Innovation in the Classroom

Personalized Approach to Blended Learning
Blended Learning for Alliance School Transformation (BLAST) is an integrated technology educational initiative that builds upon Alliance’s successful college prep curriculum. This new way of learning truly integrates technology into the classroom, making learning more relevant, personalized, and dynamic.   The initiative was piloted in 2010-11 at two Alliance high schools and has since expanded across all Alliance schools.
BLAST classrooms have two to three small group learning stations that result in a vibrant, exciting learning environment.  All students rotate among the stations during a two-hour block schedule, keeping them engaged and involved in their own learning:
Station #1: Teacher-Led Small Group Instruction - Teachers provide direct instruction with individualized attention to a small group of 16 or fewer students. 
Station #2: Individualized Online Learning – Students learn at their own pace, receiving immediate feedback, and taking more ownership of their educational progress.  Online digital content addresses individual student needs, ensuring that students are neither held back nor left behind. 
Station #3: Collaborative Learning - Students work collaboratively in small groups, creating presentations, videos, and other media that demonstrate understanding of real world issues, while encouraging peer-to-peer cooperation. 
BLAST Learning Lab  With learning stations for up to 96 students, individual students can access online courses for credit recovery, electives, Advanced Placement, or Early College Courses without having to wait until there are enough students to fill a classroom.
BLAST is replicable, scalable, and sustainable  While an upfront investment is required, cost savings from efficiencies in human capital as well as online instructional materials allow BLAST schools to replenish and upgrade hardware and software and have a revenue surplus to reinvest in new BLAST schools.
Results  The early results are very promising.  The BLAST pilot schools outperformed neighboring schools on the 2011 Algebra 1 California Standards Test, with 30% more students scoring ‘proficient’.
See BLAST in action  
Watch our short video here.
See Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Technology Academy High School highlighted in a video by Revolution Prep here.  
Read an Alliance profile in a report created by Innosight Institute and Charter School Growth Fund, The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning.
Read a National Case Study by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation featuring Alliance Tennenbaum Family Technology High School here.
Watch Alliance Board Co-Chair Frank Baxter give a TED Talk about BLAST here.

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