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Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns Hardcover – May 14, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0071592062 ISBN-10: 0071592067 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (May 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071592067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071592062
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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


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Customer Reviews

Overall though, the main point of the authors was not clearly articulated.
Amazonman
I highly recommend this book for any individual interested in innovation and/or education.
J. Groen
I encourage you to read it and find ways to apply the lessons in your environment as well!
Todd Eckler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By CrimsonGirl VINE VOICE on 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 By Bill Gossett on July 31, 2008
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By book maniac on 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 By Todd Eckler on September 28, 2008
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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