The United States has spent more than $60 billion equipping schools with computers during the last two decades, but as countless studies and any routine observation reveal, the computers have not transformed the classroom, nor has their use boosted learning as measured by test scores. Instead, technology and computers have tended merely to sustain and add cost to the existing system.
Most Americans are so stuck in the box we can’t conceive of a way to use technology in the classroom other than bolstering our current model.
Fortunately, some people—like Christensen—aren’t in that box. His work introduces a concept that can actually make a difference: student-centric learning using the power of digital learning.
There’s nothing wrong with putting computers in classrooms or retiring the overhead projector. But it’s time for an educational solar system that puts students at the center.
Across the country, students, schools and districts are experiencing higher test scores at an affordable cost due to the power of digital learning.
But let’s start with the basics . . .
Digital learning can mean different things, depending on who you ask. At the iLearn Project, we use the following definition:
Digital learning is either coursework or a comprehensive school program that takes place primarily online. Online learning is untethered, meaning students can participate from anywhere the Internet is available.
The Innosight Institute, a leading researcher on blended learning, defines blended learning as follows:
Blended learning is any time a student learns at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace.
Blended learning incorporates digital content into the school building. This can mean students take a single online course in a computer lab. It can also mean students rotate between online instruction and small group instruction with a teacher.
Innosight’s groundbreaking report, “The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning,” identifies six distinct blended learning models.
Fully online learning is when all of a student’s coursework is delivered online outside of the school building.