Choice, Voice, and Access: Why We Support Blended & Online Learning
By all accounts, we live in an exciting time for American K-12 education. Are there major challenges? Absolutely. Do we face real inequities inside and outside the classroom? Yes, in many instances, we do. Are some students underperforming? Yes. Are some schools under-providing? Again, yes. Are governmental policies falling short? In some cases, yes.
After reading that, you may wonder why I’m so optimistic. You see, it’s my belief that we’ve never before been poised for the kind of greatness that is achievable now.
Teachers and students have access to extraordinary tools that are shifting the way they teach and learn; school leaders across the country are designing and implementing new models and methods. They’re looking at architecture and infrastructure first, and are asking how these can serve the stakeholders involved, rather than the other way around.
Parents and communities are seeking help, and are organizing among themselves to provide supports of their own when it comes to school choice and voicing their children’s educational needs. There’s a greater sense of connection between the institution of education, and the individuals who ought to benefit from it.
That’s where the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning comes in. It’s my privilege to lead the board of an organization that is supporting talented, forward-thinking students, as well as innovative educators on the ground — the folks who are changing the face of students’ experiences not because it’s required. They do this because it is transformative, and it reaches the student who is struggling; the student who has been bullied; the student with health issues; the student who can’t wait to move ahead faster; the student who is studying in a second or third language.
The proposals they submit are a means of articulating their pedagogical dreams; fulfilling them, where possible, is the job of the Foundation—and what inspiring work it is!
From a student perspective, we’re reaching those in small rural towns and in major metropolitan areas. We’ve supported students from so many walks of life, who have taught us—each in their own unique way—how blended and online programs have offered the kind of personalized experience that they couldn’t have gotten from a traditional school environment. They have actively set their lives on new and exciting trajectories.
The impact that the Foundation has already made across 29 states leads me to believe that we’re on the crest of a broader movement; an effort that will encourage more flexible access to instruction through a variety of media, while serving the diverse needs of the largest possible student population.
Join us on our journey toward a brighter future for every student. Keep in touch with the team on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and share our programs and research with your colleagues. We’ll be grateful to have you with us!