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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Fuse-RI: A State-Wide K-12 Blended Learning Implementation Initiative

Kathryn Kennedy (MVU, Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute, USA)
Additional Authors
Shawn Rubin (Highlander Institute, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2015 - 9:10am
Blended Models & Course Design
Areas of Special Interest: 
Innovative Blends
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Innovation and Experimentation
Institutional Level: 
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Plaza Court 3
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Concurrent Session 4

Fuse RI is a statewide, open source model for K-12 blended learning implementation consultation in Rhode Island.

Extended Abstract

Fuse RI is a statewide, open source model for K-12 blended learning implementation consultation in Rhode Island that was developed and is being implemented by the Highlander Institute, a non-profit community of educators and professionals working to improve the educational experience of all learners. Across the country, blended learning is growing exponentially, and organizations like the Highlander Institute are hard at work helping to guide the work of educators using research, policy, and practice centered on blended learning. Using its program known as Fuse RI, the Highlander Institute is working directly with districts that are at various stages of blended learning implementation to tailor to their current circumstances at the time they most need it.

The goal of Fuse RIs three-year project _ in partnership with the RI Department of Education (RIDE), RISTE, and several other RI Professional Development organizations _ was to develop a statewide open system for sharing, implementing, evaluating, and scaling technology usage and blended learning across RI. Their open source system consists of three key components:

1. District Broadcast Platform: This district facing portal offers districts the opportunity to share information privately with RIDE and the Highlander Institute regarding areas in which support is needed for blended learning implementation, and openly with their constituents (parents, students, businesses) when there are things to celebrate or stakeholder feedback that is required. Each districts content is viewable between districts so that administrators and educators can learn through cross-district collaboration including: the sharing of questions, needs, and challenges, purchasing and procurement decisions, blended learning implementation as well as successes & best practices around finance allocation.

2. Statewide Resource Bank: As the 57 public districts and charters crowdsource their needs and resources into one unified platform, the Highlander Institute synthesizes the content and works hand-in-hand with RIDE to disseminate what is needed to the districts to match their most immediate needs. The Highlander Institute has built a custom resource bank that matches district requests with available resources both within RI and nationally. Where gaps present themselves, the Highlander Institute creates content and/or commissions for content to be created that will add to the resource database.

3. Personalized District Consulting: The Highlander Institutes network of high-flying educators from across the state will work with RIDE as personalized consultants for each district. These consultants keep each district moving forward by reviewing each districts Broadcast Platform, diagnosing their strengths and needs in regards to financial, technological or professional development. These consultants help the Highlander Institute further develop the states resource bank and conference/workshop offerings each year to meet the needs of the 57 public districts.

Lead Presenter

Kathryn Kennedy is a Senior Researcher at the MVU's Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute. Her team conducts and coordinates research projects in K-12 online and blended learning and hosts webinars, a blog, and a podcast series, three venues that help to disseminate the field’s research. Her practical and research experiences include educator professional development for technology integration and instructional design in traditional, blended, and online learning environments. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Florida (2010) in curriculum and instruction, with a concentration in educational technology. She is co-chair of the SITE Virtual Schooling SIG and co-editor of the Journal of Online Learning Research (AACE).