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About Last Night

by | Jan 25, 2019 | Drash, Lead Design | 0 comments

Despite the horrid weather, interested parents filled our gracious host’s living room with good cheer and great questions.  I will not speak for those present, but I found the evening very informative.  I learned a lot about what parents are thinking about and how better to spread the word about blended learning and ADRABA’s very own “blended Jewish.”

One of the participants asked about my assertion that “blended learning is better for kids and less expensive for parents.”  There is A LOT of research about the former (and definitive data about the latter).  

Here’s just a short, annotated list of some research and a couple of think-pieces from the past five(-ish) years about blended learning’s outcomes and overall effectiveness.

This 2015 piece from the Washington Post by Phil McRae, an executive staff officer with the Alberta Teachers’ Association and adjunct professor within the faculty of education at the University of Alberta, explored “the hype, the harm and the hope of blended learning.”  His conclusion:  Blended learning will only work if schools can balance tech with the presence and support of a “caring, knowledgeable and pedagogically thoughtful teacher.”  (ADRABA agrees %1000!!) 

Barbara Means, Yukie Toyama, Robert Murphy and Marianne Bakia’s 2013 study (click here) followed their 2009 meta-analysis (click here) comparing learning outcomes from traditional classrooms and blended classrooms.  They concluded that, on average, students in online learning conditions did slightly better than those learning exclusively in traditional classrooms. However, students that blended their learning had significantly better results than those in traditional classrooms.

This 2017 report from the AVI CHAI Foundation presents a number of case studies about “new low tuition Jewish day schools built on a blended learning model.”  Many of their “lessons learned” reaffirmed much of what we’ve been planning and doing since 2011.

This 2018 piece by Matthew Lynch in The Tech Edvocate does the classic “head-fake” with its headline “Blended Learning is Not an Option Anymore.”  True, it’s not an option, Lynch says.  It’s required.

This being said, it would not be difficult for you to conduct a different kind of (re)search.  Googling “Blended Learning Sucks” would surely uncover a litany of studies demonstrating negative outcomes or think-pieces decrying blended learning as the harbinger of civilization’s collapse.  Doing that however would be skewing the jury, wouldn’t it?  As they say, it’s all in the keywords.  

So, if you’re not too busy, have a look.  Then, spread the word about how ADRABA is truly reimagining Jewish high school for Toronto – and accepting applications for our first cohort in September!

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