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Why personalized learning is hard to study

The Christensen Institute

This week saw the release of the third in a series of personalized learning studies conducted by the RAND Foundation. The research analyzed implementation, survey, and efficacy data in a sample of schools that are part of the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) portfolio, and compared that data to a national sample of schools. The findings? NGLC schools yielded some positive academic results, but educators and administrators reported numerous challenges.

5 big ideas for education innovation in 2018

The Christensen Institute

Last year saw a flurry of activity in support of personalized learning, new school designs, and new approaches to K-12 education policy. Looking ahead, education innovators have their work cut out for them in 2018. Some of this work requires asking hard questions. Some requires acknowledging that there’s an elephant in the room. And some requires looking beyond our current conversation to where the next waves of innovation stand to emerge.

Should schools ban spiral notebooks?

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From the first-hand experiences of millions of students and teachers worldwide, it’s clear that paper notebooks are a deterrent to quality education. For generations, students have used them in class to scribble or doodle, pass messages to their friends, or construct wads, planes, and spitball projectiles. Given the numerous ways students can use their notebooks to derail learning, it’s a wonder that most schools still permit them in class, right? Hold on a sec.

Gawande’s listening. But can he disrupt healthcare?

The Christensen Institute

Image: Atul Gawande | Wikimedia Commons: Amar Karodkar. Buffet, Bezos and Dimon have found their man. Five months after the respective chiefs of Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and J.P. Morgan Chase jointly founded a venture to reduce the cost of healthcare in the U.S.,

5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

SXSW EDU 2019 PanelPicker

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The SXSW EDU PanelPicker is back again! This year, learn more about the proposed SXSWEDU 2019 panels featuring the latest research from Thomas Arnett, Julia Freeland Fisher, Alana Dunagan, and Richard Price. Discover what our team is bringing to the K-12 and higher education conversation.

Pushing the Limits on Instagram in 2018

The Christensen Institute

Join the Instagram party and be sure to know your limits. Instagram limits can be deceiving and rewarding. Ready to get the most out of Instagram for your brand? Join the crowd of about 1 billion others who made Instagram the fastest growing social network in history.

Eliminating global poverty starts with investment in innovators

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Image: People using lights powered by Off-Grid:Electric’s solar service, mPower | Flickr: Power Africa. If the U.S.

Let’s retire the ‘gifted-and-talented’ label

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Earlier this year the Fordham Institute wrote about the challenge of the gifted gap in our nation’s schools. Put simply, gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds too often are not identified as gifted, which causes them to lose out on access to a variety of gifted-and-talented programs at their local schools that could accelerate their development and social and economic opportunities.

A thorn in the side of education innovation

The Christensen Institute

This is the third post in a three-part series on strategies for expanding the impact of schools and teachers. The other posts in the series are available at the following links: part 1 , part 2. Innovation is the key to real and lasting progress in education, but it isn’t easy to get right. In principle, innovation allows schools to push past time and resource constraints so teachers can accomplish more with their students.

How teachers can go blended (when they’re the only one)

The Christensen Institute

About the author: Casey Lynch is a K-12 education research intern with the Christensen Institute focused on interviewing and profiling schools in the Blended Learning Universe Directory, and a rising 8th grade English teacher in The School District of Philadelphia. Many teachers interested in implementing blended learning may be deterred by challenges in their school contexts.

Diagnosing Development: Why wealthy nations distribute resources

The Christensen Institute

The international development industry is vast. When official development assistance ( aid offered by wealthy countries for the “economic development and welfare of developing countries”) and other forms of aid including disaster and relief are taken into account, the industry spends upwards of $200 billion annually. In some countries, such as Malawi, Mali, and Uganda, official development assistance funds more than half of government expenditures.

3 things Clayton Christensen has taught me about innovation and economic development

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French economist, Frederic Sautet, writes , “Revisionist economic history has displaced the entrepreneur from his central role as determinant of a country’s economic performance and placed greater emphasis on structural macroeconomic conditions.” Unfortunately, Sautet might be right. In matters of economic development, there is often a tendency to focus more on dilapidated infrastructures and dysfunctional institutions than on creating a culture of innovation through entrepreneurship.

