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NEWSLETTER OF THE
OHIO BLENDED LEARNING NETWORK 
January 2015 

Blended Author Michael Horn speaks at Ohio Blended Learning luncheon

Michael Horn, co-author of the Amazon bestseller, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, delivered a presentation at a luncheon in January sponsored by the Ohio Blended Learning Network with support from StudentsFirst Ohio and The Learning Accelerator. Horn, who co-founded the Clayton Christensen Institute, is a regular commentator on education innovation and blended learning in particular. Check out his PowerPoint presentation here and listen to his talk at the link below.

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Enjoy our monthly newsletter on blended learning!

You are receiving this newsletter as a member of the Ohio Blended Learning Network or as a guest, and our goal is to help you learn more about blended learning by highlighting best practices, sharing insights, and advancing opportunities. Let us know how we are doing, and send along your own best pratices, updates and insights! (For back issues of The Blender, follow this link.)

Michael Horn and Christensen Institute head OBLN study of blended 


The Ohio Blended Learning Network is working with Michael Horn and the Christensen Institute on a study of blended learning in Ohio designed to help show education stakeholders the status of blended learning and what needs to be done to encourage more high-quality examples.
“I’m excited about all the work the partners here are doing with the Ohio Blended Learning Network,” Horn said. “You are really bringing people together to think about this.
The study, supported by The Learning Accelerator, gets underway in February with a survey of Ohio schools and districts on their blended learning practices. Brian Bridges, an eLearning consultant in California, is conducting the survey similar to ones he has undertaken in California.

OBLN convenes education stakeholders to help shape direction on blended 
 

Education stakeholders from across Ohio gathered with the Ohio Blended Learning Network in Columbus to begin discussions that would help shape the direction of blended learning in the state. The advisory committee included leaders of non-profits (StudentsFirst Ohio, Ohio Resource Center), school superintendents (Reynoldsburg, Finneytown), charter school directors (Nexus Academies), business representatives (NOCHE), higher education (UC School of Education) and legislators (Rep. Andrew Brenner, Vice Chair of the House Education Committee.)
The group met with Michael Horn and Brian Bridges, who are heading up a study of blended in Ohio (see item above) and Lisa Duty of the Learning Accelerator, the California-based non-profit supporting blended learning nationally.
The committee will be presented data next month from the survey of schools and districts about their use of blended learning. 

Ohio educators travel to North Carolina State for blended learning training 
 

Ten Ohio educators joined dozens of other educators from across the country this week in North Carolina to be at the inaugaural training session for the Leadership in Blended Learning program.
The educators were selected to be facilitators for the Ohio Blended Learning Network and Mentor Public Schools to receive training at the William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
Ohio was among seven states selected to participate in the program, which will train more than 70 principals and administrators to implement blended learning in their school buildings. The participating educators, including an educational consultant, are from Reynoldsburg City Schools, West Clermont Local Schools, Mentor Public Schools, the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio and the Mayerson Academy.
 
The Learning Accelerator selects OBLN for statewide partnership

The Learning Accelerator (TLA) selected Ohio and the Ohio Blended Learning Network as its second statewide investment to help accelerate blended learning in schools.

TLA is providing support to OBLN to convene a community of state entities to create a roadmap that identifies the human, financial and technical resources required to help Ohio make the shift to blended learning statewide.

Schools and districts across Ohio are awakening to the possibiliteis of blended learning, said Lisa Duty, Partner at The Learning Accelerator. “We’re excited to work with leadership to pursue the best ways to leverage new blended models to improve schools and advance student achievement.

TLA’s support also makes possible a study of blended learning in Ohio (see sidebar) conducted by the Clayton Christensen Institute and Michael Horn, Christensen’s Executive Director of Education Programs. “We’re excited to be working in Ohio to identify the early pockets of innovation and help educators move forward,” Horn said. 

