Blended learning that combines digital instruction with live, accountable teachers holds unique promise to improve student outcomes dramatically. Schools will not realize this promise at large scale with technology improvements alone, though, or with technology and today’s typical teaching roles. In this brief, we explain how schools can use blended learning to encourage improvements in digital instruction, transform teaching into a highly paid, opportunity-rich career that extends the reach of excellent teachers to all students and teaching peers, and improve student learning at large scale. We call this a “better blend”: combining high-quality digital learning and excellent teaching. Schools can immediately pursue a better blend at small scale. To achieve excellent learning at scale, state policymakers must change state policy to enable and incentivize a better blend in large numbers of schools. These policies must address five categories: funding, people, accountability for learning, technology and student data, and timing and scalability.
The digital revolution is transforming our work, our organisations and our daily lives. This revolution is already in homes across the developed world and increasingly in the developing world too. And there, it is transforming the way children and young people play, access information, communicate with each other and learn. But, so far, this revolution has not
transformed most schools or most teaching and learning in classrooms.
Where technology is used, research findings on its impact on learner outcomes are disappointing. The technological revolution however, does not allow us to abandon our ambition to use technology in classrooms. Nor can we go back to teaching the way we have been so far: the teacher at the front transmitting knowledge and the children listening quietly. The research on brain activity by Rosalind Picard and her colleagues at MIT’s Media Lab suggests that students’ brain activity is nearly non-existent during lectures - even lower than when they are asleep. Lectures equal brain “flatlining” and, as Professor Eric Mazur of Harvard University’s Physics Department puts it, students “are more asleep during lectures than when they are in bed!”
Evaluation of the Texas Technology Emmersion Pilot - Classroom Observation Report
Piscataquis Community High School Study - Final Report 2/1/2004
Early Effect and Plans for Future Evaluation 12/1/2003
Teacher, Student and School Perspectives 3/13/2003
Anytime, Anywhere Learning - Final evaluation report of the laptop program: Year 3 12/1/2003