Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Missing from Horn's Blended...

The book that  Michael B. Horn wrote with Heather Staker "Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools."  ignores some important things about blended learning.  In his previous book, he ignored blended, and then I called him on it in a blog post, (see this blog for August 2010and then he started a whole series of work on his brand of blended learning leading up to this book.  I've recently finished a quick first read of my Kindle copy of the new book.  The nice thing about a Kindle is that you can use the search feature to look for certain words.   A search for terms came back with nothing or very little for some of the concepts and practices that are very relevant to blended learning. 

Terms that aren't included in this book are:

1:1 or one to one,

BYOD (bring your own device)



Universal Design

Terms mentioned only briefly:

OER Open Education Resouces (mentioned once in passing)

LMS or learning management system (again once in passing)  How can you even think about blended learning without considering a learning management system.

Also missing from Horn's book is an examination of the work of the many others who have studied blended learning.   Not even mentioning the seminal concept of blended learning as presented by Garrison and Vaughan in their 2008 book, is a major oversight, in my opinion. It's true that Garrison and Vaughan focus primarily on higher ed while Horn and Slaker are focused on K12, but in order for blended learning to be effective in K12, we'll need to learn from the experiences of those who've used the evolving practice in higher ed just as higher ed will need to learn from K12.   

TPACK, in the list above, is another important academic construct that deserves to be included in any serious discussion about blended learning.  Matthew Koehler and Punya Mishra's work which takes off from Lee Schulman's, is too valuable to not talk about with educators who are undertaking blended learning.  TPACK, like the Community of Inquiry approach of Garrison, Vaughan and Cleveland-Innes, keeps teaching integral and essential in the discussion.  Horn and Slaker's notion of blended learning is too much about the deployment of devices and substitution of devices for teachers and not enough about teaching and learning.  Horn and Slaker are not teachers; they're business people.  Their attempt to apply business school management principles to the complex art of teaching may be with the best of intentions, but it falls way short of what's needed in our classrooms today.

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