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Mixing it up
July 24, 2017
How Colorado could see more “blended learning,” combining online courses and traditional teaching
The goal, in part, is to increase equity — providing guidance so students in rural districts and districts lacking resources can get more exposure to blended learning.
August 3, 2015
With its jackpot $28.5 million grant, Warren Township pushes career programs, online learning and teacher training
Warren Township was one of just 16 districts nationwide to win big dollars to improve its facilities, boost teaching and reinvent student learning.
March 17, 2015
Amended bill would expand enrollment, funding options for state-run school district
An amended bill would allow state-authorized charter schools to enroll out-of-zone students. It also would allow the state-run school district to charge an authorization fee to charter schools operators.
February 17, 2015
Rise & Shine: Drug incidents in Colorado schools are on the rise
May 30, 2014
Rise & Shine: Teachers sue Shelby County Schools to keep their jobs
May 29, 2014
Blended learning pilot means a new role for teachers in 16 Memphis schools
At the Shelby County district building on Wednesday, school board members were digging deep into 10th grade English language arts—and the questions at the core…
January 22, 2014
With lawsuit settlement, Shelby County School officials shift focus toward academic improvements
With the municipality split and a subsequent lawsuit mostly settled, members of the Shelby County School Board and Superintendent Dorsey Hopson are shifting…
December 9, 2013
City expanding computer science teacher training program
The city is continuing to expand its efforts to bring coding to the classroom, as Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today that it will be training 120 additional computer science teachers over the next two summers. That's a tiny fraction of the city's 75,000 teachers, but the initiative is a first step toward developing a system to train teachers in schools across the city how to teach computer science classes. Two small high schools now focus on computer science: the Academy for Software Engineering, which opened in 2012 near Union Square, and the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering, which opened this year. But the existence of those schools doesn't change the fact that most middle and high schools don't have teachers prepared to teach computer science for math or science credit. "Our goal is we want every student to have it," said Seth Schoenfeld, senior director for the Department of Education's Office of Innovation. "We want enough teachers that can teach it in a rigorous way so we know students are getting high-level instruction."
October 30, 2013
City preparing to open a high school with no walls of its own
New York is quietly preparing to open another "Silicon Alley" high school — this time inside some of the informal offices that are turning the city into a haven for technology entrepreneurs. The Department of Education is currently planning a six-year high school called iZone Academy that would open in 2014 without a space of its own. The school would operate out of multiple sites in “co-working space” with start-ups, according to internal flyers and Next Generation Learning, which has given the Department of Education's private fundraising arm $100,000 to plan iZone Academy. According to the grant announcement, a goal is to "disrupt the systemic structures of age-based cohorts, scheduling, space, grading policies, and more” with an emphasis on blended learning, which combines online and face-to-face teaching. The proposal indicates that the school would focus on outside work experience and business partnerships, like P-TECH's with IBM. “Removing the barrier of a single building and the standard use of time will open opportunities for authentic learning,” one document says. Much about the model remains unclear, though. How would hundreds of students share space and projects with professionals? Who would the shared space belong to? What would happen to non-academic experiences high schools typically provide, such as sports or lunch periods? And, how (and how much) would students interact with teachers?
June 18, 2012
A teacher is converted from blended learning skeptic to believer
Sam McElroy Before Sam McElroy became the iLearnNYC coordinator at Flushing High School, he was nervous about initiatives that moved at least part of…
May 21, 2012
Wired Olympus students race toward diploma at their own pace
Danielle Boone at work in her U.S. History class. Danielle Boone's U.S. History class at Olympus Academy High School had just begun, but she didn't need a teacher to tell her what to do. The glowing screen looking back at her told her everything she needed to know. Boone typed out the final section of an assignment on immigration – "a FIVE-sentence summary paragraph (including analysis sentence) about immigration and urbanization" – which she emailed to her teacher, sitting nearby, for grading. She then watched a short video online about the Civil War to research her next assignment, an essay on the Transcontinental Railroad. Boone will continue knocking off these assignments on her school-issued Mac computer at her own blistering pace until, finally, she's completed what is required to pass the course and earn a credit. The day after she completes the last assignment for the U.S. History class, she'll start working on another course she needs to pass to graduate. "I'm a student who works fast and this school helps me get credits," Boone said during a brief break in her work. "The faster you go, the faster you get credits." Boone is the kind of self-starter that city officials envisioned when they tasked Olympus Academy, a transfer school, with creating an online learning model in its school for its over-aged population two years ago. Olympus is part of the iLearnNYC initiative, a division of the city's Innovation Zone. Until now, the initiative, which included 124 schools this year, mainly provided technological resources to schools that were devising ways to mix traditional classroom instruction with online curriculum, an approach known as blended learning.
July 11, 2011
Tech-savvy principals give muted response to seat-time change
Principals are grappling with the implications of a state policy change that allows them to award credit for shorter courses that students take online. A regulation passed in June by the Board of Regents allows city high schools to award credit in online courses or blended learning courses, where the class is conducted partly online and partly in a traditional classroom setting, regardless of how much time students actually spend in the classes. City Department of Education officials lobbied the Regents in support of the change. A dozen principals discussed the new regulations today at the meeting of a monthly panel led by Alisa Berger and Sarah Scrogin, two principals who have spearheaded activities within the Innovation Zone, the DOE's subset of technology-centered schools. (Notably, Berger's high school, the iSchool, and Scrogin's, East Bronx Academy for the Future, have worked together in the past on intra-city distance learning classes.) As members of the Innovation Zone's selective iLearn cohort, which numbered 40 last year but is jumping to 127 this fall, the principals who attend the monthly meetings have used technology to reshaped their schedules, supplies, and teachers' workloads. When it comes to using technology to change teaching and learning, the principals usually have a lot to say. But when Scrogin asked them how they were thinking about responding to the change in seat time rules, they were quiet.
July 21, 2009
In a new futuristic Klein initiative, school happens via "playlist"
In one city classroom this summer, a computer algorithm is telling students what to do. The classroom is actually a library at a Chinatown middle school with just 80 students, but school officials are hoping that it offers a glimpse into the future of the school system, one in which every student's individual strengths and weaknesses are calculated before each day is planned. Students in the new pilot program, a $1 million effort that officials are calling the School of One, take a quiz every afternoon, and then receive a computer-generated schedule each morning, called a "playlist." A student's playlist might tell him to begin the day by meeting with a tutor, then to complete a set of online tasks, and then to work on a project with his classmates. The program, which focuses only on math instruction, will expand to three sites in January. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein will roll out the program today, along with its mastermind, Joel Rose, who previously worked for Edison Schools, the for-profit education management company now known as EdisonLearning. The announcement will mark one of the first initiatives of Klein's administration that focuses on what happens inside classrooms since he unveiled citywide math and reading programs six years ago. That effort scripted moves down to how teachers should arrange their classrooms and the size of rugs.
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