Success at Innovative Schools Hinges on Helping Students Transition

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Malaina is a current high school student who decided to homeschool in order to expand her learning by blending interdisciplinary, real world, and academic-focused learning. Her work has been published by Education Next, The Mercury News, and the Bluefire literary journal. . Innovative schools are on the rise across the world and are transforming the way we think about K–12 education. These schools are no longer following the traditional model of education.

When education reforms flounder, where should leaders look next?

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Last month, a new study by the RAND Corporation made headlines for its lackluster findings. Following a multi-year, multi-million-dollar initiative by the Gates Foundation to boost school performance through better teacher evaluation systems, RAND’s researchers found that the initiative failed to produce significant gains in student outcomes. When a promising education reform like this one misses the mark, where should education leaders turn next?

The other gap that schools aren’t talking about—relationships

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T he NAEP scores released in April set off a flurry of headlines about the sobering state of achievement gaps across the nation. The general consensus? Despite pockets of promise , and slight declines in gaps by race, achievement data reveal that gaps by income have remained relatively flat, or uneven at best. The news for young people on the wrong side of these gaps, however, may be worse.

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Where is the magic kingdom for nontraditional learners?

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Disney has reigned as the premier brand in kids & family entertainment for decades, since its founding in 1923. Despite having raised ticket prices by 6% over the past ten years, Disney has seen record-breaking attendance. At the end of 2017, Disney made headlines for having to temporarily close its premier theme park in Orlando, Florida, having already filled the parks to capacity.

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The big gamble: how accreditation turns innovation into a game of Russian roulette

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Does accreditation stifle innovation in higher education? It depends. In October 2012, the accrediting commission of New England Association of Schools & Colleges approved Southern New Hampshire University’s request to create an online, competency-based program that would partner with employers to provide a college education for just $3,000 per year.

To disrupt, or not to disrupt: Live theater and the edtech alternatives

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This spring, University of Arkansas researcher Jay P. Greene published a study in Educational Researcher on the benefits of students attending live theater. An extension of his earlier research on field trips, Greene and his colleagues studied the outcomes of Arkansas-based school groups who were randomly assigned by lottery to attend live theater performances of plays like Twelfth Night and Peter and the Starcatcher , among others.

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How do you amplify a school’s impact on student outcomes?

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Imagine a world with no achievement gaps; where every child excels in mastering age-appropriate academic content; where children’s confidence, creativity, critical thinking, and social skills blossom throughout their schooling; and where every student enters adulthood prepared to thrive. The world above may be idealized, romanticized, or even utopian.

Mapping the universe of edtech that connects

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This week I’m excited to share a tool that my colleagues and I have been working on for the past few years: a market map of what we’re calling Edtech that Connects. We’ve captured a wide range of edtech tools that are bringing new relationships within reach for students. The tool lives—and will be regularly updated—at whoyouknow.org.

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Personalized learning won’t work without personalized supports

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Last week’s New York Times Fixes column highlighted the enormous promise of PowerMyLearning, a framework and tool that connects teachers, families, and students. The approach marks a departure from run-of-the-mill family engagement strategies like infrequent parent-teacher conferences or once yearly back-to-school nights.

What if we connected education to the needs of our economies?

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Across the globe, we observe a similar trend: students, irrespective of their individual needs and circumstances, are encouraged to pursue education as a means to gain employment and climb up the economic ladder. Yet what we see, time and time again, is that when education is disconnected from the needs of the economy, this promise falls flat. The numbers aren’t adding up. Consider Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa.

Is higher education teaching teachers to blend?

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In recent years, a lot of time and effort has been put into professional development and training for in-service teachers to prepare them to teach in a blended environment. Teacher preparation institutions have begun to take a more proactive role to improve preservice teacher exposure to blended teaching before they enter the classroom. For example, some states like Utah have even mandated that preservice teachers learn to teach effectively in blended environments.

Impact investments: a key to unlocking opportunity and prosperity in emerging markets

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Globally, more and more people are beginning to recognize the role of the private sector and more specifically, innovation, in helping poor countries become prosperous. In October 2017, the world’s most preeminent development institution, The World Bank, released a report titled The Innovation Paradox , emphasizing the role of innovation and the private sector in development.

Should instructional choice trump school choice?

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Today, President-elect Donald Trump appointed school choice advocate Betsy DeVos as our next secretary of education.

