Date: 08/27/2009

Presentation on Online Learning


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

12:20 PM -- Presentation on Online Learning

Gordon Freedman, representing the Blackboard Institute, presented to the committee on "From an Education Pipeline to Cycles of Learning" (Attachment C). Mr. Freedman asked for clarification on the interim committee process. Representative Middleton explained how the interim committee interacts with the education committees that meet during the legislative session. Mr. Freedman explained the mission of Blackboard, and his role within the company. He noted that education is at a crossroads with technology and described three perspectives: K-12, community college, and workforce and training.


12:25 PM

Mr. Freedman reviewed the national education agenda as described by James H. Shelton, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. The core of the national agenda for the Obama administration, he noted, is to increase the number of citizens attaining a postsecondary credential. He also noted the changes in technology in communication, transportation, and education, contrasting that the education technology has not changed with the same speed.

12:32 PM

Mr. Freedman talked about the difference made by districts in the U.S., saying that many other countries have a national funding source. He spoke next to education cycles, which replace the traditional education pipeline. He said the rigid lines between education institutions make less and less sense, thus bending the rigid pipeline into a circle is necessary. Mr. Freedman outlined the characteristics of an ideal education system, including: modular competency-based instruction; a system that supports multiple exit and entry paths; student flexibility and choice in learning; removal of barriers; more effective teachers; individual student records through the student's lifetime plus tracking data; keeping pace with technology students use; national standards; realignment of incentive systems for institution and administrators; and new ways to finance the educational system.

12:39 PM

Representative Massey asked about addressing reintegration of students who have left the system and return after a number of years. Mr. Freedman responded, providing information about how that might look. He identified three issues that need to be addressed: dual enrollment; model redesign; and public awareness. Representative Middleton asked Mr. Freedman to talk about whether states have figured out how to bridge gaps between institutions.

12:44 PM

Mr. Freedman talked about nationally funded and foundation funded projects, including school district online parent access and support. He provided information on state-level provision of online courses, speaking specifically to the models in Michigan and New Mexico.

12:49 PM

Mr. Freedman continued his presentation, talking about the design of the U.S. public school system, and how the design needs to change to meet today's challenges. He said current reform efforts are work-arounds, not reforms. He talked about the need to broaden the conversation to move to making students a part of learning and making materials accessible. Representative Massey asked about creating incentives for parents to increase student engagement. Mr. Freedman responded, saying parents need access to information on the web that is well thought out and easy to use.

12:55 PM

Mr. Freedman made three assertions: we need to go from one teacher for 30 students to five resources for every one student; we need to think about alternative delivery systems (from teacher and classroom only to mixed, blended, and network delivery); and we need to move from a set curriculum for every to student to individualized connections to knowledge. He said we need to fix the system we have today, while we design the system needed for tomorrow.

12:59 PM

Mr. Freedman responded to committee questions. Senator Spence asked him to comment on the New Mexico program and where it is today. Representative Middleton talked about the work of the P-20 Council, and talked about challenges around bringing the K-12 and higher education systems together. Mr. Freedman responded to her comments, saying the business community needs to be brought in, both as business leaders and as parents and employers of parents.