Tuesday, September 15, 2015

SBISD Team Chosen for Blended Learning Grant Workshop This Fall

Spring Branch ISD is one of 75 school district applicant teams from Texas selected to attend upcoming workshops on blending learning, the popular term for mixing together traditional and online learning. The nonprofit Raise Your Hand Texas supports the $2.5 million Blended Learning Grant Initiative. Ten finalists will be named in January 2016, and then five winning teams will share $500,000 and technical support when final winners are named next April.

The nonprofit educational group known as Raise Your Hand Texas has chosen a Spring Branch ISD team as one of 75 applicant teams for its new and ambitious $2.5 million Blended Learning Grant Initiative. The team will compete for a shared final prize valued at $500,000, which will be announced next spring.

SBISD’s team will attend a semifinalist workshop this fall focused on blended learning, the term in public education for mixing together traditional bricks-and-mortar school with online learning options. The district team will attend two-day, expenses-paid blended learning workshops.

Planned workshops will be led by Heather Staker, who co-wrote “Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools.” She’s also a senior research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute, a nonprofit national group that promotes an education innovation model based on high-quality blended learning.

Blended learning, as described by the Christensen Institute, describes what occurs when students in traditional schools learn at least in part through an online model, with students having personal control at some level over the time, place, path and pace of their learning.

Raise Your Hand Texas leaders note that blended learning is separate from a broad public trend to simply equip classrooms with digital devices and software, or place students into a full-time, solitary virtual education environment.

David Anthony, Ed.D., Raise Your Hand’s CEO, said in a recent news release that the Blended Learning grant will “test and showcase blended learning strategies that personalize instruction with the goal of improving student achievement,” in particular among schools and districts with persistent student achievement gaps.

“Expecting one teacher to tailor lessons to each child in a classroom of 20 to 35 students using 20th century classroom models is not only ineffective, but nearly impossible,” he said. “Blended learning represents the engine to power student-centered, competency-based learning at scale.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott included blended learning as one key to innovation and professional development in education proposals issued during his campaign for the state’s highest office.

Grant semifinalist workshops are scheduled in Fort Worth and San Antonio in September, and in San Antonio and South Padre Island in October. Learn more:

Read the full Raise Your Hand Texas news release:

Review the full list of Selected Teams:

Learn more about the Raising Blended Learners Grant Initiative:

Learn more about the Clayton Christensen Institute:


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