S T A T E O F O P P O R T U N I T Y The Status and D irection of Blended Learning in Ohio t
October 15, 2015
Thomas Arnett Andrew Benson Brian Bridges Katrina Bushko Lisa Duty Saro Mohammed
JOIN THE CONVERSATION #blendedlearning
http://www.christenseninstitute.org http://learningaccelerator.org http://www.smarterschools.net/obln.html
@ChristensenInst @LearningAccel @OHBlendLearning
https://www.facebook.com/ChristensenInstitute https://www.facebook.com/LearningAccelerator https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ohio-‐Blended-‐Learning-‐ Network/1423227591281072
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOREWORD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 SUMMARY OF RESULTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Key Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Who is implementing blended learning? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 What blended-‐learning models are being employed? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 How are these models being developed? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 What are the challenges to implementing blended learning? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Observations and Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Where are the needs? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 How do we address these needs? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Where is further research needed? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 ABOUT THE SURVEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Area of Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 DETAILED RESULTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Section 1: The Scope Of Blended Learning In Ohio 16 Highlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Corresponding data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Section 2: How Ohio Schools And Districts Are Using Blended Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Highlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Corresponding data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Section 3: Making The Shift To Blended Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Highlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Corresponding data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Section 4: Challenges And Lessons Learned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Highlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Corresponding data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 APPENDIX A: OHIO BLENDED LEARNING SURVEY INSTRUMENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 APPENDIX B: OHIO BLENDED LEARNING FOLLOW-‐UP SURVEY INSTRUMENT . . . . . . . . . 52 APPENDIX C: BLENDED LEARNING RESOURCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 AUTHORS AND ORGANIZATIONAL BIOS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Blended learning entails the fundamental redesign of learning models. Educators around the world are adopting it to help all students be successful in realizing their full potential in college, careers, and life thanks to its ability to enable personalized learning and mastery and its potential to increase access and equity and control costs. Educators want to create a student-‐centered learning system for all students, and blended learning is the most promising way to do so at scale. Schools are using it to rethink how teaching and learning occurs and to redesign schooling structures, schedules, staffing, and budgets. Such is the case for Ohio, where the appetite for blended learning is strong, but where the endgame and outcomes remain unknown. Ohio, like most states, would benefit from a more collaborative and systemic approach to creating new models that prepare students for the future, while decreasing the risks and costs of developing new models. This report points to opportunities to increase the likelihood of success, and it raises some key questions that emerge beyond the face of the data: • How is innovation emerging and being organized in Ohio? • From where are ideas coming, and how are they being developed and shared elsewhere? • Could cross-‐network collaborations between schools, researchers, model developers, entrepreneurs, and others accelerate the quality of blended-‐learning innovation in Ohio? With tremendous intellectual capital, funding for innovation, and, as this report makes plain, plenty of pioneering districts, the buckeye state remains one to watch. Michael Horn Lisa Duty Co-‐Founder, Clayton Christensen Institute Partner, The Learning Accelerator
SUMMARY OF RESULTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS In February and March of 2015, the Ohio Blended Learning Network, The Learning Accelerator (TLA), and the Clayton Christensen Institute, in collaboration with eLearning consultant Brian Bridges, conducted the Ohio Blended Learning Survey. The purpose of the survey was to provide an overview of the blended-‐learning environment in Ohio in general, and in particular, answer four distinct questions: Who is implementing blended learning? What blended-‐learning models are being employed? How are these models being developed? What are the challenges to and lessons learned from implementing blended learning? The initial survey was adapted from the California eLearning Census and consisted of seven demographic, 15 multiple-‐choice, and five open-‐ended questions administered to all charter schools and districts in Ohio. A follow-‐up survey, comprised of four multiple-‐choice and three open-‐ended questions, was later sent to the charter schools and districts that indicated on the initial survey that they are blending. Out of the 994 charter schools and districts in Ohio, 211 responded to the initial survey, with 122 indicating that they are currently implementing blended learning. Out of those 122 respondents, 67 completed the follow-‐up survey. This paper summarizes the survey results and provides some brief observations and recommendations for schools in Ohio and beyond.
Key Findings Who is implementing blended learning? We wanted first to understand the scope of blended learning in Ohio. Based on survey results, we found that nearly three-‐fifths (58%) of respondents are using some form of blended learning. Most of this blended learning is happening in high schools or schools that house grades K–12; in contrast, only 10% of elementary and middle schools are using blended learning. Of the 42% of respondents who are not blending, almost 30% have plans underway to begin implementation. Most of the respondents who are already blending said they started using blending learning because they wanted to facilitate more personalized student learning, provide more course choice for students, and improve academic outcomes. They also said that they defined student success with blended learning as realizing greater student engagement, as well as improving graduation and course completion rates. The respondents who are either using or planning to use blended learning do, however, have one thing in common: most of them are concentrated in and around large cities such as Cincinnati and Columbus. What blended-‐learning models are being employed? In total, about half of all respondents reported using the A La Carte and Rotation models; a third use the Flex model; and a quarter use the Enriched Virtual model. Importantly, 43% of respondents are using more than one blended-‐learning model. Across grade levels, two-‐thirds of elementary schools that are currently implementing blended learning use a Rotation model, whereas high schools (and schools that house grades K–12) more often use the A La Carte and Rotation models. There also is a difference between school districts and charter schools: charters, by and large, use the Flex model most frequently, but districts are more likely to use the A La Carte and Rotation models.
How are these models being developed? The Ohio Blended Learning Survey also asked about funding, planning, hiring consultants, selecting digital content, and providing professional development. In regards to funding, an overwhelming majority of respondents (72%) use local funding to support their programs, with the remaining respondents using either a mix of local funds and grant funding (17%) or grant funding exclusively (11%). Furthermore, nearly two-‐ thirds of respondents indicated that they planned before implementing blended learning, whereas a third said they did not. Almost half of respondents reported that they hired consultants to help them implement blended learning, with 49% of those who did not use a consultant reporting that they felt confident with their in-‐house expertise. Respondents reported that they selected digital content with a variety of factors in mind, including cost savings (78%), data gathering and sharing/reporting capabilities (61%), and alignment to content standards (58%). Overall, 90% of respondents indicated that they used multiple factors in making their selections. Although the majority of respondents reported that they had purchased their digital content, 32% reported creating the majority of their content—with the primary advantages of internally developed content being control (28%) and customization (24%), and the primary disadvantage being the lack of time to create and maintain the content (49%). A substantial portion of respondents (42%) did not provide professional development on blended learning to their instructors. Of those who did provide professional development, the top five elements addressed through professional development were the online course delivery system (69%), instruction in blended-‐ learning definitions and models (68%), tailoring instruction to each student (63%), data use (56%), and routines and culture (50%). Much of the professional development was offered in person (73%) and provided by the central office (28%), course software and LMS providers (28%), other teachers (27%), or consultants (24%). Much of the professional development provided centered on technical, not curricular or instructional, components, with half of all respondents providing 12 or fewer hours of training to their blended instructors. What are the challenges to implementing blended learning? Blended-‐learning implementation is not always easy, and our survey found that charter schools and districts using blended learning face a variety of challenges. Respondents indicated that their top three challenges were finding high-‐quality professional development (36%), getting staff buy-‐in (34%), and funding blended learning (32%). To address these challenges, a third of respondents said that they needed more planning for blended-‐learning implementation or networking with other schools during the process, about a quarter said they needed support in finding high-‐quality professional development specific to blended-‐learning programs, and a fifth said they needed financial assistance for program implementations. In terms of additional budget and personnel resources, 20% of respondents indicated that they needed more professional development and 17% said that support was needed for infrastructure improvements—mostly in terms of additional devices. Looking back, 33% of respondents wished they had planned more thoroughly, 28% wished they had provided more professional development to blended-‐learning instructors, and 21% were satisfied with their blended-‐learning implementation and would not do anything differently.
Observations and Recommendations The Ohio Blended Learning Survey provides valuable information on the current status of blended learning in the state of Ohio. With 70% of survey respondents indicating that they are either implementing blended learning or planning to do so, Ohio may be ready to move from “trying out” blended learning to focusing on how to employ blended learning in order to more effectively shift teaching and learning. Although a majority of survey respondents are using blended learning, the survey results indicate that many could improve how they plan and implement blended learning, collaborate with other implementers, and provide educators with the skills they need for taking on new roles in blended-‐learning programs. School and district leaders and policymakers can use blended learning to achieve long-‐awaited goals, such as increasing course access, improving student achievement, and shifting to new success metrics for driving innovation. It is important to note, however, that blended learning is not a goal in and of itself. Policy and investment should not necessarily focus on expanding blended learning to the 48% of charter schools and districts in the state that are not blended. Rather, leaders should focus on supporting innovations that move the state toward increasing student achievement, improving the metrics used to evaluate blended learning, improving the quality of the current blended-‐learning programs, and expanding collaboration among innovators. Where are the needs? Although many of the charter schools and districts across Ohio are already implementing blended learning, there is still a substantial need for support. With 33% of respondents reporting that they needed more planning and networking opportunities, 24% reporting a desire for more high-‐quality professional development, and 7% wanting advice on resources, there is still a resource, coordination, and collaboration gap to be filled. For the respondents who are reportedly measuring success, the metrics in use seem to be reasonably well-‐ aligned with intended implementation goals for beginning or “newer” programs. Respondents listed personalized learning (73%), course choice (58%), and improved academic outcomes (53%) as primary reasons for using blended learning, and they currently measure the success of blended learning by student engagement (61%), course completion (40%), and graduation rates (40%).
