Blended Learning Takes Flight in Colo. Districts: How High Will It Soar?
The great blended learning experiment continues its historic ascension in our beautiful Rocky Mountain state. Independence Institute education senior fellow Krista Kafer has documented it better than anyone. Last year it was The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning in Colorado.
Apparently, the not-so-long-ago, cutting-edge sphere of blended learning has not just made it past the ground level but is heading into the lofty (or should I say friendly?) skies. Just this week my Education Policy Center friends released Krista’s awaited sequel School District Partnerships Help Colorado K-12 Blended Learning Take Flight.
Take flight? Can’t you picture me wearing my goggles, flying a World War I-era Sopwith Camel? Better yet, behind the controls of a state-of-the-art Rocketship heading to explore strange new worlds in outer space? Or maybe just playing in the back yard (away from power lines) with my new kite? Seriously, though, Krista’s report follows the action in some key places in various parts of the state:
- Greeley-Evans 6: Remember last summer when that little girl in the green shirt brought some blended learning successes to Greeley’s attention?
- Falcon 49: If you gave me a quarter for every time I wrote about Falcon 49 innovation, I’d have a Happy Meal and quite a bit left over for arcade fun, or maybe I could buy a small Lego set?
- St. Vrain: Among other things, it looks like they are scaling a lot of Flipped Classrooms, part of a “skyrocketing” trend nationwide
- San Luis Valley: It’s actually a collaboration among 14 different districts in this poor part of Colorado — another interesting reason to pick up a copy of Krista’s new paper.
The timing of the new report is great. Set aside the fact that it’s summer and not as many people are paying attention. I’m talking about Joanne Jacobs’ new Education Next story on a growing blended learning pilot program in Oakland, California. “Beyond the Factory Model” blew me away with some of the similarities.
While it’s too early to register many results, Oakland’s experiences are encouraging. The first year of implementation was rough, but things seem to be looking up. How fitting is it that Krista’s new paper has a great and thorough section with insights on how to make implementation work better?
If Oakland can get it done, there’s no reason why the featured Colorado school districts couldn’t succeed with their respective ventures. It all remains to be seen. But wouldn’t it be neat to see an Education Next story someday in the near future about blended learning in… say, Greeley?