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Blended Learning Comes to Los Angeles Inner City Schools

Twenty-two inner city schools in Los Angeles are implementing new digital learning programs to support differentiated instruction among as many as 17,000 students. An organization called the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS)--a collaboration between Los Angeles Unified School District and the City of Los Angeles--is working to bring online tools to students in the schools overseen by the partnership, wth the intent that the implementation can be expanded to LAUSD-run schools down the road.

The purpose of the initiative is to put technology into the hands of the impoverished student population. As part of that effort, the partnership--which manages teaching, staffing, and other aspects of these 22 schools located within LAUSD--recently started a Blended and Digital Learning strategy, unveiled on the inaugural national Digital Learning Day, Feb. 1, 2012.

The Blended and Digital Learning initiative is a mix of various teaching strategies that combine face-to-face instruction between the teacher and students with methods using laptops, desktops, smart phones and iPads.

Students and parents attended the Learning Day at Dolores Huerta Elementary School, one of the inner city schools in Los Angeles that is affected. Learning partners from Lexia Learning, Revolution Prep, and MIND Research Institute also attended the event.

Students demonstrated how to use ST Math and Lexia Reading on laptops and iPads, while teachers showed how to use technologies like Promethean interactive whiteboards and projectors to take teaching to the next level.

"We feel it's imperative that all students, regardless of economic circumstances, are exposed to the kind of technology they need to succeed in today's technologically advanced world," Marshall Tuck, CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, said in a prepared statement.

According to PLAS, there is a gap that currently exists with this type of technology for students and their families that live in disadvantaged areas. PLAS said it plans to use online learning programs to help teachers who need to reach students of varying levels in the same classroom in order to improve achievement in math, English/language arts, and CAHSEE testing.

Additional details can be found on the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools site.

About the Author

Kimberly Horg-Webb is a reporter based in California. She can be reached at [email protected].