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Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns [Kindle Edition]

Clayton Christensen , Curtis W. Johnson , Michael B. Horn
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Selected as one of the "Best Books on Innovation, 2008" by BusinessWeek magazine

Named the "Best Human-Capital Book of 2008" by Strategy + Business magazine


A crash course in the business of learning-from the bestselling author of The Innovator's Dilemma and The Innovator's Solution


"Provocatively titled, Disrupting Class is just what America's K-12 education system needs--a well thought-through proposal for using technology to better serve students and bring our schools into the 21st Century. Unlike so many education 'reforms,' this is not small-bore stuff. For that reason alone, it's likely to be resisted by defenders of the status quo, even though it's necessary and right for our kids.
We owe it to them to make sure this book isn't merely a terrific read; it must become a blueprint for educational transformation."

--Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education


“A brilliant teacher, Christensen brings clarity to a muddled and chaotic world of education.”
--Jim Collins, bestselling author of Good to Great

According to recent studies in neuroscience, the way we learn doesn't always match up with the way we are taught. If we hope to stay competitive-academically, economically, and technologically-we need to rethink our understanding of intelligence, reevaluate our educational system, and reinvigorate our commitment to learning. In other words, we need “disruptive innovation.”


Now, in his long-awaited new book, Clayton M. Christensen and coauthors Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson take one of the most important issues of our time-education-and apply Christensen's now-famous theories of “disruptive” change using a wide range of real-life examples. Whether you're a school administrator, government official, business leader, parent, teacher, or entrepreneur, you'll discover surprising new ideas, outside-the-box strategies, and straight-A success stories.

You'll learn how



  • Customized learning will help many more students succeed in school
  • Student-centric classrooms will increase the demand for new technology
  • Computers must be disruptively deployed to every student
  • Disruptive innovation can circumvent roadblocks that have prevented other attempts at school reform
  • We can compete in the global classroom-and get ahead in the global market

Filled with fascinating case studies, scientific findings, and unprecedented insights on how innovation must be managed, Disrupting Class will open your eyes to new possibilities, unlock hidden potential, and get you to think differently. Professor Christensen and his coauthors provide a bold new lesson in innovation that will help you make the grade for years to come.


The future is now. Class is in session.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's no secret that people learn in different ways, so why, the authors of this book ask, "can't schools customize their teaching?" The current system, "designed for standardization," must by its nature ignore the individual needs of each student. The answer to this problem, the authors argue, is "disruptive innovation," a principle introduced (and initially applied to business) by Harvard Business School professor Christensen in The Innovator's Dilemma. The idea is that an audience in need will benefit from even a faulty opportunity to fulfill that need; in education, the demand for individual instruction could be met through infinitely customizable online computer-based instruction. The authors, all professionals in education, present a solution to the ills of standardized education that's visionary but far-fetched; even they admit that their recommendations would be extremely difficult to implement in current school systems. Still, the authors' unusual case, though occasionally bogged down in tangents, is worthy reading for school administrators, teachers, parents and, perhaps most of all, software developers. Charts.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

WARNING: THIS BOOK WILL CHALLENGE

EVERYTHING YOU EVER LEARNED-ABOUT LEARNING

“After a barrage of business books that purport to 'fix' American education, at last a book that speaks thoughtfully and imaginatively about what genuinely individualized education can be like and how to bring it about.”
-Howard Gardner, author of Five Minds for the Future

“A decade ago, Clayton Christensen wrote a masterpiece, The Innovator's Dilemma, that transformed the way business looks at innovation. Now, he and two collaborators, Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson, have come up with another, focusing his groundbreaking theories of disruptive innovation on education."
-David Gergen, US Presidential Advisor

“Clayton Christensen's insights just might shake many of us in education out of our complacency and into a long needed disruptive discourse about really fixing our schools. This will be a welcome change after decades in which powerful calls to action have resulted in only marginal improvements for our nation's school children.”
-Vicki Phillips, director of Education, Gates Foundation

“Full of strategies that are both bold and doable, this brilliant and seminal book shows how we can utilize technology to customize learning. I recommend it most enthusiastically.”
-Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester (NY) Teachers Association, and vice president of the American Federation of Teachers

"Finally we have a book from the business community that gets it. Disrupting Class from Clayton Christensen and colleagues points out that motivation is central to learning and that if schools and learning are to be transformed as they must be, motivation must be at the center of the work. They also point out how technology should be used to personalize learning and what the future might look like for schools. A must read for anyone thinking and worrying about where education should be headed."
-Paul Houston, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators

“Powerful, proven strategies for moving education from stagnation to evolution.”
-Christopher Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Clayton Christensen and colleagues describe how disruptive technologies will personalize and, as a result, revolutionize learning. Every education leader should read this book, set aside their next staff meeting to discuss it, and figure out how they can be part of the improvement wave to come.”
-Tom Vander Ark, President, X PRIZE Foundation

“In Disrupting Class, Christensen, Horn and Johnson argue that the next round of innovation in school reform will involve learning software. While schools have resisted integrating technology for instruction, today's students are embracing technology in their everyday lives. This book offers promise to education reformers.”
-Kathleen McCartney, Dean, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“The genius of Disrupting Class is the spotlight the book throws on how we can tap children’s early enthusiasm for school by letting them learn in best-choice, individualized ways, the teacher’s role transformed from ‘sage on stage’ to ‘guide on the side.’”
--Seattle Times & Post-Intelligencer


Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but rather jargon-heavy August 23, 2008
Format:Hardcover
"Disrupting Class" is a very interesting read for people interested in improving education here in the U.S. Dr. Christensen argues that the main problem with traditional schools is that they cannot provide individualized instruction that best meets each student's needs. As a home educator, I couldn't agree with him more. He sees computer-based learning as a "disruptive innovation" that will solve the problem of how to provide this type of "student-centric" learning to the masses (since not everyone can homeschool or hire a tutor for their offspring).

