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DiSrUpTiVe Innovation

April 17, 2018


Photo by Ross Findon @rossf on Unsplash



When I first heard the phrase "disruptive learning" my initial thoughts went to children who disrupt the teacher while teaching and bother the other kids during whole class instruction. These kids are often disrupting because they aren't engaged, or the concept is too hard, or they see no value in learning the concept.


After researching and reading a bit more about disruptive learning and blended learning, I realized that it is kinda sorta like those disruptive kids disrupting the whole class instruction, begging for their individual needs to be met. An education system that can be tailored to each individual student’s learning needs so that all students can succeed is clearly an ideal worth striving for (Arnett, 2014, para. 7). I know most of us believe that individual personalization is what is best, but has always been expensive for most public schools to offer to everyone.


Mr. Arnett also talks about how a student's zip code largely determines whether she or he will receive a high-quality education and speaks about the learning gaps presented between the upper and lower classes (Arnett, 2014, para. 3). This really resonated with me since I do work in a low economic school district. I am in a unique position because I can really see how disruptive innovation is leveling the playing field. I serve students who have never left our town and who probably never will - but through virtual reality I can take them to Paris or give them the thrill of riding a roller coaster, experiences that others get the chance to have. My students can code robots and take apart computers. They can learn through doing, collaboration and exploration. While learning is what is most important, it is important to remember that technology is the vehicle that leads to this valuable learning.


Photo by Samuel Zeller  @samuelzeller on Unsplash


Learning is still learning, but the way students are learning is what has changed. The days of textbooks, papers and pencils are quickly being replaced with devices and stylus pens. The technology aspect is so emphasized because that is what is *new*.  In their book titled, Blended Learning in Action (2017), Green, Tucker and Whycoff say that the students of today are embracing a new set of tools for communicating, collaborating and learning. They express how if teachers do not incorporate the tools students rely on outside of school into the classroom, students will find the work they do in the school increasingly disconnected and irrelevant to their lives (Green, Tucker & Wycoff, 2017, p. 48). 


There are so many opportunities in my school to move towards a more blended learning atmosphere since we are 1:1 with devices. We are already using digital classroom spaces through Google Classroom and are having students create and explore in a way that is relevant to them. I believe that through increased teacher training we could take it up a notch. 


I am very excited to continue to learn about blending learning and disruptive innovation and see how I can apply it to my current position. 



 Arnett, T. (2014). Why Distruptive Innovation Matters to Education. Christensen Institute. Retrieved from

Tucker, C., Wycoff, T., & Green, J. (2017). Blended learning in action (p. 48). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.


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