Technology can help your district succeed, or so you have heard. This begs the question: Does our digitally connected world full of computers, mobile phones, and digital lesson plans create success? Technology savvy schools are fun and exciting, but can technology really extend learning time, improve test scores, or increase graduation rates? Answers to these questions may vary, but if you are looking for ways to improve the way technology is being used at your school look no further than the blended learning approach, traditional brick and mortar learning plus online learning.
Rocketship, a charter school in San Jose, California, has a goal of closing the achievement gap, and is using blended learning to do it. Students spend “25% of their school day in a computer lab with online content targeted to their development level.” Rocketship’s use of blended learning has proven successful because they were “the highest-performing elementary school serving low income students in California last year, according to scores on a state standardized test – outperforming even schools in more affluent areas.”
Michael Horn leads a team that studies the innovative ways technology is already transforming America’s education system. He also co-authored the book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns published by McGraw-Hill, one of Blackboard’s content partners. He believes that blended learning is positive “because online learning allows for modularity, it can in theory customize learning for each student’s individual needs.” He also says it can be more “cost effective” and “offer advanced courses” that may have been cut otherwise due to low enrollment numbers.
T.C. Williams High School, in Virginia’s Alexandria Public schools, is another school that uses “technology to create online and blended-learning environments.” This school has all of its students learning in a blended learning environment via Blackboard Learn. Some students are taking “online courses that have been integrated into the school day.”This technique is helping achieve their primary goals to “extend learning time and increase graduation rates.”
In some states they have created policies that support blended learning as well as “student-centric whole-school blended models.” Schools that receive support from their state should be encouraged to pursue a world of blended learning. After all, the K12 killer combination helps capture the active learner who ultimately wants education to be accessible whenever and wherever.
 Halpert, Julie. “Does More Tech in the Classroom Help Kids Learn?” Mashable Lifestyle. 12 August 2012. Web. 22 August 2012.
 Rubin, C.M. “The Global Search for Education: More Technology, Please!” Huffington Post. 16 July 2012. Web. 22 August 2012.
 “Virginia high school uses technology to increase learning time, boost graduation rates.” eSchool News. 3 April 2012. Web. 22 August 2012.
 Horn, Michael. “The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Blended Learning Policies.” THE Journal. 2 August 2012. Web. 22 August 2012.