Education

Ending the Classroom Factory Model: How Technology Will Personalize Education

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"With the opportunity of online learning coming on,…what we talk about is shifting from this factory model system to a student-centered one that personalizes for each and every child," says Michael Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute and co-author of the new book Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools. Horn recently sat down with Reason magazine Managing Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward during the National Summit on Education Reform in Washington, D.C., for a discussion of how blended learning joins traditional classroom models with software-based and online learning.

Horn believes that customizing education to each student's individual needs is key for both motivation and learning. "One of the big reasons that school is so boring, quite frankly, is that we all have different learning needs at different times—different things turn us on," he states. A student struggling with fundamental skills should not be reading Shakespeare, Horn explains, but instead should be put in a blended environment that uses software to improve basic literacy before moving the student into a small group discussion with a teacher.

Blended learning environments can also avoid constraining students with diverse talents or interests. As Horn declares, "The reality with online learning is you can learn from anyone, anywhere, and you can get great, talented courses and teachers to come into your classroom, in effect, even if they live across the world." He notes that it is important to give students greater educational choice as they progress to higher grade levels so that they take charge of their own learning moving forward.

In the interview, Horn describes how blended learning can create a game-based classroom environment that encourages students to help each other achieve educational goals. He also discusses how, as education moves beyond traditional institutions, credentialing will have to evolve, assessments will have to become more organic, and regulations will have to become outcome-based.

For the full interview, watch the video above. Click below for downloadable versions. And subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel for daily content like this.

Approximately 5 minutes.

Interview by Katherine Mangu-Ward. Produced by Justin Monticello. Shot by Jim Epstein and Todd Krainin. Music by Elettroliti.