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march 2015 

Ohio schools and districts say they wished they had planned and prepared more before starting blended learning

A first-ever statewide survey of Ohio schools and districts on blended learning has indicated that educators wished they had done more planning and provided more professional development as they moved into blended learning.

The Ohio Blended Learning Survey, commissioned by the Ohio Blended Learning Network, received 211 responses by the time it closed on March 20, representing a 20% response rate. Brian Bridges, the survey administrator working for the Christensen Institute, is analyzing data to be released soon.

Preliminary results show that 58% of respondents indicated they are undertaking some form of blended learning in schools. Of those who were blending, most said they wished they had done more planning (34%) or wished they had provided more professional development to teachers (27%.) Interestingly, most of the schools and districts blending (65%) said they did plan ahead, and among members of the Ohio Blended Learning Network, 79% said they had planned ahead.

You can read what Bridges, an e-Learning Consultant based in California, had to say about these preliminary findings in his blogpost below. Preliminary results of the survey will be released this month and a full report is forthcoming.

Read more

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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.)

Hilliard City Schools Blended Learning web pages offer tools and insights from district

If you happen to Google “ Hilliard City Schools” and “blended learning,” you will not be disappointed.
Hilliard staff have been spending time researching, reflecting and designing blended learning experiences in their district, and they have put together web pages under a “Blended Learning” title that offer their approach to blended learning and the resources they have identified to implement blended learning in their classrooms.

Nexus Academy Columbus shows off “robo-teacher” in national Hechinger Report 

Nexus Academy Columbus was the focus of an article in The Hechinger Report by Nichole Dobo, who spent time in Ohio recently visiting OBLN schools and districts. (Hint: There is more to come from Hechinger on Ohio.) In this article, Dobo connected with the telepresence robot that allows virtual instructors to move around the building on a remote-controlled robot. The robots apparently are a hit as now all seven Nexus Academy charter schools in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana have one. Says one Columbus student: Seeing the teachers face, and they would be there, showing up in the room, it felt more personal than just the screen.

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NSBA to showcase Mentor blended learning 

The National School Boards Association has selected Mentor Public Schools as one of three national Educational Technology Site Visits for 2015. Educators and board members from across the country will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about what Mentor has accomplished with its districtwide blended learning initiative. The visit is scheduled for April 26-28. A link to register for the visit is below.

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New Cincy Blend web site
Cincinnati-area education consultant Lauren Angelone has put together a web site to showcase models of blended learning, starting with Forest Hills Local Schools (where she currently consults.)  Cincy Blend offers some great examples of blended learning in practice and promises to be an excellent resource for educators as it develops.
Cincinnati stakeholders create new entity to advance high-performing models
A group of Cincinnati stakeholders, including the Cincinnati Public Schools, is creating a new non-profit organization that will attract and grow proven school models and build the talent pipeline to fuel a local system of high-performing schools.
The group is setting out to double the current number of Cincinnati students with access to a high-performing school and by 2025 create a total of 14,500 new high-performing seats in the city, quadrupling the current number.
The effort will be funded by $25 million in resources. The stakeholders have engaged Bellwether Education Partners to search for a Chief Executive Officer. Read more about the organization and leadership position below.

(OBLN members: Tell us your story about progress in blended learning!)

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Ten posts we've been reading on blended learning

Supporting personalized, competency-based learning in Ohio

Susan Patrick, President and CEO of iNACOL, testified to the Ohio House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education in support of House Bill 64 and its pilot program for competency education.  (March 2015) 

The Hechinger Report's whirlwind tour of Ohio

Writer Nichole Dobo hints at all of the fun she had touring schools in Ohio in March in advance of writing about blended learning inThe Hechinger Reports new Blended Learning Newsletter. First up: Robot teachers at Nexus Academy.  (March 2015)

Debates, taboo words, and tough talk at SXSWedu

OK, Nichole Dobo of The Hechinger Report was not just in Ohio. She went to the SXSWedu in Austin and chuckled along with everyone else when two prominent education innovators could not meet the challenge of avoiding buzzwords and jargon. (March 2015) 

EdTech 10: Live from SXSWedu 2015
The Getting Smart team was also at SXSWedu, which they assert serves as the launch pad for the year’s upcoming innovations in learning. The team learned of news and innovation updates firsthand and offer 10 announcements to note, share and follow. (March 2015)
SXSWedu: Smart Cities

Tom Vander Ark of Getting Smart highlighted a SXSWedu panel discussion on Smart Cities, which advances the premise that every region needs to improve learning opportunities fast. (March 2015)

Collaboration fuels Meriden's blended learning success

One of those Smart Cities may be Meriden, Conn., which Tom Vander Ark highlights as a great example of a district making progress on personalized learning, improving access to technology and identifying and cultivating teacher leaders. (March 2015)

The invisible currency in education reform: social capital

Researcher and blogger Julia Freeland offers in the first of two posts how students need to develop social networks - reservoirs of social capital and the ability to bank on that capital. She maintains those networks are developed entirely at random. (March 2015) 

Blogpost #2: The EdTech disconnect and social capital

Julia Freeland continues to make the case that students need to develop social networks and that the education system doesn’t do that very well. In this post, she notes that education technology does not focus on this connectivity for students. (March 2015) 

Disruptive innovation can help solve nation's teacher shortage

Michael Horn of the Christensen Institute makes the case that without the disruptive innovation of personalized learning stakeholders and schools will not be able to ensure that all students have access to highly-effective teachers. (March 2015)

Helping you make really good decisions on digital content

Education Elements is offering an online course to help schools navigate the digital content marketplace and create a digital content portfolio to meet their needs. Getting the Right Product Fit debuted on the company’s web site. (March 2015)

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The Number: 40

The number of U.S. states in which competency-based education is currently being advanced. 

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Last Word

“Those concerned with teacher quality should stop dismissing disruptive innovation and online learning."

- Author Michael Horn in his blogpost on disruptive innovation and teacher shortages 

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