Catholic innovation born out of the will to survive

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Technology has been presented as the cure for all educational problems so often that each new innovation may seem like just another fad. However, a segment starting at about 1:50 in this video shows how blended learning can assist students, in large part by changing teachers' roles. Students spend about half their time working on computers and the rest in small groups or with their teacher, creating, in the words of one teacher, "complete differentiated learning." Teachers have more time and flexibility to show struggling students a new way to approach a problem, or help advanced students extend their learning.  

What is just as intriguing is that the technological innovation is occuring at a Catholic school.  Mission Dolores Academy is, in a sense, a "turnaround" school, created when its approximately 160-year old predecessor was closed because of insufficient enrollment. In the world of education reform, charter schools generally get the most credit for innovation, with public schools a distant second. But many inner-city Catholic schools face similar challenges - tight budgets and significant numbers of students who are learning English or whose family incomes are below the poverty line - and their response to these challenges is worth watching.

Laura Pomerance