For several months now, Tom Vander Ark has been issuing rich installments in his Smart Cities series, building a detailed map of where innovations in learning are happening. Here, we profile an organization connecting Smart Cities--the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust)--and its work helping city-based organizations support the emergence of high-quality blended learning.
Not surprisingly, the biggest private employment sector in metro D.C. is defense and aerospace. But the nation's capital is also the most important confluence of online learning organizations on the planet.
"The combination of high school college counselors and industrial grade financial aid seems to be changing D.C. into a real college preparatory school district," said Bob Craves, one of the Costco founders who has devoted himself to running scholarship programs in Washington D.C. and Washington State.
Thirteen years ago, when his daughter was six, Ron Packard was a dad searching the Internet for math lessons. He started what became the world's largest online learning provider, a public company with annual revenues close to $1 billion serving 110,000 full time students in 33 states.
The way we build, manage and maintain public school buildings is inefficient and exacerbates some of the biggest challenge in public education. With the recent growth of the public charter school sector, the rise of tech-infused learning models, and the migration of student populations across options and geographies, it's time for us to rethink the relationship between learning programs and public facilities. It's time to decouple the delivery and the ownership of school buildings.
Oklahoma Chief Janet Barresi points to Howe High School in Southeastern Oklahoma as a digital learning leader. Superintendent Scott Parks leads a 1:1 district that makes extensive use of online learning. "It is amazing what they are accomplishing," said Barresi. The state board will be visiting Howe this month.
Districts across the country are starting to see the blended learning light. We're encouraged by the growing number of forward-thinking leaders who are past the point of needing to be convinced about the potential of blended learning; and are now ready to get serious about implementation.
After spending a day with Microsoft Innovative Schools and before visiting BETT, I toured Cornwallis Academy, a K-12 school outside of London and managed by the Future Schools Trust. The leadership team demonstrated lookred®, an information system key to their approach to "personalise" learning and "pastoral care."
Denver seems to be blessed with more talented advocates per capita than any city I know. To some extent it's imported talent because it's a great place to live. The advocates form partnerships that benefit families and kids.
An Education Leaders Briefing concluded the World Education Forum in London this week. Greg Butler from Microsoft (who helped my district go 1:1 in 1996) moderated the session that I participated in with Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor at Pearson, and Microsoft education lead Anthony Salcito.