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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book that offers great analysis and insight
I bought this book in the process of researching the future of education for a graduate school and found myself taking notes as I went along. The book is structured in an easy to read fashion, and is a fairly short read, but it is packed with great information. As it says on the cover it revolves on Clayton Christensen's theories on Disruptive Innovation. It focuses on...
Published on August 27, 2011 by Jeffrey L

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-Intentioned but Flawed
Clayton Christensen previously has provided excellent insights on disruptive technologies within the business world. Unfortunately, he does not succeed with "Disrupting Class."

Christensen begins noting that typical "solutions" do not up to scrutiny. Inflation-adjusted per-pupil expenditures have be doubled, with little result; further, Kentucky state...
Published 11 months ago by Loyd E. Eskildson


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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book that offers great analysis and insight, August 27, 2011
I bought this book in the process of researching the future of education for a graduate school and found myself taking notes as I went along. The book is structured in an easy to read fashion, and is a fairly short read, but it is packed with great information. As it says on the cover it revolves on Clayton Christensen's theories on Disruptive Innovation. It focuses on education from grades K-12.

Disruptive Innovation in a nutshell, is an innovation that brings improvements that are different than those traditionally used in measuring the quality of a product in a specific industry. Christensen has found that this kind of innovation has a good chance of being overlooked by the incumbent industry leaders because it is deficient in the areas the industry leaders view as key. And because technology generally develops faster than the demand of the consumers, this new product soon "catches up" to consumers, and also provides additional advantages. An example is the MP3 player, which provided advantages that old music systems did not (namely storage) but initially did not have the sound quality to draw those who were listening on CD players and the like (industry leaders at the time were looking at metrics like sound quality to consider products.)

When it comes to education, Christensen and the other authors posit that "student-centric education", made possible through technology, fits the model of disruptive innovation. They take the time to illustrate how such education is developing, illustrate the differences between the school system and standard businesses (in disruptive innovation) and make some predictions about the future of education. They also wrap up the book by telling how one can utilize such tools as parents or students, and provide insight for educators on how to implement different elements. The book also provides references to a ton of useful material.

As can be seen I rated the book 5 stars and think it is a fabulous resource.

Added 8/28/11

For those who want more information, here's a chapter summary:

Chapter 1: Students learn in different ways. Customizing education to allow students to learn in the way they learn best will improve intrinsic motivation. Need a student-centered approach. Technology is an important vehicle towards making this happen.

Chapter 2: Disruptive innovation shows us that schools in the US have improved, while standards of success have shifted. This provides confidence that changes can be made. Chapter provides overview on disruptive innovation.

Chapter 3: How can we change from the "interdependent curricular architecture" of most schools to a "modular, student-centric" approach? How do we move from one education for all to education for each individual? Further why have schools, which have spent $60 billion placing computers in classrooms not done this yet? Answer to this question is that they have looked to incorporate computers into their existing model instead of allowing it to develop in a new model.

Chapter 4: How can it then be implemented? Have it compete against "non-consumption" where the alternative is to do nothing at all. Current examples are included in this chapter.

Chapter 5: Disruption has 2 stages. Some changes must also be made outside the public school classroom. Disruption and student-centric technology must first solve problems outside of the classroom. Educated guesses on what that may look like are included in this chapter.

Chapter 6: Focus on pre-school years.

Chapter 7: Standard research approach in colleges has not provided clear guidance to educators. Chapter focuses on ways education research can improve predictability in education.

Chapter 8: Managerial toolkit to those working on changing.

Chapter 9: Which teams are appropriate for which changes? Also, a new way to visualize the role of chartered schools.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seizing a Great Opportunity by Curing What Ails Education, June 6, 2012
This review is from: Disrupting Class, Expanded Edition: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (Hardcover)
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 disrupting the classroom and, in turn, social "class." They state unequivocally that education in the U.S. will change dramatically over the next decade with computer-based, student-centric learning accounting for 50% of the learning time in U.S. secondary schools and by 2024, 80%.

Will this lead to better educational success? And what about the obstacles that have frustrated policymakers, administrators, teachers, and parents who have tried to improve schools for years? How will this be achieved? The authors address these and other questions by applying the theory of disruption - a powerful body of theory that describes how people interact and react, how behavior is shaped, how organizational cultures form and influence decisions - to the convergences underway today.

