AERA Symposium 2011


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This presentation was made at the AERA Annual Conference in New Orleans, April 2011

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  • Ask audience how many of them had read: Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns Author(s): Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, and Curtis W. Johnson Publisher: McGraw-Hill, New York ISBN: 0071592067, Pages: 288, Year: 2008 The high point of the book is the vision of a student-centric learning system presented in the fifth chapter.  Here the authors outline the key elements not only of student-centric computer-based learning applications, but also of a transformed educational sector consisting of schools surrounded and supported by networks to facilitate “user-generated, collaborative learning libraries through which participants worldwide can instruct and learn from one another.” Christensen, Horn, and Johnson look for the fruits of such networks to move to the mainstream by 2014. Among the most provocative aspects of this book are the predictions that by the year 2014 (p. 143) about one-quarter of all high school courses will be online and that by the year 2019 (p. 98) about one-half of all high school courses will be online. Christensen’s seminal book The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997), which first outlined his disruptive innovation frameworks, received the Global Business Book Award for the Best Business Book of the Year in 1997, was a New York Tim es bestseller, has been translated into over 10 languages, and is sold in over 25 countries. 
  • The high school graduation rate is symptomatic of a number of other issues – student engagement, preparation for higher education/careers, social/economic conditions, etc.
  • AERA Symposium 2011

