Making Education Personal: Ability Grouping or Blended Learning?

Making Education Personal: Ability Grouping or Blended Learning?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Robin Lake discusses blended learning in this Parent Map article.

Excerpt from Alison Krupnick's article:


New learning models

“All the hand-wringing is the result of a traditional classroom structure that doesn’t allow for differentiated learning,” says Robin Lake, executive director of the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE).

“If you have one teacher and 26 kids, how does the teacher move all those kids forward when she has standards to meet and competing demands on her time? The only way within this structure is to pull some kids out. What excites me looking forward is how we can change the structure to support individualized learning.”

Lake is a champion of “blended learning environments,” which she says are cropping up all over the U.S. in rural and urban locales, most notably New York City, and could be the solution to the ability grouping dilemma.

Blended learning environments use a combination of in-person and online instruction, enabling students to rotate through classroom-based “learning stations” at their own pace. Khan Academy, the popular education tutorial website, is an example of a delivery model that can be used to teach specific concepts within a classroom.

“The excitement I see from teachers when they’ve implemented a blended learning model is palpable,” Lake says, adding that New York City schools that have implemented the model report a reduction in discipline problems.

Although the concept is still new, organizations such as the Gates Foundation provide grants to support it. A variety of blended learning service providers are emerging, such as Education Elements, a for-profit company that designs blended learning modules and provides a technology platform to easily bring online learning to schools.

There is also potential cost savings associated with blended learning environments....

Read the full article here.

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