Computer learning has, until now, been crammed into the existing educational structure without success. With a changing environment, there are now drivers which are changing the landscape allowing computer-learning to penetrate "foothold" (non-standard learning situations where computer-learning will be embraced) markets. These new market niches are, in-turn, encouraging the development of innovative "student centric" programs (like The Khan Academy,[...]) which are experiencing rapid adoption.

The main drivers for the creation of "foothold" market adoption include:
* The pressure on schools to improve test scores in core subject areas is leading to a greater investment of resources and time in math and reading at the expense of other courses. The "nice-to-have" courses are being dropped by school districts creating a vacuum which has become an opportunity for on-line providers to fill. While teacher unions will oppose computer-based courses for core curriculum, they will not object to computer-based courses they will not teach.
* A rapidly growing home-schooling market. Parents are seeking computer-based courses to augment their children's coursework with professional teaching. There is no union issue to contend with.

Penetration of the "foothold markets" combined with four additional factors will accelerate substitution of computer-based learning in the traditional school:
1. Computer-based learning will keep improving now that markets are established. Technological improvements will make learning more engaging.
2. Research will advance to enable the design of student-centric software appropriate to each type of learner. This ability for students, teachers, and parents to select a learning pathway to fit an individual's learning style will mark a breakthrough in learning...and teaching.
3. A looming teacher shortage will drive educators to find new ways to teach. .
4. Inexorable cost pressures on schools will drive administrators to find more cost-effective ways of delivering education. With software-based learning, costs will fall significantly with scale-up.

"Disrupting Class" provides real hope, predicated on an analytical framework, that schools in the future will fulfill their basic mission to: maximize human potential; facilitate a vibrant democracy; hone the skills, capabilities, and attitudes that will help our economy to be prosperous and competitive; and nurture the understanding that people can see things differently. This is a must read for anyone interested in education, its future, and the future of our society.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Vision of Education's Future, January 9, 2012
By 
Eric Berglund (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Disrupting Class, Expanded Edition: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (Hardcover)
Christensen, Horn, and Johnson have written a short but compelling book that challenges US Education
to address the needs of all its students. Starting with the premise that students have a number of
different learning styles, they argue that the school of the future can and should deliver a customized
education to every individual.

As difficult as that may sound, they see a way to achieve it: Tap into an exploding body of self-paced,
online presentations. They see these presentations as the work of parents, teachers, and other students,
who will develop them as a way to cement their own learning and contribute to the wider world.
In this model, "disruptive" to the status quo, teachers become guides and tutors, who get to know each
of their students, select material appropriate for their learning styles, and help them overcome obstacles.

The authors' vision attempts to address the issue they see as most responsible for student failure:
lack of intrinsic motivation. (They make quick but reasonably persuasive arguments that most other
alleged causes of school problems don't hold up under scrutiny.) They cite research saying that most
students will engage with schooling if they experience real success (not just praise for its own sake),
and get to spend time with their friends. Frequent online testing, allowing students to be challenged but
to demonstrate mastery frequently, is just what's needed to help pupils feel the sense of accomplishment
that will keep them moving forward.

The book is, in effect, an extension of Christensen's "Innovator's" series, which explore his theories of
how new products and services rise in the market. In education, the authors argue, people who share
their vision of the future should be developing solutions for underserved populations (special ed,
Advanced Placement students, students with learning styles that don't match those in the textbooks, etc.).
They caution against trying to implement this vision by confronting school boards and/or unions head-on.
(They provide a model describing how decisions can be made when people disagree on goals or
recommended approaches. )

The text shows its origins in the world of business. Examples of companies and markets abound,
providing analogies the authors believe should inform thinking about education. An ambitious work,
it tries to give pithy advice to all constituencies: students, teachers, parents, administrators, philanthropists,
software developers, college teachers of Education, and education researchers. The result is sometimes
a bit scattered, and probably speaks more to a business owner interested in education than to actual educators.

The overall impact is thought-provoking and even inspiring, despite predictions that can seem overly bold.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-Intentioned but Flawed, July 28, 2013
Clayton Christensen previously has provided excellent insights on disruptive technologies within the business world. Unfortunately, he does not succeed with "Disrupting Class."

