OK–NOW it's time for states to get aboard the Blended-ed bus

Last spring I felt the time had long since passed when smart administrators and superintendents of education should be seeing the logic of bringing more virtual learning into the classrooms. The un-beatable combination of lower cost and higher quality were in my mind undeniable, and since my local admins weren’t listening, I wrote the superintendent of my state, hoping he would get respond to my plea.

He never wrote back.

But now two southern governors, a prominent republican and a democrat, are preaching the digital solution, and I feel that maybe a “tipping point” for widespread blended learning might be happening. According to Malcolm Gladwell, any successful trend needs the assistance of salesmen and connectors, and I think Governors Bush and Wise could just be them. Their arguments are pretty much what I’ve been pushing, vis:

  • digital learning ensures high quality, uniformly delivered content (un-certain about teacher? No problem now)
  • personalized education, in which each child works at just his/her level of proximate development–the equivalent of an Individualized Educational Program for all
  • Common Core Standards can be confidently addressed through a common, quality curriculum; assessments can be crowd-sourced and made increasingly accurate
  • districts and states sharing and developing digital resources means lower costs for all

So, OK. Now that these two conventional politicians are preaching its value, and now that we are two years into an increasingly dire economy, will the argument for blended learning in public schools be further ignored?

I’m betting not. Let this long-overdue “tip” begin!

2 responses to “OK–NOW it's time for states to get aboard the Blended-ed bus”

  1. Great post! Sorry you did not hear back from our state leadership, but I am listening! What are your thoughts about blended professional development? I'm thinking beyond taking online classes.

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  2. Great question, Meg! Just this month my district decided to have teachers qualify for their annual “blood borne pathogens” education via an online learning module–a slideshow followed by a quiz. While it was primitive and not the most engaging content, and while it offered zero interaction among learners, it was a small example of PD via blended means. Or rather, since “blended” = online + F2F, it was a small step toward blended PD. But going after teachers with blended PD makes perfect sense–not only is it cost-effective, but it de-mystifies the online part, and makes Boomer and Gen. X teachers see that there is nothing to fear from online content delivery systems. Districts could set it up thus: every teacher gets two-three weeks to complete an online component and post a comment on some colleague's post. Then the large session F2F could break teachers into heterogenous groups that would further discuss the material, and then culminate in a large-group Q&A with decision-makers facilitating. Once the teachers/staff were used to it, the transition to “blended classrooms” would be so much easier.

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