MinnPost article debates merits of online learning


Jun 2, 2008

An article on MinnPost.com headlined “The rise of ‘virtual schools’ divides education world” quotes Michael Horn extensively in its debate over the merits of online learning in Minnesota. You can view the article here.

The article provides data about the growth of online learning in Minnesota, and talks to many different players in the debate including Adam Urbanski, who says, in the article’s words: “online learning will become the norm and expand a learner’s choices.” Adam Urbanski is a vice president with the American Federation of Teachers and the director of the Teacher Union Reform Network, a Rochester, N.Y.-based group that represents hundreds of thousands of teachers in mostly urban areas, including the Minneapolis and St. Paul districts.

From the article, Horn is quoted as saying:

“We don’t see online learning as replacing a teacher … but shifting a teacher’s role, from being the star on the stage as now to a guide on the side,” Horn says. Computers will assist students with their learning, giving teachers immediate feedback on the students’ progress. The teacher can step in with a different approach, providing personal instruction or a different software program, he says.

That means more individualized, “student-centric” attention catering to each student’s learning style. “Kids need to learn the best way their brains are wired. If you don’t meet the dominant learning style in class, it’s a real struggle,” Horn explains.

Michael is a co-founder and distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute. He currently works as a principal consultant for Entangled Solutions.