Am I thinking that hybrid learning makes sense?

There are a couple of interesting pieces on Larry Cuban’s blog about Rocketship Schools (Part 1 & Part 2).  Rocketship has two strikes against it in my book – they’re a) a charter chain and b) aim to replace some teachers with $14/hour “instructional coaches,” but then I read this from its CEO, John Danner…

Online learning should be responsible for the majority of basic skills learning,  freeing our teachers to use classroom time to teach students how to think. We believe that we will see … a 50/50 online/classroom hybrid model [with] properties that helps us scale up. First, we will have 10 teachers at each campus instead of 20. With 10 teachers on each campus, we have much less need for talent. With the extra money we save ($1M), we can double teacher pay to well over $100,000 per year. With Learning Lab … delivering 80% of basic skills, teachers can spend their class time to teach values and higher order thinking skills. We think that both financially and from a talent perspective, the model gets more and more compelling as we drive online learning forward.

…and I start thinking, maybe this makes some sense.  I think the ratio of time is probably heavy on the computers (though I can’t begin to speak for anything other than high school education), but IF the software can help students develop the basic skills of reading and numeracy, in addition to helping with learning conventions and factual information, I can imagine software that could support my teaching.  It would be nice to have a computer take care of helping students learn the surface level factual information that is assessed on the New York History Regents Exams (though it would be better to just eliminate or radically change the exams), leaving my classroom time to focus on developing historical and critical thinking skills, doing research, and teaching students to transfer historical understandings to the present day.

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