Tag Archives: online learning

Blended Learning: Getting it Right

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

An article on Blended Learning from the Smithsonian Magazine discusses the gains from blended learning, including significant improvement in math competence, for a school in Washington, D.C.

“At Stanton, students in grades 3-5 spend 45 minutes a day on an iPad or a Dell laptop working on ST Math, an online math program that challenges each student based on his or her skill level. For example, one student could tackle multiplication tables, while someone in the next row completes double-digit addition problems. Some do all their work by typing and touch-screening their way through problems and solutions, while others swivel between scouring the screen and scribbling on scrap paper. Teachers rotate through the room, helping students when they stumble on a given problem.”

In his recent blog, Andrew Miller writes “Blended learning is not simply technology integration! At the same time, there are many implementation methods for blended learning…It is important that we venture down the path of blended learning, that we’re actually doing blended learning, that we’re clear in our model, and that we share common language.”


Image credit: 24x7learning.com

Definition of Blended Learning

The definition of true blended learning is a little more subtle than indicated in the image above. The Christensen Institute has provided a definition of blended learning as a program “in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace” together with supervised instruction in a physical location away from home.

Traditional instruction enhanced with technology may be an improvement, but it is not blended learning. Blended learning adds the flexibility of online instruction with one or more aspects controlled by the student. Blended learning methods promote competency-based, individualized learning, and thus naturally require the incorporation of a wider range of curricular resources, from online sources. In order to remain within budgetary constraints, access to free open educational resources (OER) is highly desirable.

Why Curriki supports Blended Learning

Curriki supports blended learning approaches because we have extensive experience with the growing wealth of OER curricular content, that is supportive of blended learning methodologies. This content is available to be incorporated into blended learning models across a range of subjects and at various K-12 grade levels. Anyone can access and utilize over 50,000 instructional resources available on Curriki at no cost. We encourage you to use these free resources to support your blended learning lesson plans, and also to contribute resources for others in the blended learning community to utilize.

Digital Learning and Achievement

By Kim Jones, Curriki CEO

Tom Vander Ark wrote a blog earlier this month entitled “How Digital Learning is Boosting Achievement”. He pointed out that digital learning is proven technology, with extensive usage in business and in the military in addition to a rapidly increasing set of applications in K-12 education.

There are many success stories. The author makes four key points, and provides many examples to support these points; we just repeat a few of those examples here:

  • Blended schools can and do achieve high performance
    • Example: Proficiency in reading, math, science up from 68% to 88% in Mooresville, NC with laptops for all.
  • Hundreds of studies of online and blended learning are showing good results
  • Technology-enabled math products are demonstrating positive results
    • Example: Reasoning Mind claims struggling 2nd and 3rd graders could catch up to grade level in math in one year.
  • Digital learning is cost-effective in the face of a ‘decade of deficits’
    • Example: US Department of Education study shows 9 ways that online learning boosts productivity.

Mr. Vander Ark states “The digital learning revolution offers the first opportunity in history to extend quality secondary [education] to every young person on the planet.” And it also increases the college-readiness and career-readiness of high school graduates.

Image Credit: http://www.universityaffairs.ca

Curriki’s open educational resource repository is focused around digital learning content, including many videos, presentations and interactive resources. These digital learning resources are available to anyone on the planet with Internet access for free.

Broadband, tablets and the Cloud are all enabling technologies that support access to the best methods and the best teachers for anyone, anywhere, at any time. Personalized learning is spreading across the globe, and Curriki is proud to provide a free, open education repository as a Cloud-based service.

Digital and Online Learning Big for 2012

By Kim Jones, CEO of Curriki

A very interesting blog, recently posted by Tom Vander Ark, asserts that we have reached the “Turning Point for Personal Digital Learning” and that now “anyone can learn anything anywhere”. And anytime. He notes “it just doesn’t make sense to buy a backpack full of books for kids anymore”. You can find the blog here; it’s well worth a read.

Tom sees 5 streams of technology-based learning coming together in 2012:

  1. Digital learning – such as Maine’s Learning Technology Initiative
  2. Online learning – growing by nearly 50% per year
  3. Mobile learning – fueled by the explosion of tablets and education apps
  4. Social learning – the rise of dynamic learning groups
  5. Informal learning – ranging from peer-to-peer and learning games, to test prep and job training

Curriki is playing an important role in supporting each of these modalities of digital, online, mobile, social and informal learning, through the rapidly growing collection of open curricular resources at curriki.org and our support of collaboration, with hundreds of community groups available at the Curriki site.

(Tom Vander Ark is author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and founder of GettingSmart.com.)