Why Blended Learning Can’t Stand Still

Author(s): Sean Kennedy and Don Soifer
Posted in: Education

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A Commitment to Constant Innovation Is Needed to Realize the Potential of Individualized Learning

Executive Summary

Education technology or “EdTech” is a rapidly growing industry in the United States as schools seek to integrate modern technology into the classroom. As technology companies pursue the opportunities in the $600 billion K-12 education sector, schools feel pressure to bring 21st century tools into the 19th century schoolhouse. Predictably, the massive national investment in classroom technology has not resulted in any appreciable gains in student achievement. Instead, by simply transferring the same instructional approaches to an expensive new medium, these well-meaning efforts severely inhibit educational potential.

Meanwhile, the emergence of innovative, new blended learning instructional models are demonstrating transformative potential in various settings around the country. Blended learning integrates technology into its strategy as a tool to individualize student learning based on data and instructional interventions. Blended learning’s practitioners seek to identify student needs through online work assessments and direct interventions toward skills gaps to accelerate the pace of student learning.

Today, several schools at the forefront of blended learning have taken the their instructional models a step further, by committing to constant innovation, toward digital differentiated learning. Under this new approach to blended learning, each and every student’s learning is individualized and adaptive. Student data is captured by technology tools and traditional teacher inputs to monitor student progress toward subject mastery. Online content engages students at their level of comprehension to guide their progress. In turn these systems produce high-quality, transparent, actionable data that empowers teachers to intervene in real-time. The resulting efficiencies accelerate student learning by allowing students to gain subject depth and breadth on their path toward mastery.

Significant challenges remain as data analytics tools continue to improve. This report highlights four exemplary schools that aspire to realize that goal:

• Oakland (CA) Unified School District’s Blended Learning Pilot;
• Rocketship Education;
• Summit Public Schools; and
• Carpe Diem Schools.

Each has developed and is executing evidenced-based instructional models that drive student achievement. They share a commitment to constant innovation as they work toward student-centered learning solutions.

Click here to download the full report as PDF.