MEASURING B LENDED L EARNING I NITIATIVES For educators in the planning stages of implementation, TLA’s Blended Learning Research Clearinghouse 1.0 provides some historical and current perspective on the student outcomes that have been shown to be affected by personalized and blended learning. For educators interested in measuring their own implementation, TLA’s District Guide to Blended Learning Measurement outlines five questions to consider when developing your measurement plan. Included in this guide is TLA’s Blended Learning Measurement Framework, which suggests relevant activities, outputs, outcomes, and impacts that may be of interest in a blended-‐learning program. Four key things that districts should be careful to do when measuring their blended-‐learning initiatives are: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Align all measurements with the initial objectives for implementation Measure implementation (e.g., activities or fidelity), as well as outcomes Consider including a comparison group, even if a randomized one is not possible Ensure all measures are reliable and valid for the purposes for which you are using them
As implementation matures and assuming respondents are seeing positive trends in these outcomes, however, measurement efforts can and should grow to include student scores from standardized assessments, as well as longer-‐term non-‐academic outcomes like emotional well-‐being and cognitive and behavioral habits of success. Schools and districts may also want to consider how some of their objectives (like personalization) are impacting other stakeholders (e.g., teachers) in order to determine whether to include non-‐student outcomes in their success metrics as well. How do we address these needs? The Ohio Blended Learning Survey uncovered many challenges that schools and districts are facing when implementing blended learning. Public institutions, nonprofit organizations, research and support institutions, and private funders can focus on a few key issues in order to overcome these challenges and continue developing blended learning in Ohio: 1. Create or identify an entity or network(s) to help coordinate blended-‐learning efforts. As detailed above, there is a need for more coordination and collaboration across the state. High-quality blended learning will require a range of competencies, resources, and influence that can only be obtained from a broad coalition of actors working together, both inside and outside of the system (See Innovation Collaboratives). Each school or district does not need to reinvent the wheel, and coordinating organizations, such as the Highlander Institute in Rhode Island, the Friday Institute of North Carolina, LearnLaunch in Massachusetts, and the Colorado Coalition, may serve as inspiration in terms of collaboratives that play a valuable role in helping connect schools and districts to resources, startups, policymakers, investors, researchers, and community groups across the usual boundaries that separate them from each other1. The Ohio Blended Learning Network is one such organization that can help to address this need.
INNOVATION C OLLABORATIVES 2 Although innovation collaboratives vary in form and objectives, they share many of the following characteristics and roles in addition to exercising blended-‐learning expertise: • They collaborate as a way of doing business; they put the work ahead of self interest • They create a clear vision for high-quality blended learning and deliver clearly articulated strategies to create high-quality models • They model a culture of innovation and lead with an innovation mindset • They are effective at running idea generation and development processes to create new offerings, both by generating a broad and diverse set of ideas and especially, by converting these ideas into implementable concepts • They vet tools and content centrally in a systematic way and reduce the need to search around for “what works” • They cultivate a portfolio of professional service providers by partnering with—and/or investing in—third parties that can help schools and districts transition to new models • They cultivate new models through co-working opportunities and intensive piloting efforts • They manage research by creating feedback loops to learn how best to reinforce, redirect, or (when necessary) kill new ideas and are effective at scaling the best models • They are sometimes quasi-public entities that can influence policy but operate autonomously; they exist to challenge the current system
“Education Innovation Clusters,” U .S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, http://tech.ed.gov/innovationclusters/ (accessed October 2, 2015). 2 Eric Almquist, Mitchell Leiman, Darrell Rigby, and Alex Roth, “Taking the measure of your innovation performance,” Bain & Company, May 8, 2013, http://www.bain.com/Images/BAIN_BRIEF_Taking_the_measure_of_your_innovation_performance.pdf 8
2. Train school leaders on iterative innovation processes. A third of survey respondents cited a lack of planning time and a need for more thorough planning as primary challenges with blended-‐learning implementation. Iterative innovation processes are helpful in planning for blended learning because, even though there are building blocks, there is no “right formula” in implementation. If school leaders understand how to use iterative innovation processes to meet their specific goals, the planning and implementation of blended-‐learning programs will be more efficient and will move schools more quickly toward discovering approaches that improve their students’ outcomes.
RESOURCES S UPPORTING I TERATIVE I NNOVATION Blended: When launching something unfamiliar and unpredictable, for which the ratio of knowledge to hypotheses is low, educators need to change the planning and design process. In a discovery-‐driven planning process, the key is to start with the desired outcome in mind. From there, the crucial next step is to list all of the assumptions that must prove true in order to realize the desired outcomes. W ith the assumptions in hand, the next step is to implement a plan for learning—as a way to test, as quickly and cheaply as possible, whether the critical assumptions are reasonable. 90-‐Day Cycle Handbook: The 90-‐Day Cycle has emerged as an invaluable method for rapidly developing innovative approaches to support practice improvement. Generally, 90-‐Day Cycles are a disciplined and structured form of inquiry designed to produce and test knowledge syntheses or prototyped processes or products in support of improvement work. So You Think You Want to Innovate?: Committed educators and organizational leaders at every level are working hard to design and implement new approaches they believe can be more effective for students than those we currently have in place. Through sheer force of will, many of these new ideas will have the chance to be tested in practice—and some will prove effective. Each of these ideas, however, whether at the state, district, or classroom level, inevitably passes through the context of one or more organizations. How receptive an organization is to new approaches will determine whether or not they succeed and, more importantly, whether ideas that prove effective will have a chance to spread to other parts of the system. This publication includes a framework, assessment tool, and Innovation Scorecard to support leaders at the state and district levels as they work to create a Culture of Innovation.
3. Make high-‐quality professional development for blended learning more available and easy to find. Almost a quarter of respondents indicated that they needed more high-‐quality professional development, 36% said finding high-‐quality professional development was a challenge, and 28% said they wished they had provided more professional development before implementing their programs. Professional development is crucial for helping teachers to successfully implement new programs. This is especially true given that few teachers have been exposed to blended learning in their practice or preparation programs. High-‐quality professional development should be a part of a human capital system that defines development in terms of observable, measurable progress toward an ambitious standard for teaching and learning, thereby giving teachers a clear, deep understanding of their own performance and progress.3
The Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About Our Quest for Teacher Development, TNTP, August 4, 2015, http://tntp.org/assets/documents/TNTP-‐Mirage_2015.pdf 9
RESOURCES S UPPORTING P ROFESSIONAL D EVELOPMENT F OR B LENDED L EARNING iNACOL’s Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework: In recent years, there has been a dramatic rise in interest and early adoption of blended learning to improve the educational experiences of students. A great amount of work has been done to codify approaches, with tools and resources emphasizing the structural components of new models, such as the configuration of physical learning space, use of time, distribution of staff, and applications of technology. Although there is widespread recognition that great in-person teaching remains essential within these structures, there has been less exploration of the human factors and effective practices that make them successful. Schools and districts are asking for more support for understanding teachers’ new roles and effectively supporting them in transitioning to new models of teaching and learning. To respond to this need, a national committee of blended-learning practitioners, thought-leaders, and experts explored one critical question: What are the key characteristics of teachers in successful blended-learning environments? BetterLesson’s Blended Master Teacher Project: BetterLesson has chosen 11 of the highest performing blended teachers in the United States to capture and share their effective practices. All the Blended Master Teachers have one thing in common: they use technology in strategic and innovative ways to personalize the learning of their students. The no-cost, high-definition strategy videos and teacher-created artifacts represent a distinctive body of practice by blended-learning teachers for blended-learning teachers. Coursera: This free online course helps teachers learn more about the basics of what blended learning is and explore different models for putting it into action in the classroom. The course not only goes over the blendedlearning model definitions, but it also guides the learner through creating the ideal student experience; rethinking the role of the teacher; redesigning a school; making hardware, software, and space decisions; and prototyping the innovative process. Relay Graduate School of Education’s Blended Learning Modules: Three teacher learning modules are available at Relay Learn, Relay's new online-learning platform, at no cost to participants: BL-101: Beginning to Blend is designed to introduce teachers to the what and how of blended learning, including how to apply concrete strategies and resources to start blending or fine-tuning instruction. BL-102: Rolling Out Blended focuses on the “building blocks” for implementing blended learning, including setting up the learning space, creating routines, and building a culture of buy-in, collaboration, and student autonomy. BL-103: Teaching Each Student is aimed at helping teachers leverage technology to address instructional challenges through the use of data and planning. It also includes ideas for how to run a successful blended-learning pilot.
