Julia Freeland Fisher
State lifts barriers to innovation, allowing districts and charters to personalize learning
Innovators stress that without effective change management, the best technology tools and the most elegant personalized learning models will come up short.
With excitement over new gadgets and possibilities, schools and edtech entrepreneurs alike often miss a key step: defining what the ideal student experience should look like absent technology.
Skeptics of eliminating failing grades must acknowledge that, in our current system, we move students forward grade by grade based largely on “seat time” rather than mastery of academic skills and content.
Startups are offering new forms of human and social capital to schools and students to make up for staffing disparities in teachers and guidance counselors.
Simply asking what works stops short of the real question at the heart of a truly personalized system: what works, for which students, in what circumstances?
Most families have not embraced full-time online virtual learning as an answer to their particular circumstances or values.
Our Blended Learning Universe school directory features more than 300 profiles of schools. We’re hoping that the directory can offer guidance to states and districts by illustrating what is happening on the ground inside actual schools.
If we believe that the school you attend should not determine the limits of the courses you can take, then states, rather than individual schools, must step in to ensure that all students can benefit from innovations in online learning to access coursework.
This week, President Obama announced that he would call for a $4 billion dollar commitment in his 2017 budget to bring computer science education to K-12 schools nationwide.
Many efforts to reinvent learning in a competency-based manner are thwarted by time-based metrics in school districts, but here are some areas where innovations may be able to take root
The Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) in New Hampshire allows full-time and part-time middle and high school students to choose among five pathways to learn and demonstrate mastery of the New Hampshire state competencies.
The fierce debate over the privacy of student data often risks preventing students from benefiting from the enormous breakthroughs that technology makes possible in 21st century schools.
How difficult will it be to square current accountability structures with emerging personalized learning models.?
Last week the U.S. Department of Education made a groundbreaking decision to allow four school systems in New Hampshire to pilot a new accountability regime based on a mix of local and state assessments.
A report from the Carnegie Foundation examines the history of the century-old Carnegie Unit and its impact on education reform in K–12 and higher education.
Don’t assume that by adding blended learning, we must automatically be detracting from something else.
Course Access policies may be paving the way to wholly new learning experiences for students.
There seems to be growing enthusiasm for adopting competency-based approaches, but there are some philosophical and practical areas that administrators are still grappling with.
Some of the pedagogical models we see emerging in computer science may be a harbinger of not just what we need to teach in the 21st century, but how we may come to teach it.
The potential for formative assessment to continuously expand and improve will be stunted so long as we perpetuate summative assessment regimes.
What personalized learning looks like now, what it could be, and how technology can help.
Simply having a technology plan may not be a meaningful proxy for a clear blended learning strategy or support system.
The XPrize is funding its first edtech competition to handsomely reward the team that develops the best software to help children in developing countries teach themselves basic literacy and math.
Course access is a powerful tool to make particular courses available to students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to take them.
The real innovation behind Summit Public Schools’ work is that it appears its teachers and leaders are beginning to identify, in this new context, what role to play when and for which students.
The term “competency-based” often describes a wide range of classroom practices, but schools that call themselves competency-based may not subscribe to all such practices.
We are witnessing a particularly exciting breed of edtech that focuses on relationships and networks as much as academic content and assessment.
A 1-to-1 laptop or iPad roll out is not a new instructional model. Whether a student can or cannot carry a machine around all day tells us little to nothing about a school’s actual pedagogy, about the quality of interactions between students and teachers, or about the rigor of the software programs delivered through those devices.
An alternative school in Boston offers flexibility in pacing, help when students need it, and the chance to continuously reengage on material even if you didn’t master it the first time around–in all, the flexibility, support, and hope that human beings, and particularly teenagers, crave.
A blended-learning high school experiments with new roles for teachers.
Competency-based education offers a philosophy of how students ought to progress through material; it frees students from the lock step, age-based progressions in traditional schooling.
New Hampshire was the first state to abolish the Carnegie Unit, which made way for the first statewide experiment in competency-based education at the high school level.
As online learning marches upmarket, we can’t ignore the basic unmet infrastructure needs inside the vast majority of America’s school buildings.
The ambitious program could fund the development of truly disruptive models for educating students in a manner that is tightly connected to workforce opportunities.
Montgomery County, Md. will overhaul its struggling alternative school program using personalized, competency-based, and online components.
Because half of 3 and 4 year olds are not enrolled in pre-K today, we have an opportunity to foster disruptive innovations that could change the way we think about childcare, parenting, and education.
How can the government best incentivize and speed up the creation of “high impact” learning technologies?
Are libraries repositioning themselves as learning centers that eventually might serve as schools of the future?
In addition to altering instruction, technology stands to reshape how we guide and mentor students, and how we might expand their social and professional networks.
Competency-based education and career and technical education can go hand-in-hand to ensure that students are mastering the skills necessary to workforce readiness.
The edtech market consists of numerous niche solutions that fail to provide educators with integrated solutions.
Transforming from a time-based to a competency-based system upends the traditional culture, structure, and schedule in schools and districts. Bell schedules, grading policies, academic department structures, fixed sense of course scope and sequence, and familiarity with whole-group instruction may all be exerting the tug of status quo bias.