ON-Lion Letter
Few innovations in education today offer as much potential to improve the quality of learning for all students as the emergence of blended learning -- the combination of personalized, online instruction with high-quality, in-person teaching.  While still very much in its infancy, blended learning is demonstrating promising results, driving a flurry of entrepreneurial activity and increasing enthusiasm among educators for new ways of teaching and learning.

This poses a challenge for philanthropists.  Opportunities for savvy donors to transform schools through blended learning are numerous, but so too are pitfalls, according to a new guidebook from the Philanthropy Roundtable in Washington, D.C., Blended Learning:  A Wise Giver's Guide to Supporting Tech-assisted Teaching by Laura Vanderkam

Blended learning done well, she says, provides adaptive, rigorous, mastery-based learning for any student, anywhere.  Done poorly, it becomes one more example of how the promises of technology can fail to materialize in our schools.

"[B]lended learning is still very much in its early days, so sensible observers will be careful not to over-promise," Vanderkam writes.  "But there is reason to hope that new technology can help America finally deliver on its promise to educate every child to a high standard.  It's possible that intelligent software, flexibly employed by wise educators, pushed by savvy philanthropists and a demanding public, could finally provide a way to accomplish what we all know needs to be done in public education."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports the Philanthropy Roundtable.
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