It’s National School Choice Week and the events and support advocating for the right of all students to be able to choose the school that works best for them continues. To help shine the spotlight on the need for options for all students, four digital learning luminaries came together to discuss how digital learning plays a role- in what better way than through a Google Hangout.

The insightful discussion happened naturally between Susan Patrick, President and CEO of iNACOL, John Bailey, Executive Director of Digital Learning Now! and Tom Vander Ark,CEO of Getting Smart and moderated by Michael Horn, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Clayton Christensen Institute.

Starting with an overview of the emergence of digital learning, Susan Patrick  detailed how online learning  is truly personalizing and giving a student a voice on exactly “how” they move through their education path in ways that were hard to imagine, even just a few years ago.

As we see by way of the interent, many aspects of life are being unbundled and John Bailey relates the many examples of how this unbundling is happening in education and is building momentum. The opportunities that are available for great schools and teachers to share and connect by tapping into the power of course choice for students is seeing huge support and adoption across the country.

Thinking about digital learning doesn’t mean just more access to the same old courses but allows for true personalized learning. Tom Vander Ark explains the “personalization hunch” which will significantly boost achievement and completion. The digital layer of opportunity to personalize learning opens up choice not only from the school or the course level, but on the student level, as well.

It’s so exciting to see how the power of the technology can customize “how” individual students learn and expand learning way beyond the “classroom.”

After setting a great stage, Michael Horn nimbly fielded questions from the passionate and well informed  live audience, touching on all aspects from teacher preparation to developing policy around certification for virtual teachers.  Each of these leaders shared the resources they find most helpful for creating and supporting the change we need to see for all students today.

In timely fashion, because the President’s State of the Union would take place just a few hours following the original hangout, each offered what they hoped to hear from his speech in terms of education policy and how it links to student choice.

Overall, Digital Learning- Giving Students Choice Google Hangout On Air was a smashing success. In a time when so much is happening and it is increasingly difficult to stay informed on all the development in the realm of digital learning, it’s really such a fortunate opportunity to listen in while four experts in this field engage, define and analyze what is happening in the space right now.

Digital Learning Now! is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner. Tom is on the board of iNACOL. 

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