Bright Spots Shine in Online Blended Learning
Horn's second article, which mentions KIPP and Khan Academy:
A month has passed since the first-ever national Digital Learning Day. Given the excitement generated from teachers and others tuning in to the National Town Hall meeting and given today's National Leadership Summit on Online Learning up on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. that iNACOL sponsored, I thought it was worth noting some great examples that weren't highlighted during the day's festivities. To our friends in the field, these examples are familiar, but they remind us that what is so exciting about technology is the power that it holds to move our education system toward a student-centric model of learning where students can move at their own path and pace to boost student outcomes.
KIPP Empower Academy is a Los Angeles-based elementary school that opened in 2010. It currently serves kindergarteners and 1st graders, and it plans to grow by one grade each year up to 4th grade. A blended-learning school, students rotate between individualized online-learning, and small-group stations within each classroom. In the school's first year, its now 1st-grade students experienced some notable results. As reported on its website, "Though many students at KIPP Empower Academy entered kindergarten without basic letter and number recognition skills, by the end of the year, 98 percent were reading and performing math at or above the national average." Not only that, but many students were also reading at a "2.5" grade level and performing math almost at the 3rd-grade level. And reported teacher satisfaction at the school was sky high.
…The Los Altos School District began using the Khan Academy last year in a handful of 5th-grade and two 7th-grade classrooms to blend its math learning. This year the district has incorporated Khan Academy into its math curriculum for all 5th- through 8th-grade students—about 1,000 in all. With Khan Academy, teachers are able to individualize learning for each child based on real-time data. The blended-learning environment in Los Altos schools allows for seamless targeted intervention and flexible groupings, as well as real collaboration among students—all of which allows them to exercise their own student voice and choice.