SRI Authors: Katrina Woodworth
Woodworth, K., Greenwald, E., Tyler, N., and Comstock, M. (2013). Evaluation of the First Year of the Oakland Blended Learning Pilot. A report to the Rogers Family Foundation. Menlo Park, CA.
Much in the same way technology is changing the way we work and interact in other aspects of our lives, technology will inevitably influence the way we approach teaching and learning. Blended learning describes the integration of technology—and online learning in particular—into classroom-based instruction. In 2012–13, the Rogers Family Foundation (RFF) and Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) launched a blended learning pilot program in four schools. SRI International was contracted to evaluate this pilot.
With support from RFF, OUSD, and other external assistance providers, the goal of the pilot is to support teachers in Oakland schools as they worked to personalize learning through the integration of online digital content, small group instruction, and the use of data. To support efforts to learn from the pilot, a research team from SRI documented how blended learning was applied in participating schools and classrooms and the supports required for success. More specifically, the goals of the evaluation were
• To understand how the core components of blended learning (digital content, small group instruction, data use) work together to improve student learning outcomes
• To track how classroom practices and student learning experiences change over time
• To understand the most useful supports for effective implementation of personalized blended learning in a large school district like Oakland Unified.
The evaluation relied on multiple sources of data, including teacher surveys, classroom observations, school visits that included teacher and principal interviews and student focus groups, and additional interviews with key stakeholders. Because the pilot intended to support substantial experimentation in this first year, the evaluation was designed to examine early-stage implementation and does not assess the impact on student outcomes.