Where blended meets personalized learning—and gets results

D.C.’s blended learning approach grew out of a district-wide push designed to ratchet up student performance and provide a centralized way to track data from the success of some enterprising schools. That was Spring 2012.

Months of research, careful introspection, and brainstorming led to a reimagined curriculum and classroom structure, with blended learning as a central component. Administrators saw blended learning as a way to provide more personalized, self-directed learning that they could focus on the high-level cognitive skills that students need to succeed in college and beyond.

“We’re not a 1-to-1 district,” says Rose. “We started with academic goals and found the technology to help put those goals in place and to help teachers better reach their students.”

How it works
When done right, blended learning tailors education to each student’s needs by offering high-quality teaching with cutting-edge online learning programs. The district is using two programs, ST-Math and First in Math, for math instruction, and myON and Lexia Learning for English Language Arts and reading in most of its participating elementary schools.

“Blended learning frees up time for project-based learning, higher-order thinking teaching and learning, and Socratic discussions,” says Michael Horn, co-founder and executive director at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation. “Teacher time is now freed up to look at other aspects of teaching.”

Next page: Making personalized learning possible


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