What do Rhode Island, Ohio and Colorado Have in Common? Hint: A Partner for Blended Learning

Swiftly transforming a school to a successful digital learning model requires more than good intentions and a can-do spirit.

Teacher training, budget planning and crafting a solid instructional plan for the classroom are critical prerequisites, pioneers in blended learning say. Another piece of the puzzle: local community support.

Expect to see that boots-on-the-ground outreach in Colorado soon. Last week, leaders in that state announced a new partnership that blended-learning advocates say will involve a community engagement process to help assess the learning needs of Colorado students. It could give school plans some local flavor and a lifeline of support outside the school walls, organizers say.

“It’s unprecedented in Colorado and unprecedented nationally,” Christina Jean, an innovation and blended learning specialist in the Colorado Department of Education, told me last week.

The work in Colorado will be supported by a partnership with The Learning Accelerator, a national nonprofit that advocates for blended learning and provides technical assistance to make it work.

Jean said she expects “difficult conversations” in Colorado communities, but hopes they will generate information and support for locally-inspired blended learning plans.

To boost that effort, a familiar name in blended learning will assist state and local leaders in Colorado. The Learning Accelerator is already at work on supporting blended learning in schools in Ohio and Rhode Island.

As always, there’s plenty of news this week about blended learning. For more about investments in ed tech startups, a Cleveland goof that cost its school district millions in E-rate money, and tips on conferences, webinars and other news, follow my Blended Learning Newsletter.

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[Cross-posted at The Hechinger Report]

Nichole Dobo

Nichole Dobo writes about blended learning. Most of her 10-year career as a reporter has focused on education. She has also covered stories about government, courts, business and religion. She was a staff writer at The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., The York Daily Record/Sunday News in York, Pa., The Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pa. and The Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and has been published in The Atlantic's online edition. She won first prize and best of show for education writing in 2011 from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association. She earned a B.A. in journalism at the Pennsylvania State University.