It is important to note that new practices and new teacher roles may initially be inconsistent with the predominant structures and practices of districts and schools. As a result, absent a total redesign, the prevailing system will likely put some pressure on teachers to conform to traditional approaches4. A wholesale shift to blended learning provides schools an opportunity to reallocate teachers’ time, talent, and energy in ways that create increased impact on student achievement. Such a shift can also capitalize on individual teachers’ strengths and preferences and provide opportunities for teachers to help shape new school structures and cultures.
School District 2.0: Redesigning Districts to Support Blended Learning,The Highlander Institute, 2015, http://www.highlanderinstitute.org/wp-‐content/uploads/2015/04/Redesigning-‐Districts-‐to-‐Support-‐Blended-‐Learning.pdf 10
4. Provide more resource support for blended-‐learning efforts. Although 19% of survey respondents said they needed financial assistance to implement their blended-‐learning programs, 32% cited funding as one of their top three challenges. Ohio is already doing a good job providing funding for innovation through the Straight A Fund and other funding sources, but what is really lacking is resource support. Cultivating a repository of free and inexpensive resources for schools that target the challenges highlighted by this survey would help alleviate the funding strain that school and district leaders are feeling. Where is further research needed? Although the Ohio Blended Learning Survey is a far-‐reaching examination of the state of blended learning in Ohio, we are still left with some questions that further research should address. 1. Why are schools not using blended learning? From the survey, it is clear why 58% of Ohio schools are implementing blended learning—to create/facilitate personalized learning, provide course choice, and improve academic outcomes. We do not have clear data, however, on what is deterring the remaining 30% of respondents who are not planning to implement blended learning. Respondents who are implementing blended learning did not list infrastructure (broadband) as an issue, but most blended learning in Ohio is concentrated in cities. Therefore, infrastructure may still be a problem for the schools that are not blending or planning to blend. More research is needed to test this hypothesis—an organization like EducationSuperHighway could help to analyze connectivity and implement solutions. 2. Why is there a difference in the types of models being implemented? Most districts offer blended learning through the A La Carte (66%) and Rotation (57%) models. Charter schools, on the other hand, prefer the Flex model (69%). There also is a difference in models being used in different grade levels. Elementary schools overwhelmingly preferred the Rotation models (67%) to the other three models (11% each), whereas high schools and schools that house grades K–12 implemented one model only slightly more than the others: A La Carte (55%), Rotation (48%), Flex (37%), and Enriched Virtual (28%). Further research into why there is such a noticeable difference between the models being implemented in different school types and grades could uncover potential design, policy and funding opportunities.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
The Ohio Blended Learning Survey was produced through a collaboration of the Ohio Blended Learning Network, The Learning Accelerator, and the Clayton Christensen Institute. eLearning consultant Brian Bridges, who has extensive experience conducting the California eLearning Census, administered the survey through a contract with the Clayton Christensen Institute. The survey was designed to answer the following questions: Who is implementing blended learning? What blended-‐learning models are being employed? How are these models being developed? What are the challenges to implementing blended learning in Ohio?
Area of Focus Blended learning was the instructional model of interest in the Ohio survey. Two questions included in the survey asked respondents, first, “Do students at your charter school or district participate in blended learning or full-‐time online learning?” and later, “Which blended-‐learning models are being utilized in your charter school or district?” The first question did not distinguish between blended learning and full-‐time online learning. The second question, however, gave participants the opportunity to specify whether the model they were implementing was one of the four commonly recognized models of blended learning (definitions included in this report and on the survey) or another model, including full-‐time online learning. All 122 respondents who responded “Yes” to the first question also selected at least one of the four blended models in the second question. In other words, none of the respondents who said that their students participate in online or blended learning described their model as being full-‐time online learning. We can assume, therefore, that all 122 respondents are in fact implementing blended models.
Methods The Clayton Christensen Institute conducted the survey between February 1 and March 20, 2015, with a smaller follow-‐up survey administered between March 20 and March 27, 2015. Both electronic and physical recruitment letters and surveys were sent to participants, with information about the goals of the survey and an acknowledgement that even though responses were not anonymous, they would be kept confidential and reported in aggregate (for quantitative data) or in a de-‐identified manner (for qualitative data) only. Most survey responses were returned electronically; previous survey administrations in California suggested no differences in response trends between electronic and paper responses. The initial question set was adapted from the California eLearning Census and augmented to focus on our research questions specific to blended learning in Ohio. The initial survey (included in its entirety in Appendix A) consisted of seven demographic, 15 multiple-‐choice, and five open-‐ended questions. The follow-‐up survey (Appendix B), which was administered only to those respondents who indicated in the initial survey that they are currently implementing blended learning, included four multiple-‐choice and three open-‐ended questions. All 994 Ohio school districts and charter schools were recruited for the initial survey, and 211 of them responded for a 21% response rate. Once the initial survey had closed, we sent a supplemental survey to the 122 respondents who indicated that they are currently blending, and 55% of this smaller sample completed the follow-‐up survey.
Figure 1. Comparison of responding school districts to all Ohio school districts on average daily membership (ADM) and per-‐pupil spending *SY2010–11 data, ODE District Profiles
The 211 respondents are located in 64 counties across the state, with enrollments ranging from 21 students to more than 50,000 students. Although respondents may not necessarily reflect state demographics, and this introduces some limitations on whether the data are representative of all districts, we feel that the high-‐ response rate and the diversity of responders represent a good approximation. We compared the responding school districts to all Ohio school districts on key demographic characteristics to discern how representative the responses were of all Ohio school districts. (Similar data on charter schools were not available.) Figures 1 and 2 show the comparison of responding school districts to all school districts in Ohio on average daily membership (ADM), percentage of enrolled students who identify as white, percentage of enrolled students in poverty, and per-‐pupil spending. Data for all Ohio school districts are from the 2010–11 school year. The school districts that responded to the survey are, on average, over a third (39%) larger than the average school district in Ohio, spend about 6% more, and have fewer white students and students in poverty than the average Ohio school district.
As Figure 3 shows, the majority of individuals who completed the Ohio Blended Learning Survey were superintendents (35%), principals (17%), and curriculum and instructional staff (17%). Assistant superintendents and directors made up 15% of respondents, and technology officers and directors comprised 10%. The other 6% of respondents either filled other roles (4%) or did not report their position (2%).
In addition, some respondents (18%) were members of the Ohio Blended Learning Network (OBLN). This also potentially biased some of the responses, although we compared patterns of responses for the sample, including OBLN members to the sample excluding OBLN members, and did not note major differences in trends. The data presented in this report are from all respondents, including OBLN members. As noted earlier, this was an exploratory research design in which descriptive analyses were used to note trends in both the qualitative (presented as frequencies) and quantitative (presented as themes) responses.
Glossary Other definitions and terms used in the survey and this report are as follows: Blended learning Online learning that typically takes place at a physical school, where students have some control over time, place, path, or pace. Rotation model Students rotate, on a fixed schedule, in a course, between learning online and learning from a face-‐to-‐face teacher. Rotation includes teachers who “flip” their class. To count the use of supplemental or Internet resources as blended, students must rotate between them and a classroom on a fixed schedule within an individual course. Flex model Students take a majority of their courses online at school in an individually customized, fluid schedule and on-‐site teachers or paraprofessionals provide support. A La Carte model Students choose to take one or more online courses to supplement their schedules and the teacher of record is online. Enriched Virtual model Independent study students take all their online courses at home but visit a physical campus to meet with a teacher. Full-‐time virtual school/full-‐time online learning Students take all their courses online away from school, and do not visit a physical campus, except to take assessments. What is not blended learning? Participation in supplemental electronic activities or technology-‐rich activities that don’t fit the previous definitions. Synchronous learning A learning environment where all participants (instructor and students) are online at the same time. Asynchronous learning A learning environment where instructors and students may or may not be online at the same time.
Section 1: The scope of blended learning in Ohio The Ohio Blended Learning Survey asked respondents whether they were implementing blended learning (see “About the survey”), where they were using it, the reasons why they had chosen to blend, and how they defined student success. Their responses show that many schools and districts in Ohio have embraced blended learning, but are still perhaps in the early stages of realizing its potential.
Nearly three-‐fifths (58%) of respondents are using some form of blended learning.
Two-‐thirds (66%) of school districts are blending, but less than half (42%) of charter schools are using blended learning.
Most blended learning is happening in high schools and schools that house grades K–12; only one-‐in-‐ 10 elementary and middle schools is using blended learning.
Of the 42% of respondents who are not using blended learning, almost three in 10 have plans underway to implement it.
Most respondents said they use blended learning to facilitate more personalized student learning, provide more course choices for students, or improve academic outcomes.
Respondents cited less often these reasons for using blended learning: improve access to content, improve access to technology, reduce costs, support teachers, facilitate competency-‐based learning, and improve non-‐academic outcomes.
Most respondents defined student success with blended learning as realizing greater student engagement, with slightly fewer respondents citing improving graduation and course completion rates as evidence of success.
Fewer respondents defined success as improving academic grades and test scores, and relatively few cited greater student autonomy, greater student well-‐being, and cost savings.
Corresponding Data WHO IS BLENDING IN OHIO? To encourage all respondents to participate in the survey, our first question simply asked if students were participating in blended learning or full-‐time online learning, and what models were being offered. In all, 58% of respondents reported offering one or more of the blended-‐learning models (see Figure 4).