“This investment from The Learning Accelerator will help us understand the status and nature of early adoption more deeply,” said Andrew Benson, Executive Director of Smarter Schools, which sponsors the Network. “Together we can help to devise an effective strategy to support schools and districts over the next 3 to 5 years.

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OBLN members can preview survey and provide feedback

OBLN schools and districts are encouraged to preview the statwide survey on blended learning and provide feedback to researchers who will be analyzing the results.
The survey can be found at the link below and feedback will be received up until Monday, Feb. 2. Contact Brian Bridges at Brian.bridges@elearns.org .
After that time, the OBLN members are encouraged to complete the final survey to be included in the results. A survey link will be emailed to superintendents, directors or charter school principals.

Hilliard begins next steps on blended learning: 1:1 laptops for all students 
More than half of the students at the Hilliard Station Elementary Schools received iPads in January as the beginning of a three-year initative to equip all 15,800 students in the Hilliard City Schools with tablets. The district announced the $4.5 million initiative last spring and has since provided teachers with training to put the tablets and apps to use in the classroom.

(OBLN members: Tell us your story about progress in blended learning!)
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Ten posts we've been reading on blended learning

Provocative Predictions for education world in 2015

National Public Radio put together experts who opine on what they think we will see in education in 2015. In one, Andrew Rotherham observes that blended learning is “evolving from an idea that was mostly hype to a daily practice in schools. (December 2014)

ISTE offers Ed Tech predictions for 2015

The International Society for Technology in Education sifts through predictions from educators and ed tech experts on what we will see in ed tech for 2015. Can it surpass the existing year of the maker ed movement, 1:1 programs, and flipped classrooms? (January 2015)

Doubling down on personalized learning in 2015

Anthony Kim, CEO and Founder of Education Elements, revisits the wishes that were granted in 2014, reviews what is showing promise in 2015 , and reveals what his company will be doing to help districts realize personalized learning.  (January 2015)

SOTU interesting for what's in there and what's not
Getting Smarts Tom Vander Ark reviews what President Obama had to say about education in his State of the Union address: Community colleges and access to the Internet. But he notes there are several issues not discussed. (January 2015)
Big developments in education technology outside of SOTU

While much of the ED world chatted about the President’s State of the Union, there were other developments in education technology and blended learning worth noting. (We shamelessly draw attention to No. 2 about OBLN.) (January 2015)

Vocabulary Lesson: "Competency-Based Learning"

Carrie Schneider, the Director of Policy + Research at Getting Smart, breaks down the what everyone means by competency-based learning in the hope that a common definition will be an important foundation to building common goals.  (January 2015)

Is it too soon to flip your classroom?

The number of teachers who flipped at least one lesson in their clarroom rose from 48 percent in 2012 to 78 percent in 2014. Does that mean that 2015 will be the Year of the Flipped Classroom? Not so fast says this author. (January 2015)

Performance-based education in a one-room school house

Blogger Chris Sturgis examines how competency education works in a small, rural K-12 school house. In a fifth installment, Sturgis reviews Chugach School District in a remote corner of New Mexico. (January 2015)

A master teacher reflects on blended learning

Rocketship Education teacher Stephen Pham, one of 11 master teachers selected by The Learning Accelerator to participate in its project with Better Lesson, reflects on what the blended learning movement is all about. (January 2015)

Three false dichotomies in blended learning

Julia Freeland writes for the Christensen Institute blog that the debates about the merits of blended learning models fall into a trap of erecting false dichotomies that don’t have to pose tradeoffs to schools considering going blended. (January 2015) 

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The Number: 20,000,000

The number of students in American schools cited by President Obama in his State of the Union address that will be connected to high-speed broadband in the next two years.

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Last Word

“Blended learning isn’t just a new fad and a cool way to use technology. Rather, personalizing learning so that every student can access academic content and learn in their own way is a change that means that every student can be successful. Blended learning advocates for every student, not letting them fall into the cracks."

- Rocketship Education teacher Stephen Pham

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