Blended Learning Webinar Q&A

The Getting Smart team participated in an Education Week blended learning webinar today with Dreambox.  The chat was lively and we didn’t get to all the questions. We tried to answer a few live and we addressed a few more below. We probably missed a few so feel free to ask more in the comment section here.
Once the webinar is live we’ll post the link here as well.
Are there some statistics related to cheating in this learning infrastructure?
Not that I know of, but I don’t think it’s more prevalent than in a traditional environment.  Online learning providers use a variety of strategies to authenticate learning (e.g., verbal quiz along with computer-based).  The competency-based school I visited today asked for evidence of proficiency for each unit and they must be developed at school.
How do you see blended learning fitting with other models of project-based learning?
See, a PBL flex blend network.  My ideal blend would School of One (personalized skill building playlists) & Expeditionary Learning (authentic team-based community connected projects).
Any recommendations for good standard based grade books?
The two blended platforms we discussed, EdElements and Buzz, have a pretty good competency tracking and reporting system.  They both help teachers organize blended instruction based on real time results.
Powerschools is the most widely used gradebook. has an updated interface.
Has there been enough time and data collected for closing the educational gap between black and white students?
It’s pretty anecdotal at this point but blended networks like Rocketship help low income ELL students outperform most affluent districts.
Is there a resource we could turn to that aligns specific programs to RTI tiers and vets them for efficacy/validity of results other than What Works Clearinghouse and the National Center on RTI?
Can’t answer that one, but Silverback’s Milestone (featured yesterday) was built to manage RTI interventions-worth looking at.
Any BL schools in the Chicago area?
Short excerpt from two part Smart Cities post on Chicago:
The three KIPP schools in Chicago have converted to blended learning. KIPP plans six K-8 schools serving 5,000 students by the end of the decade.
Foundations College Prep, a new 6­–12 school opening 2013, combines a rotational blended model with a teacher residency program.  Intrinsic Schools is also a new 6-12 blended model combining adaptive learning and expert teaching. CEO Melissa Zaikos is a star with deep CPS experience as a Broad resident. Both Foundations and Intrinsic are NGLC grantees (see profiles).
Five Early College STEM schools opened in September in partnership with IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Motorola, and Verizon.  This month the Mayor announced an expansion of dual enrollment opportunities to 17 high schools.  Earlier this year each of the city colleges agreed to align course offerings with an important industry cluster.
VOISE Academy was funded by the Renaissance 2010 initiative and was one of four academies that replaced a failing west side high school.
Does anyone know of any Career and Technical School that is using Blended Learning model?
Metro in Columbus is a good STEM blend (see Smart Cities: Columbus). Corenerstone is a health-focus blend (see Smart Cities: Detroit).
Also see Next-Gen Learning Models Blend Tech & Experiences for list of PBL and experiential blends.
Are there specific blended learning practices that have been shown to be most effective to improve learning outcomes for low performing students?
Michigan’s Educational Achievement Authority schools looks like best practice: diagnosed need, great teachers, more time per day, targeted instruction, and mastery-based progression.
Can you briefly explain the process ed entrepreneurs have to go through to begin piloting their applications in school districts/ charter schools? 
No magic formula, just go ask.  We would like to see a formalized network of schools that participates in trials.  League of Innovative Schools has an interest in this topic and may be worth a try.
Blended Learning Resources from the Webinar


Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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