The following email was brought to my attention today. It was sent to all Seattle Public School staff.

From: Cranston, Gary

Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 12:35 PM

Subject: Tuesdy Tech Tip 5/16/17: Apply TODAY for Summer Blended Learning Institute, Immersive Reader, and Public Folders in OneDrive


This week’s tech tip includes information about how to apply for the 2017 – 2018 Blended Learning Summer Institute, use the Immersive Reader Learning Tool with Office 365 or the Office Lens app, and create a public folder in OneDrive.


Blended Learning Summer Institute 2017: Cohort 2 August 18, 21 and 22

Click here to apply for the Blended Learning Summer Institute and view additional information about the program.

Blended learning combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods. It provides some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.

In this series of paid professional learning activities, you will:

  • Explore different blended learning strategies to find the one that works best for you and your students.
  • Design online resources to support personalized learning.
  • Collaborate with other teachers to share resources and strategies.
  • Provide feedback to DoTS and the IT team regarding use of 15 laptops in a blended learning classroom model.


The terms “blended learning” and “personalized learning” refer to having a student in front of a computer the greater part of a school day, just like the term “school choice” actually refers to charter schools, the privatization of public schools. The terms are palatable and sound ideal to many as a positive leaning experience but those are just marketing terms. When you dig down into what software marketeers are actually referring to, it’s completely different. There is nothing personal about using a software program on a computer compared to interacting with a teacher and students.

In an article I wrote describing blended learning, I stated:

Online charter schools, which the capital venturists like to refer to as “blended learning”, is basically putting a student in front of a computer where they are to read, do their lessons and take tests.

Sports, history and the arts are not part of this program, just the basics.

The reason for the proliferation of these enterprises is that they are cheap to run and generate lots of revenue. At this time, Rocketship, one of the largest online charter chains, has recently increased its student to teacher ratio from 40:1 to 50:1. There is very little overhead, no gym, cafeteria, janitors, staff, just a CEO/Principal/Superintendent and administrative staff. The students do their work at home on a computer and communicate with their teachers via e-mail. The parents communicate with the teacher via phone on a schedule set up by the charter school. That’s the “blended” part, communicating with the teacher via e-mail, phone or “special software” that is promoted by these enterprises.

I believe there is a place for this kind of arrangement, when a student is not able to physically attend school, this would be a good option for those situations but that’s not how the online charter chains see it. They won’t be happy until they can get as many students as possible on a computer 6 to 8 hours a day. It’s all about the money.

The desire by private businesses, like DELL computers, is to sell computers and software. They see school districts as another cash cow as they did with charter schools.

So teachers, unless you want to be replaced with software, I suggest you pay attention to what’s going on in your district. Parents, unless you want your student in front of a computer all day in school, start asking questions.

Related articles:

How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools

Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools

Washington State’s Digital Promise School Districts: Creating new markets for personalized learning snake oil

Washington State’s Digital Promise School Districts: Creating new markets for personalized learning snake oil

Students of Online Schools Are Lagging

Online (Blended) Learning

Ten questions for Seattle Public Schools’ IT Lead John Krull re: EdTech in schools and student privacy

The endgame of corporate reform in public school education: Part 1, What do Betsy DeVos and Seattle Public School’s IT Lead John Krull have in common?

The Ballad of Joseph Olchefske: Middle College, Ed-Reform Market Failure, and the March of Online Learning

An Explosion in Lobbying Around For-Profit K-12 Programs

The inherent racism of Summit “public” (charter) school

Dora Taylor