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Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Churn: Blended learning report

Colorado needs to lay the ground work for innovative "blended learning," combining the best of online and in-person education, a new report says.

Blended learning: The Best of Both Worlds” (PDF) was released this morning by the Donnell-Kay Foundation (disclosure: the foundation is a funder of Education News Colorado). Some education policy experts look favorably upon blended learning because it allows highly individualized instruction without requiring financially unfeasible staffing ratios, yet provides students with vital face-to-face time with a flesh and blood teacher.

“In order for our kids to be competitive and successful in our global economy,” the report says, “we need to move from a school system that is exclusively “brick and mortar” bound and based on seat time, building schedules, and age-based groupings to one that blends face to face with digital learning and is more student- centered, flexible, and embraces the skills, creativity, and technologies that will best prepare our kids for success in the global economy.”

Among the reports recommendations:

■ The state should examine whether there should be different accountability requirements for online schools than traditional schools;
■ Policymakers should examine whether per-pupil revenue can be split so that some money goes to a student’s brick and mortar school and some to online providers from whom students are taking classes;
■ Experts need to figure out a way to “co-own” student achievement results of students in blended learning;
■ Teacher training needs to be revamped to prepare young teachers to work in an online or blended environment.

Source: Education News Colorado