Blended Beyond Borders
November 14, 2017 |
November 14, 2017 |
Over the past two decades, technology use in schools has surged worldwide. The open question remains, however, as to how exactly the rise in technology correlates with fundamental shifts in teaching, learning, and student outcomes.
Although this report touches on a number of school-based efforts to implement edtech, we focus on a particular use of technology: analyzing whether and how a sample of brick-and-mortar schools in three countries use online learning to deliver content in new, more flexible ways.
For the past decade, the Clayton Christensen Institute has studied how brick-and-mortar schools can effectively integrate technology to shift instruction to better differentiate to students’ needs—a shift that we call blended learning. Although technology can contribute to an array of school-based practices, online and blended learning programs represent one of the most profound opportunities to not merely arm students with devices or schools with WiFi, but to shift industrial-era instructional models that are ill-equipped to reach each and every student in a differentiated, customized manner. For this to occur, we need to track when and how technology integration efforts are or are not actually bringing about instructional model change.
Along with partners in Brazil, Malaysia, and South Africa, we distributed our online survey across samples of schools. We share and analyze data from 110 survey respondents in Brazil, 119 in Malaysia and 34 in South Africa, along with 13-15 case studies of specific school models.
The sampling methods that we drew from were at once too diverse and too constrained to each context to make broad conclusions in a consistent manner across these distinct geographies. Therefore, we do not intend for readers to directly compare the data sets among Brazil, Malaysia, and South Africa. Rather, each survey provides insights into some of the technology opportunities and challenges emerging in each country, specific to the sample of schools and educators we were able to reach through our survey partners. For future efforts to bolster the reach, reliability, and comparability of such surveys, we recommend how the survey instrument might be refined and deployed in a manner to make consistent, reliable regional, countrywide and inter-country conclusions about blended-learning implementation rates, opportunities and challenges.
Without directly comparing the samples, it is worth noting a few common themes that emerged across all three.
We are witnessing the rise of technology-enabled instructional models that offer the chance to scale access to learning at a rate and manner historically out of reach. Tracking and analyzing if and how schools are making this shift is a crucial first step toward ensuring that rising investments in education technology are translating into greater access and success in learning.