Figure 4. Percentage of respondents whose students are participating in online or blended learning
BLENDED-‐LEARNING ADOPTION BY INSTITUTION TYPE Two-‐thirds (66%) of responding school districts and 42% of responding charter schools are currently implementing blending learning (see Figure 5). Figure 5. Percentage of respondents who are implementing blended learning by institution type COMPARING BLENDED PARTICIPATION BETWEEN ELEMENTARY AND HIGH SCHOOL RESPONDENTS In Ohio, blended-‐learning participation is far greater in high schools and schools that house grades K–12, than in elementary and middle schools. As Figure 6 shows, 71% of high schools and schools that house grades K–12 participate in blended learning, compared to just 13% of elementary and middle schools.
Figure 6. Blended-‐learning participation in elementary and high schools PLANNING FOR BLENDED LEARNING If respondents said they were not currently participating in blended learning, we asked if they were planning to implement blended learning in the future. Overall, 12% said that they were in the planning stages (see Figure 7).
Figure 7. Percentage of respondents who plan to blend Only slightly more high schools and schools that house grades K–12 are planning for blended learning, however, than elementary schools. As Figure 8 shows, 9% of elementary schools that are not blending said they are planning to implement blended learning, compared to 13% of high schools.
Figure 8. Percentage of elementary and high schools that plan to blend
REASONS FOR IMPLEMENTING BLENDED LEARNING To learn their reasons for implementing blended learning, we asked respondents to select up to three statements from a list of 12, including fields for “I don’t know” and “Other.” The primary reasons cited were to create or facilitate more personalized student learning (73%), provide more course choices for students (58%), improve student academic outcomes (53%), and improve access to content (30%), as is depicted in Figure 9. Figure 9. Reasons for implementing blended learning
Fewer respondents cited to improve students’ and teachers’ access to and familiarity with technology (26%), reduce costs (15%), support teachers (11%), facilitate competency-‐based learning (11%), or improve student non-‐academic outcomes (9%), as Figure 10 shows.
Figure 10. Additional reasons for implementing blended learning
Respondents also included comments on their reasons for implementing blending learning that focused primarily on providing support to at-risk students. REASONS FOR PLANNING TO IMPLEMENT BLENDED LEARNING If respondents were planning to implement blended learning, we asked them their reasons for wanting to implement blended learning. Their top three reasons, as depicted in Figure 11, were similar to those cited by the respondents who are already implementing blended learning.
Figure 11. Reasons for planning to implement blended learning
DEFINING STUDENT SUCCESS In a multiple-‐choice question, included on the follow-‐up survey, we asked respondents to select up to three options for how they defined success with blended learning. As Figure 12 illustrates, 61% of respondents said they defined success with blended learning as greater student engagement, compared to 40% who said they defined it as increased course completion rates or improved graduation rates.
Figure 12. How respondents gauge blended-‐learning success
Section 2: How Ohio schools and districts are using blended learning The survey asked respondents to describe how they were using blended learning, what models were they using, and in what grades were they blending.
High schools are using blended learning more than elementary or middle schools.
Based on those who responded to the survey, blended-‐learning implementation in Ohio is concentrated around cities (most districts and schools implementing or planning to implement blended learning are clustered around Cincinnati and Columbus).
About half of the respondents reported using the A La Carte and Rotation models.
Nearly two-‐fifths of respondents use more than one blended-‐learning model. A third said they use the Flex model, and about a fourth responded that they use the Enriched Virtual model.
Charter schools most often use the Flex model, whereas districts most often use the A La Carte model.
Elementary schools most often use the Rotation model, overwhelmingly so, with 67% indicating a preference for it. High schools (and schools that house grades K–12), however, most often use the A La Carte model and Rotation models.
Corresponding Data BLENDED-‐LEARNING MODELS When we asked which of the four blended models they were implementing, 39% of respondents said they were using more than one model. The A La Carte and Rotation models were used most often, whereas the Flex and Enriched Virtual models were used less often (see Figure 13). Although the A La Carte and Rotation models were present in 52% and 50% of the respondents’ schools, the data play out in very different ways when we look at it more closely.
Figure 13. Blended model distribution in Ohio
BLENDED-‐LEARNING MODELS BY GRADE SPAN When separating elementary schools from high schools (and schools that house grades K–12), we find that the Rotation model is the predominant model in elementary schools, and that 67% of respondents have employed it (see Figure 14). Furthermore, none of the elementary schools is using more than one blended model. In schools with secondary grades, the leading blended model is the A La Carte model, followed by the Rotation model. As Figure 15 shows, 55% of schools with secondary grades (K–12 and 9–12) use the A La Carte model and 48% use the Rotation model. In addition, 43% of schools with secondary grades use more than one model.
Figure 14. Percentage of blended models used in elementary schools Figure 15. Percentage of blended models used in secondary grades (K–12 and 9 –12) COMPARING BLENDED MODELS IN CHARTER SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS Use of blended-‐learning models varies between charter schools (which employ the Flex model at far greater rates) and districts (which primarily implement the A La Carte and Rotation models). As Figure 16 shows, 23% of charter schools use more than one model, compared to 49% of districts that use a single model.
Figure 16. Comparison of blended models used at charter schools and districts
GRADE LEVELS The majority of blended learning occurs in high schools, with a 91% participation rate among respondents in Ohio. In contrast, 43% of middle schools and 18% of elementary schools are blending (see Figure 17) . Additionally, 39% of respondents use blended learning in more than one grade span, and 14% blend in all grades.
Figure 17. Students enrolled in a blended program by grade span
LOCATION OF STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN BLENDED LEARNING Based on survey data from 21% of respondents, we estimated that over 40,000 students are participating in blended learning in Ohio. Students benefitting from blended learning, as reported by survey respondents, tend to be clustered in the urban areas of Ohio. Their distribution is illustrated in Figure 18, with red areas indicating higher numbers and green areas indicating lower numbers of students receiving blended-‐learning instruction. Cities with the greatest number of students benefitting from blended learning include Cincinnati and Columbus, with a smaller cluster located near Cleveland.
Figure 18. Geographical distribution of blended learning in Ohio
Section 3: Making the shift to blended learning The Ohio Blended Learning Survey asked respondents a number of questions about how they implemented blended learning, including questions on funding, planning, using consultants, providing professional development, and selecting digital content. These questions focused on the steps respondents did or did not take to implement blended learning, support its ongoing development, provide digital content, and make specific decisions about engaging professional development providers and other consultants.
Respondents more often (72%) use local funding to support their blended-‐learning programs, with a much smaller portion (28%) using a mix of local funds and grant funding or grant funding exclusively.
Nearly two-‐thirds of respondents indicated that they planned before implementing blended learning, whereas a third said they did not plan.
Most respondents who completed the follow-‐up survey indicated that they plan to expand their blended programs into additional classrooms (16%) and subjects (14%) or into multiple areas (26%). Additionally, 26% said they are not ready to expand the use of blended learning in their schools or districts.
Nearly half of respondents (48%) reported that they hired consultants to help them implement blended learning. Among those who did not hire a consultant, 49% reported that they felt confident in their in-‐house expertise to implement blended learning in their schools. Most of the consultants provided support for instruction, and they were selected primarily for their expertise and evidence of success in supporting others.
Nearly half of respondents (48%) provided professional development to blended-‐learning instructors, compared to 42% who did not provide any professional development.
The top five elements addressed in professional development were the online course delivery system (69%), instruction in the blended-‐learning definitions and models (68%), tailoring instruction to each student (63%), data use (56%), and routines and culture (50%).
Professional development was most often provided by the central office (28%), course software and LMS providers (28%), other teachers (27%), and other consultants (24%). By far, the most popular method to deliver professional development was in person, cited by 73% of respondents who offer blended-‐learning professional development to instructors.
The primary factors in the selection of digital content that respondents cited in the follow-‐up survey were cost savings (78%), data gathering and sharing/reporting capabilities (61%), and alignment to content standards (58%). In making their digital content selections, 90% used multiple factors.
Only 17% of respondents had teachers pilot the digital content prior to making a purchase, and just 5% engaged students in piloting initiatives.
Respondents who created their own digital content reported that the primary advantages were control (28%) and customization (24%) and the primary disadvantage was the lack of time to create and maintain the content (49%).
Corresponding Data PRIMARY DECISION MAKERS As Figure 19 depicts, half of the respondents to the follow-‐up survey indicated that superintendents are the primary decision makers for blended programs. In fact, the vast majority of decision makers are at the district/central office level. A third of all respondents listed multiple decision makers, including teachers and principals. School board members (3%), union representatives (2%), and department chairs (2%) wielded less decision-‐making power, according to respondents. Figure 19. Primary decision makers for blended programs
FUNDING FOR BLENDED PROGRAMS The majority of respondents use local funding to fund their blended-‐learning programs (72%), and 17% use a mix of local funds with grant funds (see Figure 20).
