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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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A new social media tool is launching called The Hype that allows you to rate whether a movie, event, music person, place or product -- you name it -- is worth the hype or not.

With this new tool in mind, I have been wondering: Is Blended Learning (and educational technology solutions in general) worth the hype or not?

If you follow the education blogosphere, you can read many posts regarding the fast growing field of Blended Learning and next generation technology tools that will revolutionize learning. At Envision Schools we have employed technology as a tool for learning and communication for the last 10 years. We have even launched a pilot blended learning project at our Oakland school in partnership with Google, Khan Academy and the Design School (K-12 Division) at Stanford.

At the same time, education experts I trust like Larry Cuban have called this educational gold rush into question with posts like these. Even the New York Times is conflicted; in September, they ran a scathing article on educational technology, then last week, highlighted Blended Learning on their Learning Network website with the post, "Five Ways to Flip Your Classroom."

Next month, I am going to ask my aspiring school administrator students at St. Mary's College in California who are taking the course, Technology in Leading and Managing, to consider the question: Is Blended Learning (and educational technology solutions in general) worth the hype or not?

What do you think, hype or not? Please share your thoughts on this topic.

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rschwartz418's picture

Is anything ever worth the hype? I believe in the power of blended learning and its ability to allow teachers to personalize and differentiate instruction. However, the hype is creating a hysteria and polarization similar to the topic of charter schools - it's either all good or all bad. I've seen many blended learning models in the last several months and some are transformational and some are garbage - even the garbage ones are being hyped up under the premise that all blended learning is good. I fear that the poor models will be held up alongside the great models and produce a net effect of zero. It's really the early innings in blended learning and we need to be more thoughtful and less hysterical as we try to advance the movement for the sake of the students we're trying to serve.

Bob Lenz's picture
Bob Lenz
Executive Director, Buck Institute for Education, Novato, CA

I completely agree - great potential and still in development. I am hopeful that the next version of online learning (blended or not) will move from traditional watch, listen or read and then regurgitate to a model where students will be asked to acquire, demonstrate and apply knowledge in engaging and authentic ways - PBL Online!

edJobber's picture

Yes, blended learning is definitely worth the hype. Using an online learning platform, online discussions, and/or work online to complement your class can:
1. Save Time
2. Save money
3. Provide students with the opportunity to enhance their technology skills.
4. Facilitate meaningful group work.


ContinuationTEACH's picture

I am a continuation teacher and my school is looking to go to the blended model. The hope being that it can offer our students the personalized instructions that they need at a work at you own pace schedule that won't be a nightmare for the teachers to manage. I am attending the blended learning conference in Denver next week. I will return and give you my thought as to worth the hype or not. Hope it is for our school.

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