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Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1118007235
ISBN-10: 1118007239
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"I am convinced that there is an amazing new world of education right around the corner—engaging learning experiences for students, an exciting future for learning professionals, and productive options for families. This book is also a call to join me as an advocate for innovation in learning as the key to lifting the achievement of U.S. students and reaching the next billion young people worldwide."
From the Preface

Our digital age has prompted the need for radical new ways of learning that touch students, teachers, and parents. In Getting Smart, well-known global education expert Tom Vander Ark examines the various facets of educational innovation in the United States and abroad. Vander Ark—a former business executive, school superintendent, and foundation director—makes a convincing case for a new model of education that blends online and on-site learning. Vander Ark explains that through the use of technology it is now possible to provide 24/7 access to learning and increase student engagement. This new model can be cost effective, even doubling productivity for students who are struggling. By customizing learning—teaching the right way at the right level—each hour of learning can become more effective for all students at all levels.

Throughout this inspirational book, Vander Ark shares real-world stories of schools and programs that offer effective "personal digital learning" opportunities. In addition, Getting Smart spells out a vision of what it will take to transform our schools into "smart schools" that blend models, extend learning, and leverage community resources.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Getting Smart

"Provocative and bold, Tom Vander Ark's Getting Smart challenges long-held assumptions about education, points to why innovation will be so critical to enabling the education system of the future, and paints a vision of what learning could look like throughout society—and how we so desperately need it."
Michael B. Horn, executive director, Education of Innosight Institute;and coauthor, Disrupting Class

"Tom Vander Ark thinks public education ought to join the twenty-first century. In this visionary book about a new and much more effective way to educate our kids, he explains the potential impact of the digital revolution on education—a learning transformation that is inevitable, even though it's now still in its infancy. Finally, an education reform book filled with hope, accompanied by a clear articulation of the way forward."
Joel Klein, CEO, Educational Division, News Corporation

"Tom Vander Ark's analysis of the interrelationships between student needs, experiences, schools, and opportunity through innovations is thought provoking and 'wicked smart.' Vander Ark illuminates a pathway that is rational and intelligent—synthesizing the opportunities for adults to get smarter in serving our aspiring youth."
Susan Patrick, president and CEO, iNACOL

"As usual, Tom Vander Ark is right on target. Blended learning will change how and what we teach and how and what students learn. Tomorrow has suddenly become today!"
Terry Grier, superintendent, Houston ISD

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118007239
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118007235
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #823,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark P. McDonald VINE VOICE on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Getting Smart expresses Tom Vander Ark's vision for a future education system built on the realities of current and new technology. It is a future vision that most educators will not like, nor will find easy to support. It is a vision that makes you think and a great illustration on the ability of new technologies to drive a different view of the future based on new fundamentals.

The technologies Vander Ark discusses are, on one hand, a continuation of current consumer technology trends and, on the other, a revolution to the educational status quo. The book provides a strong, coherent and well-argued point of view that covers not only the application of technology to learning but also the implications of that application on the entire education system.

Learning is the operative idea in Vander Ark's book. Learning in terms of the outcome technology supports, what students actually do and the future of a re-imagined education system. The book can be divided into these two areas.

The first part of the book, chapters 1 - 6, concentrates on technology and the changing learning environment. Vander Ark describes how learning is different in an environment where it is self-paced, self directed and open to the best materials available. Vander Ark covers the impact of adding social networking and gaming to the learning process in ways that drive beyond what you may think of as traditional learning management systems.

The technologies Vander Ark foresees are not Internet applications that facilitate teaching (ala Blackboard) but consumer technologies that facilitate exploration, learning and demonstration of mastery at the individual level.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Most of us describe the growth of an idea or technology by using the familiar "S-shaped" curve. George Land, in his early work took the concept one notch further by suggesting that as an idea or technology became mature there needed to be a leap to the next growth curve, a process that few were able to make- first, the innovators, who started the next growth curve. Clayton Christen pointed out that these innovators often provided products or services that were poor substitutes for the mature industry and thus were largely ignored. Eventually, these ideas improved until they were able to effectively compete and capture a significant market share, or, perhaps, even become dominant. That point has been reached in the education technology arena.

Tom Vander Ark's insightful volume basically declares that most of the early innovation in the arena of digital learning has either fallen by the way or is rapidly becoming the key to significant change in how we learn from PreK to gray, with the focus of this book being primarily in the K-12 schools. To ignore this or to treat it as "another technology" to be grafted onto the current lock-step, age-defined, cohorts of the traditional school is to mistake the fact that we are now, globally, turning the corner towards the rapid rise on the familiar sigmoid curve of digital learning environments. The innovation phase is passed and the early adoption period is rapidly ending as digital technology from smart phones and tablets to cloud computing become the "new normal".

For many years the common cliché has been that we are changing from the sage-on-the-stage to the guide-on-the-side.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Learning and education are arguably the most powerful engines to achieving economic growth, societal cohesion and cooperation and perhaps most importantly for every person to realize their own potential and humanity. In past centuries the mere rarity of books and their prohibitive price, kept the populace largely ignorant and subjugated. The challenge of contemporary learning institutions is that the cost of attending a private university can leave a graduate chained to a suffocating financial debt but also released into an environment where even entry level employment is elusive. With the seeming ubiquity of the Internet and it's universal reach, the idea of online learning seems obvious and an elegant alternative. This is the premise of this book.

The author outlines the challenges and objections that present themselves regarding online learning verses attending a brick and mortar institution. Social interaction is crucial in development especially for younger students. How to gauge a student's progress and individual needs, not to mention the challenge of honesty in an anonymous format. Would universities with cache and prestige who offer online learning put smaller institutions out of business. What would the pricing structure be? What would be the motivation to develop online programs if learning became free? If pricing would be similar to brick and mortar classes, other than convenience, would online learning offer any solution to the education/expense equation?

The author addresses these and other aspects of online learning as a former administrator of a large school system. He seems passionate in his enthusiasm for the potential as well as perhaps the inevitability of this next phase of education.
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