Dr. Christensen revisits the argument from his earlier book "The Innovator's Dilemma" that "disruptive innovations" don't initially compete directly against the current market leader's product but rather against nonconsumption. For example, in the '70's Digital had a very successful market for $200k minicomputers. Apple couldn't directly compete with DEC's minicomputers because their personal computers weren't good enough at the time to solve the problems that DEC's customers had. So Apple marketed its IIe PC as a relatively affordable toy for kids. Kids were nonconsumers so it didn't matter to them that the Apple wasn't as powerful as the existing DEC minicomputers. A few years down the road, however, improvements in PC technology rendered DEC's minicomputers obsolete.

Dr. Christensen argues that the traditional government-run education system will in the near future be "disrupted" by the innovation of computer-based learning. At first, online learning will compete against nonconsumption by offering classes in subjects where there isn't enough demand in any given school to justify offering a traditional course (such as a very advanced math one or an unusual foreign language).
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Any prospective reader of this book should first read Hubbard's How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of "Intangibles" in Business (for that matter, Christensen would have written a better book if he read Hubbard, too). Christensen rightly disputes some academic measurements, but too quickly dismisses better methods.

Apart from what he could have done better on the measurement issue, he makes a passionate case for getting out of the rut education finds itself in. Some of the recommendations might strike a business person or educator as a little impractical, but I think there is an interesting opportunity in every solution he proposes. True, there is a large genre of books about the need for change in education, but few take this angle. No educator's library should be without it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disruptive thinking for the classroom June 12, 2008
Format:Hardcover
I am a layperson with an interest in education and technology. I read Innovator's Dilemma and was anxious to see if Clayton Christensen could apply his unique business lens to sort through, and perhaps solve the issues concerning our failing public education system.

He and his colleagues didn't disappoint me.

This book was eminently readable and layer by layer, uncovered the weaknesses in the way we educate our kids. It's not simply a matter of putting technology in schools or tutoring kids who learn differently; it's a matter of changing the way the monolithic system, and entrenched stakeholders, work against innovation and creativity in learning by challenging the underlying foundations of that system.

According to Christensen, flexible individualized instruction combined with the proper use of technology, rewiring content development and distribution channels, and the creation of online networks of students, parents and teachers working together instead of in opposition, can revolutionize education in the United States.

If you care about the future of education, and of a child's ability to compete in the global economy, read this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Christensen approaches improving the education system from the broad lens of innovation, rather than focusing solely on examining the school system itself. The result: a powerful perspective on how disruptive innovation outside the mainstream curriculum can ultimately transform the techniques and results of the public school system in general.

Disrupting Class outlines a thorough argument for how to dramatically improve the U.S. educational system including:

* The shortcomings of previous approaches to improving education, and therefore what needs to be different in the future

* The importance of adapting teaching techniques to different learning styles (building on previous work Gardner and others); I can particularly relate to this as I have a family member with dyslexia who became an avid reader after receiving a different approach to reading instruction rather than the standard public school curriculum.

* The potential for computers and more modularization of teaching to deliver individualized learning in the context of the school system; Christensen is quick to point out that more computers are not the solution, it is the way in which computers are used that are critical.

* The barriers to change in the current system; Having studied numerous organizations within and outside the educational system, Christensen presents a valuable framework for how to drive change in organizations with different characteristics. The challenge is that the public school system has one of the most complicating set of features. Through understanding these factors, administrators and educators must employ different approaches to creating change which are outlined in the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars love it
Disrupting Class is a new buzz word for educators. We NEED to learn from this great read how to use the term correctly. Read more
Published 3 months ago by LT
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Fits Great! This is exactly what my daughter wanted for Christmas and at a great price! This is definitely a product worth buying!
Published 3 months ago by David Shawn Smith
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas many NOT supported by current science. "A" for...
I actually enjoyed this book, and assumed that the science, and scientific observations cited in the book, had been researched and vetted in detail, I suppose I had that assumption... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dean
4.0 out of 5 stars a great read for educators looking for positive change
Overall the book was a practical way to look at education through a lens that is not from the education world. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kaohsiung American School / An Meyer
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit dated and still... a wow
History is the final judge. While somewhat dated in writing, it only proves he was correct in the calls, and the saga is still unfolding. Don't understand where education is going? Read more
Published 9 months ago by Tcat
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and provocative
Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns presents a new, innovative but very doable approach to education, that makes best use of... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Michael Edmonds
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag
I was excited to read this. I read The Innovators Dilemma and thought it was very interesting and insightful, having lived through this in my years at Data General. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Daniel Ethier
5.0 out of 5 stars Seizing a Great Opportunity by Curing What Ails Education
In "Disrupting Class," Clayton Christensen ("Innovator's Dilemma," "Innovator's Rx") et al make the case that disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns - by... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Thomas M. Loarie
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth buying
I am a teacher with 8 years of experience. I have just finished reading the first 2 chapters and I have to say that the book is not worth reading. Read more
Published on September 5, 2011 by AppleseedEd
1.0 out of 5 stars Disrupting Class
I am a license and certified speech-language pathologist and have worked with children on the spectrum for many years. This book is horrible. Read more
Published on July 10, 2011 by nancyslp
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Where are the educational innovators?
Check out schoolio.org
Jan 9, 2009 by Robert Caveney |  See all 2 posts
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