Christensen begins noting that typical "solutions" do not up to scrutiny. Inflation-adjusted per-pupil expenditures have be doubled, with little result; further, Kentucky state accountability index performance between two districts varies inversely with expenditures - despite the lower-spending district also being more disadvantaged in pupil characteristics. (Christensen, however, offers no explanation of that the state accountability index is comprised.) He also points out that U.S. education spending is about twice that of other developed nations.

Others contend that new technology is key to improving pupil performance. Christensen, however, notes that computer availability has roughly doubled, again, with little impact.

Perhaps pupil motivation is the key. Christensen "refutes" this explanation by reporting area scores in Montgomery County, Md. that meet or exceed minimums now match those of white pupils in non-poverty areas. (Christensen, however, fails to recognize that this is meaningless if the "minimum" standards are low.)

Christensen then notes that the proportion of pupils taking science and engineering courses falls as a nation's prosperity increases - somehow failing to recognize that this supports a pupil motivation is key hypothesis.

Later on in "Disrupting Class," Christensen reports favorable NAEP trends at the lower age levels as indicative of successes, failing to also notice that the 17-year-old scores have remained unchanged for decades - therefore, undermining his conclusion.

The essence of "Disrupting Class" is that computers can make learning more effective and attractive by individualizing instruction. Unfortunately, this is directly contrary to his early observation that high-scoring nations primarily use rote instruction, while the lower-scoring U.S. uses pupil-centered, more individualized instruction.

Bottom-Line: A well-intentioned, but flawed book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grand theory applied to everything, July 18, 2013
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Christensen reminds me of Marx and Engles; having come up with a new perspective on economics they then proceeded to write volumes and volumes applying it to everything and anything. (even astrophysics) Some of their applications were profoundly inciteful and well researched, some of them were more like wishful thinking and some were downright silly. I think Christensen's book the "Innovator's Dilemma" will rank as one of the classics of economic and social theory, on a level with works such as "the Wealth of Nations". In "Disrupting Class", he applies his theory of disruption to the field of education and not only provides an analysis of the field but makes some very strong predictions. However, in the case of education, as opposed to business, the mechanism of social change is not clearly laid out. (This was the problem with all of Marx's grand predictions, as Elster pointed out) Businesses change because old ones go bankrupt and new ones take their place, yet unwieldy bureaucracies can remain that way for hundreds of years (the Vatican). I would like to believe in the future of education in "Disrupting Class" but there is not enough explanation in the book of how this will come about. Still an interesting and thoughtful book, but not his best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Every Educator, May 10, 2013
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The book does a great job outlining several events that will ultimately "disrupt" education. Any school leader or teacher should be aware of the culture of disruption and how to turn that into a positive situation for all students.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for those interested in the future of US education., March 9, 2013
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Are you concerned about the USA's competitiveness worldwide and our seeming inability to produce educated, productive innovative graduates? So was I. Disrupting class is a terrific look at how we can re-invent the classroom and provide individualized instruction that can help every student be successful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two years later, this book's hypotheses are coming true, September 23, 2012
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Great read for any educator to better understand the movement from a teacher lead classroom, to a student centric approach to learning. This book was written a couple of years ago and they predicted around 2012 the moment would be right for disruptive innovation to take off and start to challenge the status quo in real terms. We see platforms such as Khan Academy and Udacity being independent from large institutions shaping and changing how people learn. Then we have edX and Google's new online learning platform taking shape. If you want to better understand what these start ups are doing right, read this book to get a look under the hood. I highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trend in future education, June 5, 2014
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This review is from: Disrupting Class, Expanded Edition: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (Hardcover)
This is a very far-sighted book. It analyzes the root cause of low ROI in US education system. The authors proposed a new custom made program delivered via internet to accommodate both the students' learning pace, and the school training budget. Since the publication of this book, many organizations, such as Khan Academy and Coursera, have enriched the on-line training contents. It is a book worthy of reading to understand the US education system.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE, June 4, 2014
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This review is from: Disrupting Class, Expanded Edition: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (Hardcover)
Best class and best book I have ever had to read for class. I loved reading about this sort of education because it's information that we need to know & use to get better within our education system!
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Disrupting Class, Expanded Edition: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns
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