    1. 1. <ul><li>Presentation at the </li></ul><ul><li>American Education Research Association </li></ul><ul><li>Annual Conference 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>New Orleans </li></ul><ul><li>Anthony G. Picciano, Graduate Center, City University of New York </li></ul><ul><li>Peter Shea, State University of New York at Albany </li></ul><ul><li>Karen Swan, University of Illinois, Springfield </li></ul><ul><li>Jeff, Seaman, Babson College </li></ul>
    2. 2. <ul><li>Background Data – K-12 Studies </li></ul><ul><li>The American High School – Crisis and Reform </li></ul><ul><li>Online Learning in the American High School </li></ul><ul><li>Transformation – To Be or Not To Be </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Three national studies in the last four years: </li></ul><ul><li>Picciano, A.G. & Seaman, J. (2007). K-12 online learning: A survey of school district administrators. Needham, MA: The Sloan Consortium. Available as a free download at: </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Picciano, A.G. & Seaman, J. (2009). K-12 online learning: A 2008 follow up of the survey of U.S. school district administrators . Needham, MA: The Sloan Consortium. Available as a free download at: </li></ul><ul><li>Picciano, A.G. & Seaman, J. (2010). Class Connections: High School Reform and the Role of Online Learning . Babson College: Babson Survey Research Group. Available as a free download at: </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>2005-06 - the estimate of students enrolled in at least one online or blended course in American K-12 schools was 700,000. </li></ul><ul><li>2007-08 - the estimate of students enrolled was 1,030,000 or a 47 percent increase from 05-06 </li></ul><ul><li>2016 – Conservative estimate is that there will be more than 5 million K-12 students enrolled in online or blended learning courses, the majority of these will be at the high school level. </li></ul>Question: How many of you have read: Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, and Curtis W. Johnson
    5. 5. Trend Line – School Districts Adopting Online Courses
    6. 6. Trend Line – School Districts Adopting Blended Courses
    7. 7. Class Connections: High School Reform and the Role of Online Learning The purpose of the third study was to examine the role of online learning in addressing issues facing the American high school. Data were collected from a national sample of high school principals (N=441) with respect to the extent, nature, and reasons for participating in online learning programs. Question: Why Study High Schools?
    8. 8. Is the American High School an Institution in Crisis? “ the most serious problem is the persistent low graduation rates in American high schools…In a report published by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston and the Alternate Schools Network in Chicago , the high school dropout problem was deemed a ‘crisis’ that is having a detrimental life-long economic impact on individuals as well as on the American society at large. “ Center for Labor Market Studies . (May 5, 2009). Left behind: The nation’s dropout crisis. (May 5, 2009). Boston: Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University and the Alternate Schools Network in Chicago. Retrieved from:
    9. 9. Is the American High School an Institution in Crisis? President Barak Obama in his first major address on American education after assuming the presidency, pleaded with American youth that: “ dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country; and this country needs and values the talents of every American.” Obama, B. (February, 2009). Address to a joint session of the United States Congress. Retrieved from:
    10. 10. Is the American High School an Institution in Crisis? The United States Congress in March 2009, the extent of the high school graduation problem was described as: “… About 1,230,000 secondary school students, which is approximately one-third of all secondary school students, fail to graduate with their peers every year. According to the Department of Education, the United States secondary school graduation rate is the lowest the rate has been since 2002… … The graduation rates for historically disadvantaged minority groups are far lower than that of their White peers. Little more than half of all African-American and Hispanic students will finish secondary school on time with a regular secondary school diploma compared to over three-quarters of White students.“ Bill S-618 Introduced in the United States Senate (March 17, 2009). Title of the Bill: To improve the calculation of, the reporting of, and the accountability for secondary school graduation rates. 111th Congress, 1st Session. Retrieved from:
    11. 11. Figure 5. Summary of Responses to: How important do you believe each of the following items would be in offering or potentially offering online and blended/hybrid courses ? Why Online or Blended Courses?
    12. 12. Figure 8. Types of online courses offered by percentage of the schools with the offerings. Types of Online Courses Being Offered
    13. 13. Figure 9. Types of blended courses offered by percentage of the schools with the offerings. Types of Blended Courses Being Offered
    14. 14. Figure 7. Summary of Responses to: How important do you believe each of the following items would be in offering or potentially offering online and blended/hybrid courses? cross tabulated by the location of the school . Location, Location, Location
    15. 15. Figure 10. Types of online courses offered by percentage of the schools with the offerings cross tabulated by location. Urban School Districts and Credit Recovery
    16. 16. <ul><li>Credit recovery has evolved into the most popular type of online course being offered at the secondary level. Students needing such courses make up a significant portion of the high school student population that subsequently drops out or is late in graduating. </li></ul><ul><li>Urban high schools, which historically have the lowest graduation rates of any schools in the country, appear to be embracing online credit recovery as a basic part of their academic offerings. </li></ul><ul><li>While employing online courses for credit recovery, high school administrators still have concerns about their quality and indicate that students need maturity, self-discipline, and a certain command of basic skills (reading and mathematics) in order to succeed. </li></ul>
    17. 17. <ul><li>Online and blended learning courses are increasingly being used to overcome logistical issues in programs to bridge the high school and college experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>These courses have allowed high schools to expand the opportunities for their students to start their college careers while still in high school high. </li></ul><ul><li>High school administrators consider online elective college-level courses as an effective means for some of the more able students to begin their college careers. </li></ul>
    18. 18. <ul><li>Educators express concerns that online learning is not as effective as face-to-face instruction . Specific concerns include the need for motivation and maturity levels, study habits and organizational skills, and adequate academic preparedness for online students to succeed. </li></ul><ul><li>High school administrators see benefits to online learning programs that overshadow concerns about pedagogical value — the vast majority of their schools are moving forward with their programs and looking to expand them in the future. </li></ul><ul><li>Online learning is seen as a means to broaden and expand student experiences. It allows students looking for more advanced work to test and challenge their skills by taking more demanding instructional material. It also allows students who might be at risk to make up coursework that they have missed in order to graduate. </li></ul>
    19. 19. <ul><li>Rural schools are in the vanguard in offering online and blended learning programs to their students— using online courses to overcome significant problems in funding, teacher certification, and small enrollments. </li></ul><ul><li>High schools in all locales are facing serious challenges, but rural schools probably have the most difficult. Online and blended learning are a critical part of the strategy they are employing to deal with limited tax bases, low enrollments, and difficulty in attracting and keeping certified teachers. </li></ul>
    20. 20. <ul><li>High school administrators see online learning as meeting the diverse needs of their students whether through advanced placement, elective college courses, or credit recovery. </li></ul><ul><li>The major reason high school administrators cite for online and blended offerings is to provide courses that otherwise would not be available. This strongly supports the concept that online technology can provide differentiating instruction and more choices for high school administrators in developing their academic programs. </li></ul>
    21. 21. <ul><li>Survey respondents report that offering online and blended courses makes financial sense when trying to meet specific needs for small groups of students. This allows schools to maximize their full-time faculty resources in required and other popular courses and to minimize offering courses in face-to-face mode for small numbers of students. </li></ul><ul><li>Respondents also see costs and funding formulae as barriers to expanding and implementing online and blended courses. State and local education policies that follow strict attendance-based funding formulae do not easily accommodate students taking online or blended courses. </li></ul>
    22. 22. <ul><li>Postsecondary Institutions – most popular overall provider </li></ul><ul><li>State Virtual Schools – most popular provider in the South </li></ul><ul><li>For-Profit Vendors – increasingly popular for credit-recovery </li></ul><ul><li>The Home or Another School District – very popular for blended courses </li></ul>
    23. 23. <ul><li>While online learning has begun to make inroads into K-12 environments, most of this has been at the high school or secondary level. While there is a great deal of web-enhanced learning applications taking place below the high school level, most of these cannot be considered as transformative since the vast majority of instruction still uses traditional f2f methods. </li></ul><ul><li>While originally embraced mostly by economic necessity by rural schools districts, in the past two years, urban schools have become major users of online learning especially for credit recovery courses. </li></ul><ul><li>Credit recovery may be the application that drives transformation. It is an important need mainly because students in these courses frequently are struggling in traditional f2f programs and teachers do not necessarily object to using alternative methods including online learning methods to try to help these students. In addition, high school administrators are under increasing pressure to improve student outcomes especially graduation rates. As a result, the timing may be perfect for an era of online learning at the high school level to be ushered in on the sails of credit recovery. A transformation may be in the offing. </li></ul>
    24. 24. Will blended learning become the dominant instructional model for all education surpassing traditional f2f and fully online modalities? Who will be the major providers of online learning in the K-12 environment? Will a few providers (companies) come to control this market? Will credit recovery be the dominant online learning application that ushers in the other subject and skill development areas? What is happening at the state and local level? (i.e., Idaho considering requiring four online courses in order to graduate high school; New York City is undertaking a major credit recovery initiative.)