Welcome to Leading Blended Learning

"The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means to an education." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reformation or Revolution

After reading Tribes and putting the drive and inspiration that Godin suggests to work, I was reminded of the work of Sir Ken Robinson.  He came to speak at our district leadership seminar about three years ago and I was struck by his focused talk on how schools are killing creativity.  At the time, it seemed that the district would head in a new direction and that perhaps this work was going to push us there.  But, budget woes took hold of our district, as I am sure it has many others, and constrained our thinking to staying alive.  I see the budget constraints as a time and opportunity to think differently about how we deliver basic services to students, when we deliver them, and why.  Instead of working to minimize the losses, lets think differently about what the purpose of schooling is and why we do it the way we do.  Let's monopolize on the structure, flexibility, and accountability that online learning offers students and districts.  Let's look differently as seat time vs. mastery learning and jump into it.

  We can start slowly, by filling the voids that have no services.  In Georgia, at least in our area, that void is really around meeting the needs of accelerated students who don't really know they aren't getting what they could.  We already do a job at meeting the needs of strugglers.  We even use online learning for summer school and credit recovery programs at the high school level.  But, we have not even begun to think well about how we can push students to accelerate their learning.  If we could develop a course of study for, say 6th grade Language Arts, that was aligned with the curriculum and had students do enough higher level thinking work within the modules in the course and students could finish it in 4 days a week, why not let them have the fifth day off. This provides a time for students who need extra time with the teacher to have it in class with smaller class sizes, but still funding at the same levels.  For those parents that don't want their child at home, we provide extension/extra-curricular/interdisciplinary work.  It is the time to do those activities all teachers want to do but feel like they shouldn't because of the looming state test.

You could change the way schools operate on both ends.