Figure 20. Funding sources for implementing blended programs
WAS THERE A PLANNING PROCESS? Overall, 64% of respondents indicated that they had planned prior to implementing blended learning (see Figure 21). Figure 21. Percentage of respondents who planned prior to implementing blended learning HOW RESPONDENTS PLANNED If respondents indicated that they had planned, we asked them to describe their planning processes. Figure 22 depicts the variety of responses, organized by theme: whole district planning (24%); primarily top-‐level administrators (19%); consultant, consortium, or university assistance (11%); primarily teacher-‐led (11%); and grant-‐funded/initiated (10%).
Figure 22. Blended-‐learning planning “approaches” used by respondents
CONDUCTING A COMMUNICATIONS OR COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PLAN When we asked respondents whether they conducted a communications or community engagement plan around blended learning, only 23% indicated that they did (see Figure 23). Figure 23. Percentage of respondents who conducted a communications or community engagement plan around blended learning SCALING BLENDED-‐LEARNING PROGRAMS Many respondents have begun or are considering expanding their blended-‐learning programs to other classrooms, grades, subjects, or schools (see Figure 24). In this multiple-‐choice question, we asked whether respondents were planning to expand their programs and, if so, how. Although 26% indicated that they are not ready to expand, the vast majority plans to increase blended-‐learning operations into additional classrooms (16%), subjects (14%), or schools (2%). Additionally, 26% plan to expand blended learning in multiple ways.
Figure 24. How or whether respondents plan to expand their blended programs
PARTNERING WITH CONSULTANTS We asked respondents whether they had partnered with a consultant, professional service, or technical assistance provider to implement blended learning. In all, 49% indicated that they had employed this additional support or expertise (see Figure 25). Figure 25. Percentage of respondents who partnered with a blended-‐learning consultant, professional service, or technical assistance provider to implement blended learning 30
ELECTING NOT TO WORK WITH A CONSULTANT If respondents did not partner with a consultant, we inquired as to their rationale. Half of the respondents felt that they had sufficient knowledge and skills to plan and implement their program; 16% worked closely with an online content provider; and 11% felt that they had insufficient funds to hire outside help. Overall, 35% of respondents who are currently planning to implement blended learning have hired a consultant. SERVICES PROVIDED BY CONSULTANTS If respondents hired a consultant, we asked them about the services provided (see Figure 26). Of the 55 who responded, 71% received instructional support to plan and implement professional development; 58% received design assistance, likely in the types of blended-‐learning models to implement; 55% received implementation and measurement support, which could include tracking key milestones, providing district-‐ and school-‐level support, tracking goals, and reporting to key stakeholders; and slightly more than half (51%) received strategic assistance in defining blended learning for their district or school, aligning key stakeholders, and setting goals. To a lesser extent, but still at 47%, respondents received planning support, including help with budgeting, timeline, key milestones, addressing gaps, tracking goals, and needed personnel. Figure 26. Services provided by consultants
Additionally, 67% of respondents who are currently planning to implement blended learning are using consultants to support instruction, including performing needs assessments and assisting with professional development. Other assistance included support with planning (44%), including help with budgeting, timeline, key milestones, addressing gaps, tracking goals, and/or need personnel; and program design (44%), likely in the types of blended-‐learning models to implement. 31
CRITERIA FOR SELECTING CONSULTANTS In a multiple-‐choice question, we asked respondents to choose up to three options that best described the criteria they used to select consultants. For this question, we combined those respondents who were planning to implement blended learning with those who already are. As Figure 27 shows, respondents largely selected consultants on the basis of expertise (62%) and evidence of success (56%). To a lesser extent, respondents considered whether consultants were cost effective (45%), if they had a previous relationship with the respondent (33%), or if they had received a recommendation from a colleague (19%). Figure 27. Criteria respondents use to select consultants
PROVIDING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TO BLENDED-‐LEARNING INSTRUCTORS As Figure 28 shows, 58% of respondents provide professional development to blended-‐learning instructors, and 42% do not. Figure 28. The percentage of respondents who provide professional development to blended-‐learning instructors
Although we did not gauge the quality of the professional development provided to blended-‐learning instructors (nor the competencies to be achieved), we did ask about both duration and content. The median number of hours of blended-‐learning professional development was 12. This means that half of all respondents provided 12 or fewer hours of training to their blended-‐learning instructors. As Figure 29 depicts, the training that was most frequently provided to blended-‐learning instructors was about the online course delivery system (LMS) (69%) or instruction in the blended-‐learning models and definitions (68%). Figure 29. Components of professional development provided to blended-‐learning instructors
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROVIDERS As Figure 30 shows, respondents relied primarily on their central office (28%); the course, software, or LMS provider (28%); other teachers (27%); or consultants (24%) to deliver professional development to blended-‐ learning instructors. Fewer respondents accessed training from professional learning networks (14%), higher education institutions (4%), regional educational service centers (4%), or the Ohio Department of Education or state-‐associated institutions (1%). Only 24% used more than one provider for professional-‐ development services. Figure 30. Providers used for blended-‐learning professional development PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT METHODS If respondents provided professional development to instructors, we asked about the modes they used to conduct the training. As Figure 31 shows, the vast majority (73%) of professional development was conducted in person. Figure 31. Primary modes used by respondents for professional development delivery
Of the 79% of respondents who elected “in-‐person” and/or “in-‐classroom context coaching” (24% selected both), we were interested in seeing whether they delivered synchronous or asynchronous online professional development in addition to their face-‐to-‐face professional development. As Figure 32 depicts, half of them did. Of those who provided in-‐person professional development, 34% also provided either synchronous or asynchronous online professional development. Of those who provided in-‐classroom coaching, 83% also provided online professional development. Of those who provided both in-‐person and in-‐classroom professional development, 74% also provided online professional development. Figure 32. Combinations of face-‐to-‐face and online modes of professional development delivery as indicated by respondents
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE DIGITAL CONTENT SELECTION As Figure 33 depicts, the primary digital content selection factors cited by respondents were cost/price (79%) and alignment to the content standards (57%). Also of great importance was the resource’s ease of use (41%). Only 17% of respondents had teachers pilot the content prior to purchasing, and just 5% of respondents used a student pilot to inform selections. As many as 90% of respondents indicated that they used multiple criteria to select digital content.
Figure 33. Factors that influence digital content selection
THE PROS AND CONS OF CREATING YOUR OWN DIGITAL CONTENT On the initial survey, 32% of respondents indicated that they create their own content (see Figure 34). Figure 34. Percentage of respondents who create the majority of their own digital content
In an open-‐ended question on the follow-‐up survey, we asked respondents who create the majority of their own digital content to describe the advantages and disadvantages of this approach. The primary perceived advantages that respondents cited to creating their own digital content were control (24%) and customization (28%). Respondents who create their own content feel that they can personalize it to meet their needs (“The content can be personalized to our curriculum versus a national basis”) and have control over the final product (“[We] know the content included in the curriculum, no surprises”). Less often reported as an advantage was cost savings (8%). The largest disadvantage, reported by 49% of respondents, was time. Respondents acknowledged that content development takes a great deal of teachers’ time (“Time spent on creation versus use”), and several indicated that content creation was a duplicative effort (“Way too much high-‐quality material in the marketplace to waste time creating your own”)—again alluding to the issue of time. Below is a sampling of specific responses, organized by theme, on the advantages and disadvantages of digital content creation: Advantages Control • “Ease of implementation tailored to our own students, able to adjust easier, accessing our own experts.” Cost • “As our teachers utilize open source materials, the cost for digital content created in house is very low compared to the purchase of commercial materials.”
Customizable • “Most of our digital content is created. We choose this option because it is always customizable. Being locked into a program, in which nothing can be changed, can be very frustrating and expensive.” • “We can continually amend and change it. We can use it in every platform without increasing costs. We can use our own online classes as supplements to traditional courses.” • “The advantages are rigorous and relevant courses that are more personalized to our students. Also, our courses are blended in delivery, with strong interaction between face-‐to-‐face and online content, resulting in strong teacher-‐student relationships.” Buy-‐in • “If we create it we own it so most likely there will be more buy in.” • “The positive is the autonomy provided the teaching staff.” Disadvantages Time • “Time to write effective programs with limited staff and high staff turnover.” • “Time consuming for teachers, teachers are not trained to be content creators.” • “Course development takes a great deal of time; however, we do share resources and content within the district.” Duplicative efforts • “Continually reinventing the wheel.” • “Way too much high-‐quality material in the marketplace to waste time creating your own.”
Section 4: Challenges and lessons learned The Ohio Blended Learning Survey asked respondents to reflect on their implementation of blended learning and identify challenge areas, problems encountered, and supports that would help them improve the quality of their program. In conclusion, we asked respondents to share what they would do differently if they could start over (lessons learned) with their blended learning program. Our approach deliberately probed at repeated themes across multiple questions (both closed and open-‐ ended) in order to better understand how respondents are perceiving the particular situations they are facing, and how they are making sense of the landscape.Their responses provide rich and valuable information deserving further reflection at the same time they illuminate an immediate need for a wider variety of resources and strategies to support high-quality implementation.
Respondents indicated that their top three challenges were finding high-‐quality professional development (36%), getting staff buy-‐in (34%), and funding blended-‐learning programs (32%). Less often cited as challenges were measuring implementation (18%) and providing sufficient and reliable Internet connections (12%).
