Chris Dragon, president of Pearson Digital Learning, and I spoke with a group of school administrators in Chandler Arizona yesterday. It was a tech savvy group; many have virtual schools, 1:1 laptop programs, credit recovery labs, and/or tablet pilots.
They were excited about the potential to narrow the digital divide and expand access to great content and talented teachers. They were impressed with the power of video to engage students. They appreciated the potential to expand collaboration for students and teachers.
A curriculum director noted the benefits of ‘surgical’ assessment that, using adaptive technology, could quickly pinpoint learning gaps. A principal added that he wanted to combine project-based learning and authentic demonstrations of learning to computer scored items.
We discussed the benefits of guiding students to the best digital learning option without restricting access (as suggested in the 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning). I added that every student in the US should have access to online AP, advanced STEM, and foreign languages.
A principal noted the tension around time and student load as blended strategies are discussed in her school. I pointed her to the Rise of Blended Learning from Innosight to read cases studies of Rotation and Flex models. I also noted the potential for blended learning environments to improve working conditions and career opportunities for teachers. (see Public Impact report Opportunity at the Top.)
We also discussed the use of value-added data in teacher evaluations. I suggested that blended environments will often utilize differentiated teams augmented by remote specialists—that will complicate attribution and will require judgment in the review process.
Several administrators called for new approaches to research and product reviews that help administrators figure out what works. (I’m working on this one! Email if you want to discuss this.)
Chris addressed the fear of implementation and concerns about lack of support by introducing MyTrainingConnection—an online professional development site for Pearson Digital products—and Community Connection for tech support.
For help planning and implementing your SuccessMaker or NovaNet blend, send me a note at [email protected].
Disclosure: Pearson is an investor in Learn Capital where Tom is a partner