Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2009: No. 6

Online learning has the power to transform education, as the creation of free online universities demonstrates.
Online learning has the power to transform education, as the creation of free online universities demonstrates.

Although technically it was published in 2008, Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, by Clayton Christensen, Curtis W. Johnson, and Michael Horn, made a huge impression in the past year, and its authors spoke at numerous education conferences in 2009. Their ideas proved quite prophetic later in the year, when a new online-learning movement that is sure to disrupt higher education began.

At the American Association of School Administrators’ annual conference in February, Christensen explained the premise of his thought-provoking book, which looks at why schools have struggled to improve through the lens of “disruptive innovation.”

If Christensen is right, half of all instruction will take place online within the next 10 years–and schools had better get into the online-learning market or risk losing their students to other providers.…Read More

ED: Blended learning helps boost achievement

A new analysis of existing online-learning research by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) reveals that students who took all or part of their class on line performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.

Most of the studies examined by researchers dealt with college-level courses, and ED officials cautioned against generalizing the report’s findings to the K-12 level. Still, the report could help educators as they seek to create effective learning environments for all students.

The detailed meta-analysis is part of a broader study of practices in online learning being conducted by SRI International for ED’s Policy and Program Studies Service. The goal of the study is to “provide policy makers, administrators, and educators with research-based guidance about how to implement online learning for K-12 education and teacher preparation,” says the report.…Read More