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Hybrid: The Educational Forecast Of The Future In A Key Book


In 2008 Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn made a provocative prediction: in 2019 half of the courses of secondary education in the United States would be virtual. The book Disrupting Class was a controversial revelation. He announced that this process was inevitable, that it was based on the mathematical monitoring of the evolution of online education and that nothing could stop it.

A few days ago the sequel to that book was published. It is titled Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools . Its authors are Michael Horn and Heather Staker. Perhaps it is the book of the year for educational innovation, at least in the weight it will have in the discussions.

Horn, the co-author of both books, indicates in 2014 that his 2008 prediction not only remains accurate, but perhaps even a bit conservative. His prediction is that schools in the United States are reaching their tipping point, based on three urgent needs for change: the desire to personalize learning, the desire to expand access to education and the desire to lower the costs of schooling.

The three paths lead to Blended (Hybrid): an educational system that will have a face and a virtual part, where students will control the time, place and pace of learning.

The authors emphasize that they do not trust completely virtual models: they do not work in practice and are surpassed by hybrid models.

The book deals with classifying hybrid models and finding concrete examples for each of them, because that label means very different things.

The Rotary Model has several types of format: station rotation, laboratory-based rotation, inverted class and individual rotation. Basically it is about students who do part of their work online, rotating in time with those activities they do with a teacher. For example, students go for a period of time to a laboratory with computers and work there online with videos and applications, with a tutor who facilitates activities. Or they see videos in their homes indicated by their teachers as homework for the next class.

This model is not disruptive. But a specific type of Rotary Model itself is disruptive. It is about individual rotation . For example, the Carpe Diem school in Arizona has a large classroom with computers. There the students rotate every 35 minutes of stations that go from online learning to individual rhythm to stations with specialized software and finally to team work stations. Each student has a road map that looks completely different from traditional groupings. You can see a video here of the experience.

The Flexible Model continues in the description of the authors. In this case the backbone of learning is in physical schools, but online. In other words, learning is fundamentally based on individual or group interactions with digital environments. A video of the San Francisco Flex Academy can be seen here.

The “A la carte” model offers complete online courses. In other words, there may be courses taken in physical schools and courses that are accredited without attending school. In the United States, this model is expanding rapidly. Six states already had in their legislation in 2014 the obligation that all students who want to graduate had to do at least one online course, to massively incentivize this format.

Finally, the “Virtual Enriched” Model , in which students take online courses directly but have the obligation to carry out face-to-face learning sessions with a teacher every week. This model arose as a consequence of the failure of pure online models, which began to open face-to-face sessions with teachers. You can see a video here of Henry County Schools .

As seen in the graph of the initial photo, these models can be a continuity of traditional education with virtual elements or a deep disruption. The authors point out that if when visiting a learning room one does not find where the center of the class is then it is likely that he is visiting a disruptive environment.

The rest of the book is a guide to generate hybrid disruptive models of schools. A free sample can be seen in the MOOC that the authors put together with the contents of the book, which is posted on the Khan Academy .