Check out the exciting innovations for back-to-school. Learn more

Making Math Work: K-8 Blended Learning

Educators now have the power to boost student engagement and achievement with an exciting innovation: blended learning. While blended learning leverages technology, it’s not about technology per se—rather, it is a way to personalize learning for students, so teachers can give students what they need, when they need it, particularly in core subjects like math.

Why do we need to make this shift? The World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. an unacceptable 48th out of 133 developed and developing nations in math and science instruction. In an increasingly competitive world, our schools must move into high-performance mode, and leverage technology to advance education— just as we have used it to advance business. With lower device costs, increasing availability of Internet access, and engaging and sophisticated adaptive learning software systems and tools, it is easier than it has ever been to integrate blended learning into our schools. Teachers can become more productive and student accomplishment can be accelerated to more fully prepare our children for college, successful careers, and flourishing lives.

10 Drivers of Blended Learning

Part I: Why Blended Learning?

  • Meet Challenges
  • Personalize Learning
  • Strengthen Teaching

Part II: Ten Important Decisions

  1. Goals
  2. Elementary School Models
  3. Entry Point
  4. Content
  5. Access Devices
  6. Staffing
  7. Staff Development
  8. Building Support
  9. Timeline
  10. Funding

Part III: Phases of Development

  1. Tips to Boost Affordability
  2. Stop buying print/go paperless; shift to online instructional materials
  3. Use as much open content as possible
  4. Shift to mostly online professional development
  5. Use Title 1 funds
  6. Maximize E-rate
  7. Leverage grant funding
  8. Charge user fee of at least $50
  9. Phase in over three years
  10. Consider leasing

Elementary School Implementations: DreamBox-Driven Success Stories

  • Rocky Mount Preparatory School – Rocky Mount, North Carolina
  • Brick Avon Academy And Brick Peshine – Newark, New Jersey
  • W. H. Robinson – School Greenville, North Carolina
  • Christina School District – Delaware
  • Sultan Elementary – Sultan, Washington

About the Author: Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark

Author & CEO, Getting Smart

Tom Vander Ark is a Managing Partner of Learn Capital. Previously, he served as President of the X PRIZE Foundation and Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tom served as a public school superintendent for one of Washington State’s larger school districts that has been recognized for narrowing achievement gaps and reducing administrative costs. Tom also has extensive experience in the private sector serving as a senior executive for retail start up PACE Membership Warehouse that achieved $5 billion in revenue and was sold to K-Mart.

Tom is director of the International Association of K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and advises a number of education reform groups. He’s the author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and blogs at