Nearly half of respondents (48%) indicated they encountered the problem of not having enough time to shift to blended learning, while 27% cited the problem of getting staff buy-‐in, and 20% felt that professional development is too expensive.
A third of respondents who implemented blended learning identified a need for support in terms of more planning or networking with other blended schools. A fourth (24%) said they needed support in finding high-‐quality professional development specific to blended-‐ learning programs. Nineteen percent cited a need for financial assistance.
When asked more specifically about additional budget and/or personnel resources needed to support their blended-‐learning programs, about a fourth of respondents indicated they did not need additional budget and/or personnel resources, 20% cited that more funding for professional development was needed, and 17% said support was needed for infrastructure improvements, mostly in terms of additional computer devices.
In terms of lessons learned, a third of respondents (33%) wished they had planned more thoroughly to include more stakeholders in the planning process and to take more time to create their blended learning programs. About a quarter of respondents (28%) wished they had provided more professional development to blended-‐learning instructors before they implemented their programs. Twenty-‐one percent of respondents were satisfied with their blended-‐learning implementation and would not do anything differently.
Corresponding Data NEED MORE HIGH-‐QUALITY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT When we provided a list of possible challenges to respondents and asked them to select their top three, the problems they most frequently cited were finding high-‐quality professional development for blended-‐ learning instructors (36%), getting buy-‐in from staff (34%), and securing funding for blended-‐learning programs (32%), as is depicted in Figure 35.
Figure 35. Blended-learning implementation challenges faced by respondents 40
NOT ENOUGH TIME TO SHIFT TO BLENDED When we asked respondents what problems they had encountered while implementing blended learning, 48% cited not enough time to shift to blended, 27% said getting staff buy-‐in, and 20% cited expensive professional development (see Figure 36). From the 31 respondents that listed multiple problems, three clusters emerged. One cluster indicated that expensive professional development and staff buy-‐in were problematic; another cluster cited insufficient time and staff buy-‐in; and the third group selected expensive professional development and not enough time. Many respondents listed other challenges within the comment field, including technology issues with Internet access and bandwidth, both at school and at students’ homes, getting students to complete digital content, and responding to changes in classroom culture. “We didn’t know what we didn’t know, and we are continually learning and changing our best practices,” wrote one respondent. Figure 36. Problems encountered during blended-‐learning implementation
NEED TO PLAN, NETWORK, AND SHARE MORE One question posed to participants asked them to identify any supports that would help them further the quality of their blended learning program. As depicted in Figure 37, 33% of respondents requested support with planning or networking with other blended programs; 24% requested support with high-‐quality professional development specific to blended learning; 19% requested support with financial assistance for program implementation; and 7% requested support for additional time (specifically, time for planning, delivering professional development, and networking). 41
Figure 37. Areas for support, identified by respondents, that would advance the quality of their blended programs
Below is a sampling of specific responses, organized by theme, on areas of support requested/identified by respondents. Planning and networking (33%) • “A lot of resources seem to lean toward a focus on starting a system from the ground zero. I would like more help in transforming an already existing system into a more blended model.” • “I would love examples and models from top-‐performing blended model schools! To hear what works for them would be very beneficial.” • “Site visits to other schools that are implementing at the elementary level.” Professional development (24%) • “Free teacher professional development through our regional Educational Service Center.” • “Professional development is our biggest need. Finding time and resources for that professional development are the biggest issues.” Financial assistance (19%) • “Easy to come by grants to support the start up costs and PD associated with beginning in blended learning.” • “Dollars to support the implementation of blended learning into other content areas besides math.” Advice on resources (7%) • “A comprehensive list of highly rated vendors that can offer one-‐stop shopping. We want our curriculum to be comprehensive and able to be accessed anytime anywhere. We want curriculum for our virtual academy, resources for our teachers and access to classes we can put students on for acceleration.”
Time (7%) • “A need for ‘release time’ to have all stakeholders share successes and challenges they have had. Taking the knowledge gained to restructure the educational settings to foster a true blended learning environment. That restructuring from "lesson learned" needs an expert to facilitate the discussion.” • “Time to release staff to work continuously on the development of their blended-‐learning course without having to fit this work around a full teaching schedule. Ability to replace staff for half a teaching load for a semester concentration on development.” MANY OK ON SUPPORT, BUT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE CITED Figure 38 depicts some of the answers to the open-‐ended question on the follow-‐up survey asking respondents what additional resources they required for implementation sorted into six categories. Figure 38. Additional budget or personnel resources needed to support blended-‐learning goals and implementation
Professional development (20%) • “Professional Development support, which would include stipends for bringing teachers in during the summer, and trainers.” • “Professional Development time for understanding and implementation of, including best practices and how to make this as beneficial as possible for students, while not a burdensome task for educators.” • “We are developing our Digital Learning Specialists (formerly known and functioning as Media Specialists … now more like Digital Learning Coaches) to support the teachers over time with implementation.”
Infrastructure (17%) • “Bandwidth required.” • “Additional funding is required to realize a 1:1 environment to provide personalized blended-‐ learning devices.” • “Funding to complete the restructuring of the physical wired and wireless network to streamline services and reliability.” • “Hardware and a plan to support high student volume on devices; professional.” • “We would need additional monies to purchase digital frameworks/platforms to support blended learning.” • “We are offering room redesign incentives for teachers that include additional furniture and equipment.” PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR SCHOOL AND SENIOR DISTRICT LEADERSHIP In another open-‐ended question, also on the follow-‐up survey, we hoped to discover whether leaders, particularly those at the district level, received blended-‐learning professional development. Although 42% responded to the question, most answers were fairly general about the types of supports provided to school and district leaders. In addition, the majority of the comments referenced professional development that was provided to instructors, not leaders. From these data, we found that just under a third (31%) of respondents provided some type of blended-‐learning professional development to school or district leaders, another 31% provided general professional development not specific to blended learning to school or district leaders, 20% offered no support to school or district leaders, and 14% only referenced training provided to instructors. Below is a sampling of specific responses, organized by theme, on blended-‐learning leadership professional development. Leadership professional development •
“We have consistently trained our principals, curriculum director, and teachers on Next Generation Learning Environments, Blended Learning, and effective technology integration. Several teachers are certified through the Quality Matters blended-‐learning model, while others continue to learn from a variety of resources available.” “We provide a complete training program for everyone from registrar to faculty to learning center coaches. We train all the unique positions on the interaction between digital and faculty instruction. Professional development is at the start of the school, throughout the year, as new staff come on board, and refreshers.” “Principals get an overview of the program, as well as learned how to pull reports for monitoring progress and overall completion numbers. Blended-‐learning director gets the same overview and then very in depth training on adding and deleting staff and students, various reporting features, resources attached to the programming and curriculum, and options available as an add on. District officials get a demo and an overview. Board members get a demo of programming and updates on progress.”
Teacher professional development • “Teachers are being provided training using Blended (Horn and Staker) and other resources provided by blended-‐learning consultant.” • “We had a group from a University come last school year and train our high school staff. This summer our high school staff will be training our 4–6 staff as their students will be issued iPads for learning in the fall.” WHAT WOULD RESPONDENTS DO DIFFERENTLY? PLAN MORE An open-‐ended question in the initial blended survey asked respondents what they would do differently (lessons learned) if they could start over with their blended programs. Repeating themes from throughout the survey, 33% of respondents wished they had planned more thoroughly, included more stakeholders in the planning process, or taken more time to create a comprehensive program (see Figure 39). More than a quarter of respondents (28%) wished they had initially provided more professional development to blended instructors. Twenty-‐one percent of respondents were satisfied with their blended learning implementation and would do nothing differently. Figure 39. What respondents would do differently if they had the chance to start over with their blended programs
Below is a sampling of specific comments, organized by theme, on what respondents would do differently if they had the chance to start over with their blended programs: Planning • “Involve teachers sooner in the implementation of Blended Learning.” • “Make it less on an "add on" and more integral to department and student success.” • “Reach out to the community more about the need and purpose.”
Professional development • “Help teachers organize students so that they truly understand blended is about individualizing instruction. How can this be truly successful?” • “Lead with more professional development for staff. Provide more examples of how blended learning looks and how it works.” • “I would have teachers participate in an online course to learn about the ideas and concepts behind blended learning by doing it.” • “More professional development on what blended learning is and less on the creation of content and use of an LMS.” Technology • “With hindsight, I wish we had realized just how much support for the tech is required in a 1:1 environment.” • “Conduct a comprehensive review of platforms and delivery models.” • “Ensure that the infrastructure was adequate to provide a stable environment that would permit a large number of users simultaneous access to resources.” • “For our blended learning to be effective, we need to improve technology connections and have enough computers to have a computer lab classroom.”
