Monday, October 18, 2010

Is Blending Computers into Classrooms Radical Redesign?

Barbara Martinez wrote an article about a blended education program in New York's P.S. 100 and called the program radical redesign.

I thought the program sounded interesting, but didn't meet my standard for radical redesign, so I sent Barbara the following note.


Nice article and I get it, but don't drink the "kool aid" that this is radical redesign of the schools. Evolutionary restructuring yes, tinkering, yes, but not radical redesign. The students are still in brick-and-mortar buildings arranged in age-based groups (grades), that measure learning based on seat time. (Those kids got to the 4th grade by sitting in classrooms for the previous 3 180 periods of time called grade 1, 2, and 3.

Blended learning isn't new -- well maybe it is in NY City, but it's not innovative in education -- not when there's already research to show it's effective.

That's not to say that what you write about isn't good, won't benefit kids, and is something different in P.S. 100. But, I think you've got an obligation to your readers to not just incorporate labels given you by the school as fact. If you'd attributed the "radically redesigning" term to the school I wouldn't have bothered writing, but you accepted it and incorporated it into the article giving credence to this tinkering as radical redesign.

I hope, in the future, you'll challenge or at least attribute terms like that.