Could the World Bank’s capabilities be causing it to miss possible development opportunities?

The Christensen Institute

The World Bank is one of the largest and most prominent global development institutions in the world. The Bank currently manages over 12,000 projects worth approximately $46 billion, which are spread across more than 170 countries. In addition to the Bank’s global reach, it also has a wealth of knowledge resources. From its data portal on most macroeconomic indicators to its detailed reports and insightful papers, the World Bank is arguably the most important organization in development.

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Personalized learning in the context of a person, not a school

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Personalized learning is the current big buzz in education. Everyone is trying to figure out how best to personalize the learning experience for each and every child. I applaud this effort.

The potential of telehealth in managing rare diseases

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This guest blog was written by Rosie Rosati, health advocate for the Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center. In recent years, the healthcare industry has begun embracing the benefits of telehealth and acknowledging the obstacles this digital advancement can overcome. The patient-centered technology provides easy access to quality care for patients residing in remote areas or living in locations with limited access to specialists.

Why new technologies often don’t help students

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It’s easy to get caught up in the allure of new technologies. Companies do a great job showing off the improved bells and whistles of their shiny new products. But the truth is, breakthrough innovations rarely come from the technologies themselves.

How technology can help—not hurt—family connections

The Christensen Institute

Between headlines about children’s ballooning screen time to growing concerns about the costs of distracted parenting , it’s easy to scapegoat technology for troubling family dynamics. The warm glow of a touch screen threatens to pull children and adults alike from investing in caring and face-to-face connections. In 2018, good parenting and technology don’t seem to mix. But what if technology could start to prompt conversations that parents and children otherwise struggle to initiate?

Accreditation: What is the Department of Education thinking?

The Christensen Institute

The Department of Education recently announced that it will be taking a fresh look at accreditation. Such a review is sorely needed: as Michael Horn and I argue in a new paper that was published originally as a chapter in the book Accreditation on the Edge: Challenging Quality Assurance in Higher Education , accreditation as it currently stands is a major obstacle to developing innovative programs that can improve access, affordability, and workforce alignment in higher education.

The secret element in blended learning

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By definition , online learning is part of any blended learning classroom. It is the key innovation for enabling student-centered learning at scale. Given this fact, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking of technology—devices and software—as blended learnings’ core, defining feature.

Assessing exports through the lens of innovation

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Exports are often seen as a solution to the problem of sustained economic development, and indeed they can be. The East Asian Tigers—Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea—are perhaps the most commonly cited nations that have risen from poverty to prosperity primarily through exports. Yet at the Christensen Institute, we think about exports and how these nations developed slightly differently.

Do specialized teaching roles help or hurt students?

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The success of our schools—and of our education system at large—hinges on teachers. From decades of research we know that teachers influence student outcomes more than anything else a school has to offer. Given the importance of teachers, many of the prominent ideas for improving education focus on increasing teacher impact through better recruitment, preparation, and development or through giving teachers better tools and resources.

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Is social media disrupting our networks?

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On the heels of a divisive campaign, people are more aware than ever of the social and political groups that sit on different sides of the aisle, live in different parts of the country, and break bread with different cultural factions.

Accreditation’s Insidious Impact on Higher Education Innovation

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While Washington, D.C. slams accreditors for not holding colleges and universities accountable for their student outcomes, the more insidious failure of accreditation is the stifling effect on innovation at existing institutions. Three case studies from a new paper that I coauthored with my colleague Alana Dunagan that was published originally as a chapter in the new book Accreditation on the Edge: Challenging Quality Assurance in Higher Education illustrate why. Tiffin College.

Show me the evidence: Do new staffing arrangements actually work?

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As future-thinking schools experiment with ways to personalize learning—such as blended, project-based, exploratory, and mastery-based learning—it seems only logical that they also reconsider how they organize their instructional teams. This hypothesis guided our research with Public Impact over the last year, and culminated in a white paper released last month.

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Ask the experts: Crowdsourced solutions to 4 problems of blended-learning practice

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Earlier this month, the Christensen Institute, Highlander Institute , and The Learning Accelerator welcomed over 100 advanced blended- and personalized-learning practitioners to Providence, Rhode Island as part of a two-day meeting-of-the-minds leading up to the 2018 Blended and Personalized Learning Conference.