Ohio Blended Learning Survey Instrument The Ohio Blended Learning Survey is being conducted by the Ohio Blended Learning Network, in collaboration with The Learning Accelerator and the Clayton Christensen Institute. We’re gathering a variety of data about how and why charter schools and districts are blending their learning in order to inform policymakers, foundations, and professional associations about the best ways to assist your work. Respondents not currently implementing blended learning, or that are in the planning stages, only need to complete the first eight questions. Deadline: March 20, 2015 Full-‐time Virtual School • Students take all their courses online away from school. • Students do not visit a physical campus, except to take assessments. Blended Learning Blended learning typically takes place at school, where students have some control over time, place, path and/or pace. There are four identified modes. • Rotation: Students rotate, on a fixed schedule in a course, between learning online and learning from a face-‐to-‐face teacher. Rotation includes teachers who “Flip” their class. • To count use of supplemental and/or Internet resources as blended, students must rotate between them and a classroom on a fixed schedule within an individual course or subject. • A-‐la-‐carte (formerly Self Blend): Students choose to take one or more online courses to supplement their schedules and the teacher of record is online. • Enriched Virtual: Independent study or other students who take all their online courses at home but visit a physical campus to meet with a teacher. • Flex: Students take a majority of their courses online at school in an individually customized, fluid schedule and on-‐site teachers or paraprofessionals provide support. The courses often direct students to offline activities. What is NOT blended learning: Participation in supplemental electronic activities or technology-‐rich activities that don’t fit the definitions above. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Person completing the survey Your Title Email Address County Name District or Charter Name District or charter school grade levels: (K-‐5, K-‐6, or K-‐8) (9-‐12 or K-‐12) Are you a charter school? Do students at your charter school or district participate in blended learning or full-‐time online learning? If yes, continue to Q9. 47
If no, “Is your district or charter school currently discussing or planning to implement blended learning? If , “why not?” If yes, “Please list any programs or models that you are planning to pilot or implement.” 9. What are your reasons for implementing blended learning (select up to three)? a) To provide more course choices g) To support teachers for students h) To reduce costs b) To create more personalized learning i) To improve (students’ and teachers’) c) To facilitate more personalized access to and familiarity with technology student learning j) To improve (students’ and teachers’) d) To facilitate competency-‐based learning access to content e) To improve student academic outcomes k) I don’t know f) To improve student non-‐academic l) Other (please specify) outcomes 10. Do you currently conduct a communications or community engagement plan around blended learning?
11. Before implementing blended learning, did you go through a planning process? If yes, “Please tell us about your planning.” 12. Did you partner with a blended learning consultant, a professional service, or a technical assistance provider? If no, proceed to Q15
13. What type of services did your blended learning consultant, professional services, or technical assistance provider provide? (Check all that apply) a) Strategy (defining blended learning for your district/school, aligning key stakeholders setting goals) b) Planning (budgeting, timeline, key milestones, how goals will be tracked, personnel needed, gaps that need to be addressed) c) Design (what types of blended learning models, etc.) d) Implementation support and measurement (tracking key milestones, providing district and school level support, tracking goals, reporting to key stakeholders) e) Instructional (plan and implement/assist with implementing professional development based on needs assessment) f) Other 14. On what basis did you select that partner? (Up to three) a) Expertise d) Cost effective b) Previous relationship e) Recommendation of a colleague c) Evidence of success supporting other f) Other schools/districts
15. Which blended learning models are being utilized in your charter school or district? (Check all that apply) a) Rotation: Students rotate, on a fixed schedule in a course, between learning online and learning from a face-‐to-‐face teacher. Rotation includes teachers who “Flip” their class. To count use of supplemental and/or Internet resources as blended, students must rotate between them and a classroom on a fixed schedule within an individual course or subject. b) A-‐la-‐carte: Students choose to take one or more online courses to supplement their schedules and the teacher of record is online. c) Enriched Virtual: Independent study, SB316, or other students who take all their online courses at home but visit a physical campus to meet with a teacher. d) Flex: Students take a majority of their courses online at school in an individually customized, fluid schedule and on-‐site teachers or paraprofessionals provide support. The courses often direct students to offline activities. e) Other (please describe): If your blended learning model is not described above, please insert a brief description here. f) Don’t know 16. Students in which grade levels participate in blended learning? (Check all that apply) a) Grades K-‐5 b) Grades 6-‐8 c) Grades 9-‐12 17. How many students are participating in blended learning during the 2014-‐2015 school year? 18. Does your charter school or district provide professional development, specific to blended learning? a) Yes b) No 19. How many hours of professional development were provided for teachers in the last year? 20. What components have been included in teachers’ professional development for blended learning? (Select all that apply) a) Instruction in blended learning definitions h) Online course delivery system (LMS) and models i) In the behavioral, social, and when b) Tailoring instruction to each Student necessary, emotional, aspects of the c) Competency-‐based learning learning environment d) Routines and culture j) Support and use of a variety of e) Data use communication modes to stimulate f) Mindset student engagement online. g) Content selection k) Other (Please specify)
21. Who provided the majority of teacher professional development for blended learning? (Top three) a) Course, software or LMS provider e) Department of Education or state-‐ b) Central office associated institution c) Consultant, professional services or f) Regional education service center technical assistance provider g) Teacher-‐led d) Professional learning network h) Higher Education institution i) Other 22. What delivery methods primarily characterized teacher professional development for blended learning? (Up to three) a) Online, synchronous (everyone online at c) In-‐person the same time) d) Professional learning network b) Online, asynchronous (participants and e) Peer study/teaming instructor not necessarily online at the f) In-‐classroom context coaching same time) 23. What are the top three challenges areas you face in your blended learning implementation efforts? a) High quality professional development for teachers b) High quality professional development for principals c) High quality professional services/technical assistance supporting model design d) High quality professional services/technical assistance supporting implementation e) Guidance and/or support in selecting devices f) Guidance and/or support in selecting content g) Guidance and/or support in selecting LMS h) Reliable and sufficient Internet connectivity i) Network or community of practice j) Examples to look to of emerging, successful models in Ohio k) Buy-‐in of staff l) Buy-‐in of community m) Funding and/or finance n) The right personnel and partners to implement with high-‐quality o) BL not being a high priority in our district p) Measuring implementation and progress to your goals q) Other 24. How is your blended learning program funded? a) Local funds b) Short term grant c) Long term grant d) Mix of local funds with grant funding e) Other
25. What problems have you encountered as you’ve implemented blended learning? a) Professional development too expensive b) Hard to get staff buy in c) Cost of technology d) Can't find technical assistance e) Not enough time to shift to blended f) Other 26. What (if any) kinds of support would help you further a high quality blended learning program? 27. What would you do differently if you could start over with your blended program?
Ohio Blended Learning Follow-‐up Survey Instrument 1. Who in your charter or district is primarily making key decisions regarding your blended learning implementation? a) Superintendent b) Chief Academic Officer c) Assistant Superintendent(s) d) Principal(s) e) Blended Learning Director f) Teacher(s) g) Chief Technology Officer h) Director of Technology i) Department Chair(s) j) Director of Curriculum and Instruction k) School Board Member(s) l) Union Representative(s) m) Other 2. What additional budget and/or personnel resources are needed to support your initiative's current goals and implementation? Answer "NONE" if no additional personnel or budget resources are needed. 3. What training, guidance or professional development is provided to the following kinds of staff and/or leadership? Principals, Blended Learning Director or Coach(s), Senior District Officials and/or Board Members 4. How do you define student success with blended learning? a) Improved course completion rates b) Improved graduation rates c) Improved academic grades d) Improved academic test scores e) Improved social/emotional learning f) Improved student well being g) Improved student time on task h) Improved student conduct/behavior i) Greater student engagement j) Greater student autonomy k) Uncertain l) None m) Other
5. What factors influence your choice of digital content? Select NO MORE than Three. a) Cost/Price b) Open Educational Resources (OER) c) Vendor demonstration d) Data illustrating effectiveness, supplied by curriculum provider illustrating effectiveness e) Data illustrating effectiveness, supplied by another source f) Ease of use g) Data gathering and sharing/reporting capabilities h) Visual appeal i) Alignment to content standards j) Data gathering and sharing/reporting capabilities k) Colleague recommendation l) Teacher pilot m) Teacher recommendation n) Student pilot o) None p) Other 6. IF you create the MAJORITY of your own digital content, what are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach? 7. If you plan to expand blended learning within your charter or district, which best describes your approach to scale? If you DON'T currently plan to expand, we have that answer too. a) Not ready to expand b) Expanding the number of classrooms blending learning c) Expanding the number of subjects blending learning d) Expanding the number of grade levels blending learning e) Expanding the number of schools blending learning f) Some combination of b, c, d, and/or e g) Other
