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Three New NASBE Resources Help State Boards Craft Better Policies to Leverage Blended Learning Innovations

Arlington, Va. — Blended learning, an innovative, personalized education model that combines online learning with traditional instruction is gaining interest across the country. The goal is simple: accelerate student achievement toward college-and career-readiness, while also improving school efficiencies and reducing costs. Done well, blended learning transforms core elements of teaching and learning — changing instructional roles, structures, staffing, schedules, and budgets.

And integral to such transformation are state boards of education that are responsible for adopting policies that encourage, support, and oversee the implementation of personalized learning systems, according to a new series of blended learning articles from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). The package, written with the expertise of blended learning leaders Lisa Duty of The Learning Accelerator, John Bailey of Digital Learning Now!, iNACOL’s Susan Patrick, NASBE Executive Director Kristen Amundson, along with writer-consultant James Bogden, explores the strengths and challenges of implementing blended learning policies, and the role state boards of education play.

Blended Learning: Bringing Personalized Education to Scale, a discussion guide, explains what blended learning is —and what it is not. It outlines for state board members and other state policymakers the various models of blended learning, the pros and cons of each, and tactics to consider during the policymaking process. Two companion case studies, Blended Learning in the Classroom, and Rhode Island’s Blended Approach to Blended Learning provide a first-hand look at how blended learning is being implemented in one state and in a small, urban school district, with lessons-learned from each.

The articles also highlight shared elements of successful blended learning policies, or those that encourage an innovative culture, ensure access to the proper technology infrastructure, take into account instructional and assessment requirements, and provide support to teachers as they make the transition to blended learning.

“Blended learning is not just another school improvement strategy — it is a thorough transformation of teaching and learning methods across all curriculum areas,” write the authors. Such transformation will take time. The opportunity is now for state boards of education to focus the urgency of blended learning into policy and implementation discussions and set a clear vision for their states.

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