Tom Vander Ark presented innovative ideas for blended learning Friday for 700 schools nationwide during the webinar “The Promise and Potential of Personal Digital Learning,” which was hosted by Sevenstar Academy.

Vander Ark kicks off the webinar by identifying one of the major problems in the U.S. education system: two-thirds of students drop out of high school. Personal digital learning, he says, can change this.

Personal digital learning tools increase customization, motivation and equalization. “I’m confident we’ll see more students learn more per hour” with customized instruction & blended learning, says Vander Ark.

What’s more, math games such as Mangahigh can increase motivation can extend the day and year for students. Lastly, digital learning will close the digital divide and achievement gap to provide a more equal learning environment for all students.

Vander Ark mentions several great case studies that showcase blended learning today including School of One and Carpe Diem. He articulates that these virtual schools take on several models of blended learning, which include:

  • Face-to-face
  • Rotation
  • Flex
  • Online lab
  • Self blend, and
  • Online driver. In addition to this, he says that future blends will include personalized playlists for learning and expeditionary learning projects.

Among the schools on the webinar, 58 percent said that they are likely to significantly invest in blended learning programs within the next year. The market for online and blended learning is growing at an exciting 50 percent a year. Vander Ark projects that this will number will grow significantly more in the next several years.

Vander Ark recommends taking AP and special needs courses online first when implementing a new blended program. By blending the best of online and in-person learning, teachers can then provide individualized instruction to each student. “We can actually make school more social, not less social, by moving it online,” says Vander Ark.

View the webinar below:

The Promise and Potential of Personal Digital Learning [Webinar] from Sevenstar on Vimeo.

View more about Vander Ark’s newest book Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World at gettingsmart.com/book. For more about Sevenstar, visit sevenstaracademy.org.

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