and success. In a perfect world, the results inform educators who then use that information to improve how they teach.   The current testing regime, however, isn’t living up to its… View Article
By Eric Wearne Much research has been done over the past few years on the idea of “blended” or “hybrid” learning.  Students in these models attend class part of the time, and learn online part of the time.  One school in Georgia is taking some of these ideas and trying to create a program that implements a hybrid system in a traditional public school setting. South Forsyth High School is in the planning stages of such a program, and recently held an event that drew over 100 parents and students.  Currently, the school is surveying its juniors to gauge interest and seeking applications from students who would like to participate next school year. A SFHS hybrid student’s week would… View Article
(Editor’s Note:  Michael Horn will speak to the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast on Thursday, June 6.  Click here to learn more and register.) By Clayton Christensen, Heather Staker and Michael Horn The Clayton Christensen Institute, formerly Innosight Institute, has published three papers describing the rise of K−12 blended learning—that is, formal education programs that combine online learning and brick-and-mortar schools. This fourth paper is the first to analyze blended learning through the lens of disruptive innovation theory to help people anticipate and plan for the likely effects of blended learning on the classrooms of today and schools of tomorrow. The paper includes the following sections: Introduction to sustaining and disruptive innovation There are two basic types of innovation—sustaining and disruptive—that follow… View Article
By Mike Klein Youngsters are curious creatures.  They will engage in new styles of learning with excitement.  Technology enabled classrooms to create a seismic shift in the teacher-pupil relationship.  Smart boards replace dumb black boards.  Tablets replace books.  Students stacked in rows learning the same lesson has begun to shift toward pupils on personalized learning tracks with teacher participation rather than teacher domination.  Therein is the big challenge; how do you get the adults on board? “At the teacher level, it is a huge paradigm shift,” says Matchbook Learning founder and CEO Sajan George, who developed his model after spending years designing corporate – style turnarounds of big city schools that have the worst academic performance records.  George discussed the… View Article
By Michael Horn The potential of a competency-based (or mastery-based) education system powered by digital learning to customize for each individual student’s needs and bolster learning excites many. A question some ask though is: What about the unmotivated students? Won’t they be left behind? Furthermore, in light of the recent publicity around the research on the importance of grit — defined as “sticking with things over the very long term until you master them” — to life success, some further suggest that although competency-based learning and blended learning are nice, unless we solve the problem of instilling grit or perseverance in all students, isn’t it true that those next-generation learning things won’t matter? These questioners raise good questions. As we… View Article

Is Technology Ready for Blended Learning?

By Michael Horn “The technology is five years behind where it needs to be.” It was the complaint of yet another school trying to build a blended-learning model that utilizes multiple providers. “The software content providers are proprietary. It’s impossible to get data out of them. And when we do, the data doesn’t connect easily to the standards and the data from other providers.” So went the grumbling from another blended-learning school. What strikes me as most noteworthy about these comments, however, is just how un-noteworthy this state of the industry is in any industry. At the outset of any industry, the technology tends to be immature and not yet good enough for the majority of users. In order to… View Article
The last time we spoke this summer Principal Christopher Ray was just weeks away from opening his first high school.  The former elementary principal still needed pupils, teachers and curriculum.  But launch it did this fall as Gwinnett Online Campus opened a blended learning high school that combines virtual courses with personal and group time with instructors. “The first year has been about getting people to understand what we’re all about, what are the requirements,” Ray said.  “I thought my previous job was hard.  This job is mentally exhausting.  You’re constantly thinking, ‘What can we do?’  The technology constantly evolves.”  Ray has nearly two decades in the Gwinnett County Public Schools, the last seven as an elementary principal. Gwinnett is… View Article

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