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  • Heather Clayton Staker

3. Disruptive Innovation

Updated: Mar 9



One reason it's hard to innovate in schools is that people don't want to experiment when the well-being of children is at stake.


So it's tempting to fall back on "the way I learned when I was in school" rather than try a new, unfamiliar model.


But there's a third option.


What if you could put on a set of lenses, like putting on reading glasses, and see into the future, such that you could predict how an innovation will play out over the long term?


Turns out, a clever professor from Harvard Business School invented lenses like these, and they've made him a superstar among entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and innovators around the world.


The professor is Clayton M. Christensen, and his Theory of Disruptive Innovation has empowered countless dreamers to put on a set of lenses and see the trajectory for their innovations over the long term.


We too can use the Theory of Disruptive Innovation to anticipate the trajectory of education innovation. What technologies will have lasting impact? How will they affect the achievement and well-being of children? Where should we place our bets?


Episode 3 of the new Ready to Blend podcast focuses on the Theory of Disruptive Innovation and how it applies to schools. I share my take on how school leaders, teachers, and parents can use the theory to design the future with greater certainty.


Below is a video of my presenting a similar concept during an in-person Blended Learning Live! event in Wisconsin Dells, Wisc. Ready to Blend Facilitators use this video during one of the Station Rotation segments in the two-day Blended Learning Live! workshop.


I hope you will put Professor Christensen's theory to use as you design learning experiences, whether it's for your child, classroom, district, or country.


For me, one key takeaway is that online and blended learning are not going to fade anytime soon. They are following a disruptive pattern. Our opportunity is to shape them into powerful forces that improve the way the world learns.

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