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May 2015 

Ohio on cutting edge of blended learning practices

State is one of seven in new national blended learning pilot

This month, more than 70 educators from 16 Ohio school districts will begin six months of a program that at its completion will put them ahead of their peers in knowing how to advance blended learning.

These principals and administrators are part of the Leadership in Blended Learning program provided by the Ohio Blended Learning Network through a grant from the Friday Institute at North Carolina State. An additional three Ohio school districts will get started this fall with the Mentor Public Schools, which is a partner on the Ohio grant. In all, more than 100 Ohio principals and administrators will have started or gone through the program by the end of the school year.

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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 practices, updates and insights! (For back issues of The Blender, follow this link.)

Leadership in Blended Learning kicks off in Southwest and Central Ohio 

Orientation sessions were held May 18th in Cincinnati and Columbus to kick off the Leadership in Blended Learning professional development program for principals.
These sessions teed up the five program sessions starting in June for the national pilot program, which was awarded to the Ohio Blended Learning Network in December by the Friday Institute at North Carolina State. The program is supported by The Learning Accelerator, a non-profit in California dedicated to advancing high-quality blended learning.
A cohort for Northwest Ohio will start later in the year facilitated by Mentor Public Schools, a partner in the Ohio grant.
In Southwest Ohio, 27 participants from nine  school districts and the Hamilton County ESC met at the Mayerson Academy for orientation. Facilitators Lynn Ochs (above) and Trisha Underwood led them through a series of exercises to get them ready for the first program on June 18th (8:30 to 3:30). The nine districts included Batavia Local Schools, Deer Park Community City Schools, Forest Hills Local Schools, Loveland City Schools, Madeira City Schools, Mariemont City Schools, Milford Ex. Village Schools, West Clermont Local Schools, and Wyoming City Schools. The cohort has 32 principals and administrators enrolled.

In Central Ohio, 22 participants met for orientation and lunch at the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio in Columbus. Facilitators Stephanie Hollar (above) and Sarah Folzenlogen helped principals and administrators from six different school districts to set up a survey of teachers in their buildings to create a benchmark for their work. Additional participants attended alternative orientation sessions, bringing the total participants to 42 for the first program session on June 11 (8-3:30 p.m.) 
Included are participants from Delaware City Schools, Gahanna-Jefferson Local Schools, Grandview Heights City Schools, Marysville Ex. Village Schools, Olentangy Local Schools, Reynoldsburg City Schools, and Worthington City Schools.

OBLN plans second cohort for principals in blended learning 
The Ohio Blended Learning Network plans to kick off a second cohort of principals in December for the Leadership in Blended Learning program, which would be completed in June 2016. Details of how to enroll will be shared later this fall.
Mentor, OBLN host workshop at Battelle for Kids conference 
The Ohio Blended Learning Network and Mentor Public Schools are co-hosting a workshop on blended learning at the Connect for Success conference of Battelle for Kids. The workshop is scheduled for June 16 at 3:15 to 4:15 p.m at the Ohio Union (Canton Rm. 1, 3rd floor) on the Ohio State campus in Columbus.

OBLN members can receive discounts on blended learning training this summer

The Ohio Blended Learning Network has negotiated with two providers of professional development in blended learning to secure discounts for OBLN members who want to attend to develop and sharpen their skills in blended learning this summer. The workshops begin in June and are offered by two different entities outlined below.

ConnectingEd and The Educational Service Center of Central Ohio are offering a $30 discount to members of the Ohio Blended Learning Network who want to improve their skills in blended learning this summer. On June 4, the ESC and ConnectingED have scheduled a workshop on Differentiated Blended Learning Design: Personalizing Learning for Students. The workshop is facilitated by Stephanie Hollar and Sarah Folzenlogen, who are also working with OBLN on blended learning professional development for principals.  A link to register for the workshop is below. OBLN members will get the member discount price listed even if they are not members of the ESC of Central Ohio.

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Blended Learning Boot Camp
A series of Blended Learning Boot Camps in June and July offer opportunities to learn more about blended learning at a location near you at a reasonable cost.
DSD Professional Development, led by Marcia Kish, is offering $10 off the $99 fee to OBLN members to attend any of the boot camps in Minster (June 9), Medina (June 10) or Rocky River (July 7 or 13) and a $15 discount to attend the boot camp at the Columbus Zoo (June 16.)
OBLN reaches 59 members; a four-fold increase since its inception in 2014
With the addition of Marysville Ex. Village Schools, Wyoming City Schools, and Johnstown-Monroe Local Schools, the Ohio Blended Learning Network has grown by 46 members since it was founded in January 2014. The Network represents a cross-section of educational entities, from small rural districts to small urban charters, to the state’s largest school district to some of its wealthiest districts.
“We think the Network can benefit members by offering opportunities, like the Leadership in Blended Learning, for sharing best practices and engaging in high-quality blended learning professional development,” said Andrew Benson, Executive Director of Smarter Schools, which sponsors the Network. To learn more, follow the link.

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

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Ten posts we've been reading on blended learning

Alpha Public Schools innovator Will Eden describes how his network of charter schools in California has addressed the failings of top-down and lone-wolf approaches to innovation in this post on the edSurge blog. (May 2015) 

Three key policy changes to support student-centered learning

The move to student-centered learning might force schools to rethink longstanding policies. School leaders will need to ask themselves: Do the policies we currently have in place facilitate, or stand in the way of, this new approach to instruction? (May 2015)

Aim for individual mastery, and the rest will follow

Julia Freeland makes the case that the apparent tension between standards and personalization dissolves if we can better delineate prescriptive inputs and desired outcomes. Personalization is a means; standards are an end.  (May 2015)

Blended learning proof points showcase district schools

Public school districts began innovating with blended learning before most charter schools, yet charter schools pioneering blended learning get far more attention for their innovations. There seems to be two reasons, Michael Horn says. (May 2015)

How to successfully scale personalized learning

Fuel Education and Getting Smart wanted to know how districts and schools successfully scale online and blended learning programs. Their team examined a wide range of schools and districts and captured key lessons related to scaling programs. (May 2015)

It’s an elephant: Lessons on getting everyone on the same page
Keara Duggan of Education Elements shares lessons from Yuma School District One on how to engage principals, coaches, technology teams, and teachers in ongoing conversations about vision, design and digital tools. (May 2015)

Preparing leaders for deeper learning

In a new paper by Getting Smart and Digital Promise, researchers assert the need or programs that prepare and develop school and district leaders who will create and sustain deeper learning environments. (May 2015)

Parents attitudes toward education technology

Student use of technology ranks in the top three most important educational issues for parents, according to a new study. Parents are positive about the benefits of technology and agree that it makes it easier for their children to get their work done. (May 2015) 

Push learning: How smart notifications will change education

The push-based web, where information comes to us, appears to be on the verge of replacing the search-dominant web we’re most familiar with. That shift has implications for teaching and learning, Getting Smart’s Tom Vander Ark contends. (May 2015)

College Board launches STEM credential initiative

The College Board, with Project Lead The Way, will launch an effort that will award a “credential” to high school students who complete integrated Advanced Placement and PLTW coursework in engineering, bio science, or computer science. (May 2015)

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The Number: 99,306

The number of students in the 20 districts of the Ohio Blended Learning Network who are participating in the Leadership in Blended Learning professional learning experience. 

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Last Word

“The apparent tension between standards and personalization dissolves if we can better delineate prescriptive inputs and desired outcomes. Personalized learning is a means, not an end. Standards are an end, not a means. Debates about both, however, tend to muddle these distinctions."

- Julia Freeland in Clayton Christensen Institute blog post  

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