Blended Learning Resources PLANNING Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools http://www.amazon.com/Blended-‐Disruptive-‐Innovation-‐Improve-‐Schools/dp/1118955153 Blended and Personalized Learning 101 https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-‐content/ssf-‐cci Blended Learning Implementation Guide 3.0 http://learningaccelerator.org/media/b9087e9c/BLIG-‐3.0-‐FINAL.pdf Clayton Christensen Institute Blended Learning Universe (BLU) http://www.blendedlearning.org/resources/ Is K–12 blended learning disruptive? An introduction to the theory of hybrids. http://www.christenseninstitute.org/publications/hybrids/ So You Think You Want to Innovate? http://learningaccelerator.org/media/29004d8f/Assessing percent20Culture percent20of percent20Innovation_2Rev-‐TLA__10.9_final.pdf The Learning Accelerator’s Framework for Cultivating High-‐Quality Blended Learning at the State Level http://learningaccelerator.org/media/1df83261/TLA SFWa V1_080514_fin.pdf 90-Day Cycle Handbook http://cdn.carnegiefoundation.org/wp-‐content/uploads/2014/09/90DC_Handbook_external_10_8.pdf
DIGITAL CONTENT Teachers Know Best http://www.teachersknowbest.org Graphite https://www.graphite.org
OPEN EDUCATION RESOURCES (OER) CK-‐12 http://www.ck12.org
EngageNY https://www.engageny.org Gooru http://www.goorulearning.org OER Commons https://www.oercommons.org The K-‐12 OER Collaborative http://k12oercollaborative.org
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT BetterLesson’s Blended Master Teacher Project http://betterlesson.com/blended iNACOL’s Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework http://learningaccelerator.org/media/e9a8d34d/iNACOL-‐Blended-‐Learning-‐Teacher-‐Competency-‐ Framework%20(1).pdf Relay Graduate School of Education Blended Learning Modules https://learn.relay.edu/modules The New Teacher Project’s (TNTP) Reimagining Teaching in a Blended Classroom http://learningaccelerator.org/media/3c5be7aa/ TNTP_Blended_Learning_WorkingPaper_2014.pdf
NETWORK/CONNECTIVITY EducationSuperHighway’s Network Essentials for Superintendents http://www.educationsuperhighway.org/networkessentials/ New Jersey Digital Readiness for Learning Assessment Project Broadband Report http://www.mresc.k12.nj.us/dynimg/_JHAAA_/docid/0x096206D67ED04A84/54/NJDRLAPa Broadband%2BReport%2B17JUL15v1.pdf
STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT Blended Learning Messaging http://learningaccelerator.org/media/37af016b/BL percent20Messaging.pdf Communications Planning for Blended Learning: Step-By-Step Guide http://learningaccelerator.org/media/06422b04/TLA_CommsPlanningForBL_FIN.pdf
HARDWARE Education Element’s Hardware Analysis: Choosing the Right Hardware for Your District http://www.edelements.com/download-‐the-‐hardware-‐selection-‐whitepaper
PROCUREMENT EdTech Procurement in Houston ISD http://learningaccelerator.org/media/fc2ec2cf/EdTechPurchasingSnapshot-‐FINAL-‐June2014.pdf Smart Series Guide to EdTech Procurement http://learningaccelerator.org/media/e84c8453/Procurement-‐Guide-‐FINAL.pdf
RESEARCH Blended Learning Measurement Framework http://learningaccelerator.org/media/730f78ec/TLA BL Measurement Framework.pdf Research Clearinghouse http://learningaccelerator.org/media/12132951/BL%20Research%20Clearinghouse%201.0-‐ 050715%20(1).pdf District Guide to Blended Learning Measurement http://learningaccelerator.org/media/ee57b948/DistrictGuidetoBLMsrmnt.pdf Proof Points: Blended Learning Success in School Districts http://www.christenseninstitute.org/publications/proof-‐points/#sthash.F4KAlxZz.dpuf
COMPETENCY EDUCATION Implementing Competency Education in K–12 Systems http://www.competencyworks.org/wp-‐ content/uploads/2015/06/iNCL_CWIssueBrief_Implementing_v5_web.pdf The Shift from Cohorts to Competency http://digitallearningnow.com/site/uploads/2014/05/CB-‐Paper-‐Final.pdf Why Does Proficiency Matter? http://www.whyproficiencymatters.com
AUTHORS AND ORGANIZATIONAL BIOS
Thomas Arnett Thomas Arnett is a Research Fellow in Education at the Clayton Christensen Institute. Thomas’ research focuses on the changing roles of teachers in blended learning environments and other innovative educational models. He also studies how teacher education and professional development are shifting to support the evolving needs of teachers and school systems. Additionally, he examines policies and innovations affecting technology access and infrastructure. Thomas previously worked as an Education Pioneers Fellow with the Achievement First Public Charter Schools, where he designed and piloted a blended-‐learning summer school program. He also taught middle school math and experimented with blended-‐learning models as a Teach For America corps member in the Kansas City Missouri School District. Thomas received a BS in Economics from Brigham Young University. He also earned an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a William G. McGowan Fellow. Andrew Benson Andrew Benson founded Smarter Schools in 2013 after nearly two decades working on education reform, and he created the Ohio Blended Learning Network in 2014, which includes 60 Ohio schools and districts representing more than 275,000 students. He was most recently Vice President of KnowledgeWorks and Executive Director of Ohio Education Matters, the Ohio subsidiary for KnowledgeWorks. At KnowledgeWorks, Andrew spearheaded the Ohio Smart Schools effort to improve efficiency and effectiveness of K–12 education in the state, and he has supported the state over the past 10 years on numerous reform efforts, including the Ohio Race to the Top grant proposal (2010), the Governor's Institute on Creativity and Innovation in Education (2009), the Governor's Transition Committee for Higher Education (2006) and the State Board's High School Task Force (2004–05). Andrew was previously the founding President of the New Ohio Institute, a statewide think tank studying education, economic development, and community development. Prior to that, he was a journalist in Cleveland, Houston and several other cities. He holds a Master's in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a Master's in Journalism from the Ohio State University, and a Bachelor's in Journalism from Ohio University. Brian Bridges Brian Bridges is an eLearning consultant based in California and organizes the eLearning Strategies Symposium, California’s only conference solely focused on K–12 online and blended learning. He also conducts the annual California eLearning Census. Brian recently retired as the director of the California Learning Resource Network, a state-‐funded program that reviews online courses, electronic learning resources, and open educational resources to verity their connection to the Common Core State Standards, California’s other academic standards, and for California’s social and legal compliance criteria. He is past president of California’s Computer Using Educators (CUE), an organization of 4,000 educators, and writes a regular column for their newsletter. Before that, Brian was a junior high school teacher for 20 years and taught English, drama, and computers. He holds a Master’s in Education Technology from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor’s in Theater Arts, English, and Science from San Francisco State University.
Katrina Bushko Katrina is a research assistant for the Clayton Christensen Institute. As an integral member of the education team she provides research and writing support to the Institute's fellows. Katrina's work focuses primarily on teacher certification, professional development in education, and student social capital. She also keeps the Institute apprised of national and statewide policy developments in blended learning and education technology. Katrina has a BA in political philosophy from Princeton University. Lisa Duty Lisa Duty is a Partner at The Learning Accelerator where she directs state strategy, partnerships, and investments. Lisa has over 15 years experience in education strategy, policy, and school design with deep expertise in future trends in teaching and learning. Her current work supports state actors in reimagining their roles, missions, and the ways education systems can be rebuilt for innovation and high performance. Prior to joining TLA, Lisa was Senior Director of Innovation at KnowledgeWorks where she led the design of a new blended education model and authored numerous pieces of legislation related to digital and blended learning in Ohio. Lisa spent several years as a consultant for the Ohio Department of Education leading work on multi-‐district programs supporting secondary school transformation and urban redesign. She was also a lecturer and adjunct faculty member at the Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology and was a high school teacher for several years early in her career. Lisa received a PhD in Global Education from The Ohio State University. Saro Mohammed Saro Mohammed is a Partner at The Learning Accelerator. She has a decade of experience in education research and external evaluations of programs implemented in public, private, and non-‐profit settings. Saro leads TLA’s work on measuring impact and evaluating implementation of blended learning initiatives. Prior to joining TLA, Saro was assistant director of two research units in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Since 2008, she has worked directly with more than 20 school districts, either in a research or program evaluation context; and one-‐on-‐one with more than 10 states in a technical assistance/capacity building role. Saro also volunteers at the United Way for Greater Austin, serving on their Target Graduation Strategic Advisory Council and their research working group. She holds a PhD in educational psychology from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Science in brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Clayton Christensen Institute The Clayton Christensen Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to improving the world through disruptive innovation. Founded on the theories of Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen, the Institute offers a unique framework for understanding many of society’s most pressing problems. Our mission is ambitious but clear: work to shape and elevate the conversation surrounding these issues through rigorous research and public outreach. With an initial focus on education and health care, the Christensen Institute is redefining the way policymakers, community leaders, and innovators address the problems of our day by distilling and promoting the transformational power of disruptive innovation. The Learning Accelerator The Learning Accelerator is the catalyst to transform American K-‐12 education through blended learning on a national scale. We envision a future in which every school in the country implements high-‐quality blended learning and all students receive an outstanding education, enabling them to reach their potential. Our role as a catalyst involves being both an architect and an investor: we cultivate solutions to overcome the barriers to implementing blended learning in schools and work directly with districts and states to develop implementation strategies that can be scaled and shared with school districts nationwide. Ohio Blended Learning Network The Ohio Blended Learning Network is an affiliation of 60 Ohio schools, districts and support organizations, representing more than 275,000 students, that want to implement high-‐quality blended learning in their classrooms. The Network is chaired by Matthew Miller, Superintendent of Mentor Public Schools, and it is sponsored by Smarter Schools.