Blended Learning by john.kuglin


									Disruptive Innovation Drives Personalization in K-12:
Instructional Technologists Embrace Blended Learning

Top Technology                      The word “disruption” may have some negative connotations when paired with the subject of K-12
Innovations in                      education. But the term “disruptive innovation” may be one that educational leaders and instructional
K-12 Education                      technologists should embrace as they look to improve learning outcomes.
1. Tablets in the classroom
                                    In their book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns,
2. More mobile devices
                                    Clayton Christensen, Michael Horn and Curtis Johnson present a compelling vision of changes
3. Tech-based monitoring of
   student progress                 underway in K-12 as new technologies are adopted and learning is increasingly personalized. One
4. Cloud computing                  area in which the concept is now being applied in schools is blended learning, which combines the
5. Digital gaming goes academic     benefits of guided online learning with social and personal attention in a classroom setting.
6. Social networking for learning   So what is disruptive innovation? The authors describe it as an innovation that transforms an existing
7. Adaptive learning                sector—bringing convenience, simplicity, accessibility and affordability to a product or service that
                                    previously was complex, inaccessible and expensive.
8. Electronic, interactive
                                    The authors contend the most significant candidate for disruptive innovation in K-12 education is
9. Online summer school
                                    online learning. While early iterations of the approach have proven clunky, online learning is rapidly
   (or extended education)
                                    evolving and delivering increasing value to schools, teachers and students. This is particularly true
10. Simulation environments
                                    among students seeking credit or dropout recovery options. But other applications—reaching
                                    mainstream students—are beginning to proliferate.

                                    From Personal Computers to Personalized Learning
                                    Just as the personal computer “disrupted” a computer industry that revolved around mainframes
                                    and minicomputers that were tended to by specialists, online learning represents an opportunity to
                                    give the learner new levels of personalization and independence, the authors argue. In fact, they
                                    project that 50 percent of all high school courses will be delivered online by 2019.

                                    In the past, computers have been “crammed into conventional classrooms” and schools have not
                                    been able to take advantage of them. As the authors note, there are series of “interdependencies”—
                                    such as the organization of the school day, the architecture of buildings and government mandates—
                                    that have thwarted efforts to truly personalize learning.

                                    The challenge is overcoming what they see as the “standardized batch model” of testing and
                                    educational delivery, designed to serve the needs of the institution but not necessarily the learner.
                                    Instead, schools need to provide “student-centric” systems.

                                    “Through online learning, students can proceed down different paths, thus creating a more constant,
                                    mastery-based environment based on competency models,” says co-author Michael Horn. “This is
                                    an exciting transformation that’s certain to lead to more upheaval of traditional systems in the next
                                    10 years.”

                                    It may be too much upheaval for some. Chester Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute
                                    in Washington, believes the authors have underestimated the political and institutional inertia that
                                    online learning will face. He expects virtual schools, in particular, to experience “resistance and
                                    pushback” from many in the educational establishment as these efforts gain further momentum.

                                                                                                       Sponsored by Lenovo and Intel
Disruptive Innovation Drives Personalization in K-12:
Instructional Technologists Embrace Blended Learning

“Through online learning,          Confronting Budget Constraints with Blended Learning
students can proceed down          Whatever the challenges of virtual schools, it’s clear that online learning is growing. In 2009, more
different paths, thus creating a
                                   than 3 million students took an online learning course—up from a mere 45,000 in 2000, according
more constant, mastery-based
                                   to the U.S. Department of Education.
environment based on competency
models. This is an exciting        Most of the growth is occurring in the realm of blended learning—where students rely on online
transformation that’s certain
                                   technology to attain greater personalization in adult-supervised environments. Initially, these efforts
to lead to more upheaval of
                                   were focused on credit recovery labs and dropout-recovery schools. But now a growing number of
traditional systems in the next
10 years.”                         schools are introducing blending learning to their mainstream students.

–Michael Horn                      Considering today’s funding constraints on schools (what Department of Education Secretary Arne
                                   Duncan calls “the New Normal”), blended learning is proving an attractive alternative for schools
                                   that must do more with less. Indeed, it promises to deliver better results—through personalization—
                                   at lower cost than conventional classroom education.

                                   In a survey of 44 blended learning programs, the Innosight Institute found that such approaches
                                   made it possible for students to move at their own pace and achieve mastery in their subjects, while
                                   enabling teachers to play the role of guide and advisor—focusing on helping students overcome
                                   key hurdles in their own learning paths.

                                   The report suggests that students can gain the best of both worlds: individualized learning and
                                   school-based education.

                                   According to the researchers, “These opportunities to innovate can occur even as providers take
                                   advantage of the things the leading brick-and-mortar schools do well, such as creating a strong,
                                   supportive culture that promotes rigor and high expectations for all students, as well as providing
                                   healthy supportive relationships and mentorship.”

                                   Analysis by the Department of Education Center for Technology and Learning shows similar outcomes:
                                   blended instruction produces greater student achievement than purely face-to-face or online-only
                                   programs. The agency notes that blended conditions often provide additional learning time and
                                   instructional elements not received by students in other conditions.

                                   Disruptive innovation may prove to be the most important trend in K-12 education today. The primary
                                   example—online learning and, more specifically, blended learning—offer a path to greater
                                   personalization for the student despite severe constraints on educational budgets.

                                   Christensen, Clayton, Michael Horn and Curtis Johnson (2008). Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the
                                   Way the World Learns, McGraw Hill.
                                   “Disruptive Innovations in K-12 Education: Serious Games Across the Board,” blog post March 30, 2011, retrieved December
                                   2011 from
                                   Horn, Michael, and Heather Staker (2011). “The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning,” Innosight Institute, January.
                                   McCrea, Bridget (2010). “Disruptive Innovation in the Classroom,” T-H-E Journal, January. Retrieved November 2011 from
                                   Trotter, Andrew (2008). “Scholars Discuss ‘Disruptive Innovation’ in K-12 Education,” Education Week, October.
                                   “U.S. Department of Education Study Finds that Good Teaching can be Enhanced with New Technology.” (2009). Retrieved
                                   December 2011 from

                                                                                                                      Sponsored by Lenovo and Intel

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