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DECember 2014 

Thoughts from President Obama's #FutureReady Summit

Mentor Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Miller was one of 100 school leaders who attended the ConnectED to the Future summit last month at the White House, where President Obama launched a new efort to assist school leaders in their transition to digital learning. The #FutureReady Digital Pledge was offered by President Obama and the Office of Educational Technology as a framework for achieving goals in digital learning.

Miller, chair of the Ohio Blended Learning Network, shares with us his observations and thoughts about the summit and what #FutureReady means for schools and districts interested in pursuing blended learning.

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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, 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.)

OBLN, Mentor conduct
Nov. 17th blended learning workshop at Battelle for Kids event 

The Ohio Blended Learning Network and Mentor Public Schools hosted an interactive workshop on blended learning for about 30 superintendents, principals and teachers to take a deeper dive into blended learning strategies. Attendees got to rethink classroom design, instructional strategies, selecting and using digital content, and effectively using data. Experts from Mentor Public Schools and Stepstone Academy guided attendees through fast-paced interactive sessions. The session at the Ohio Union on the Ohio State University Campus was part of SOAR Learning Lab Conferences hosted by Battelle for Kids. 

Mentor talks about blended at NOCHE’s “Future of Education" event Dec. 1

Mentor Public Schools Superintendent Matt Miller and teacher Amy Roediger (second right and left above) were part of a panel to discuss education and technology at the “Future of Education: One Student at a Time” event Dec. 1 at Cleveland State University.
The event was sponsored by the Northeast Ohio  Council on Higher Education, which has taken on blended learning as a major initiative in Northeast Ohio.
 Presenting along with Mentor were two Silicon Valley education technology experts: Prasad Ram (far right) and Gordon Freedman, president of the National Laboratory for Educational Transformation (second left).
Thanks to Rob Briggs at NOCHE for his thoughts on the event.

OBLN, Mentor selected for Leadership in Blended Learning national pilot

The Ohio Blended Learning Network and Mentor Public Schools were selected to be two of seven grantees to train up to 80 principals and administrators in Ohio to be effective leaders in blended learning.

The Friday Institute at North Carolina State University approved grant applications from the Network and Mentor to participate in the first-year pilot, which builds off the success of blended learning principal training in North Carolina. The project is funded in part by The Learning Accelerator.

The Leadership in Blended Learning pilot project includes districts and partners in other states to be announced in the coming weeks.

In Ohio, along with Mentor, 14 other districts in the Network joined the pilot project, including Antwerp Local, Barnesville Ex. Village, Batavia Local, Deer Park Community, Delaware City, Gahanna-Jefferson Local, Great Oaks Career Center, Madeira City, Oak Hills Local, Perkins Local, Reynoldsburg City, Vermilion Local, West Clermont Local, and Worthington City. In addition, the Mayerson Academy and the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio will act as facilitators, along with Mentor, Reynoldsburg, and West Clermont.

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Stepstone lauded for outstanding service

Stepstone Academy was awarded the prestigious Anisfield-Wolf Memorial Award given to “a community organization that performed outstanding service during the previous 12 months.”
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Reynoldsburg posts DIY blended learning
Andrew Boan, a Reynoldsburg technology intergration coach, was featured for his creation of a MOOC to use blended to teach blended to his staff.
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(OBLN members: Tell us your story about progress in blended learning!)
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Ten posts we've been reading on blended learning

Obama calls on districts to take #FutureReady District Pledge 

President Obama launches the national initiative to provide a framework and support for school districts to take a leadership role in the transition to digital learning that will lead to student success in college, careers and citizenship. (December 2014)

FCC passes $1.5 billion funding increase for its E-Rate program

The Federal Communications Commission approved the first increase in more than a decade in the federal program that helps disadvantaged schools gain access to technologies  and the Internet.  (December 2014)

Reimagining teaching in a blended learning classroom

The New Teacher Project examined more than 20 schools to better understand how blended learning affects key human capital issues. Their findings: the role of the teacher is no longer one-size-fits-all and supports for teachers need to reflect that. (November 2014)

How the nation's capital is reinventing its classrooms for the future

John Rice, the manager of blended learning at the D.C. Public Schools, writes that his school district is starting to see promising results two years into the district-wide blended learning initaitive. (December 2014)

Rhode Island Goes Blended: A look at the Ocean State

A blog post on the Christensen Institute blog takes a first-hand look at progress in the statewide blended learning transformation of Rhode Island since The Learning Accelerator made investments in groups like the Highlander Institute. (December 2014) 

EducationSuperHighway releases guide on blended infrastructure

EducationSuperHighway, a non-profit focused on upgrading Internet access for every classroom in America, released its Network Essentials for Superintendents Guide, which helps bring clarity to this often overly technical process. (December 2014)

Building a ____________ learning movement

Carrie Schneider, the Director of Policy + Research at Getting Smart, searches for how to connect and find the intersection of blended learning, competency-based learning, digital learning, personalized learning, and so on. (December 2014)

Calibrating the competency conversation

Julie Freeland writes for the Christensen Institute blog that competency-based education is a topic that actually becomes more complex the more you learn abou it” and that we often talk past each other because of the ambiguity. (December 2014)

Policy guide released to support next-generation educator workforce

KnowledgeWorks and iNACOL release "Laying the Foundation for Competency Education: A Policy Guide for the Next Generation Educator Workforce” to help educators prepare for highly personalized, competency-based models (December 2014)

The future of assessment

Getting Smart founder Tom Vander Ark discusses a recent examination of assessments by Sir. Michael Barber and Dr. Peter Hill, who outline the trouble we have with the current assessments and what we need going forward. (December 2014)

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The Number: 10,895,727

The number of students in American schools that have signed on to President Obama’s #FutureReady District Pledge (as of December 2014.)

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Last Word

“When you get to the real bottom line on this issue, we can talk about this section or that section, we can talk about this part of the program or that part of the program, but we are talking about a moral issue. The greatest responsibility, the greatest moral responsibility that any generation has, is the preparation of the next generation."

- Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC, in defense of an historic increase in E-Rate funding.

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