Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns - Clayton Christensen
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Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns - Clayton Christensen
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Brief Summary:
"Disrupting Class" was named the "Best Human Capital Book of 2008" by Strategy + Business magazine. This book has many examples of how to customize the way students learn to fit their individual needs. There are scientific findings and case studies to show how disrupting class can prove to be an effective way of teaching. If you want to read a great book with many different types of ideas on how to improve the public education system, expand on the global classrooms and the global market, this book will cover it all. Whether you are a parent, a government official or anything in between, this book is for you. The way people learn can be different from the way they were taught. With "Disrupting Class" you can learn vital information on how to get the most out of any learning experience.

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Computers & Internet
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Other Books by This Author:
Innovator's Prescription - A Disruptive Solution for Health Care
The Innovator's Dilemma - When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
The Innovator's Solution - Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth
Seeing What's Next
Innovation and the General Manager

Similar Books by Other Authors:
Conversations with Great Teachers By Bill Smoot
The Third Source: A Message of Hope for Eduction By Dustin Heuston

Book Notes and Excerpts:

We all know that becoming a great athlete or great pianist requires an extraordinary amount of consistent work. Motivation can be extrinsic or intrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is when the work itself stimulates and compels an individual to stay with the task because the task itself is inherently fun and enjoyable. Every student learns in a different way. A teacher lecturing a classroom of students is the most common monolithic technology in education. Flow is being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away, time flies, every action, movement and thought follows inevitably from the previous one like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you are using your skills to the utmost. Schools have a very interdependent architecture, which mandates the standardization. So how do we get customized learning for each student? Modularity allows for customization, so the solution is to move to a modular architecture in schools. Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner is the pioneer in the multiple intelligences field. He identified eight intelligences.

Eight Intelligences
  1. Linguistic: Ability to think in words and use language
  2. Logical: Mathematical
  3. Spatial: Ability to think in three-dimensional ways
  4. Bodily-Kinesthetic: Ability to manipulate objects and fine tune physical skills
  5. Musical
  6. Interpersonal
  7. Intrapersonal: Ability to construct an accurate self-perception used as knowledge
  8. Naturalist: Ability to observe patterns in nature, identify and classify objects

Gardner’s research shows that although most people have some capacity in each of the eight intelligences, most people excel in only two or three. This is unique talent. Within each type of intelligence, there might be different learning preferences which would be the method of learning. People learn at different paces--slow, medium, fast, and all the variations within.

Modular Architectures
Modular architectures optimize flexibility for easy customization. Because people can change pieces without redesigning everything else, real customization for different needs is relatively easy. A modular architecture enables an organization to serve these needs. Modularity also opens the system to enable competition for performance improvement and cost reduction of each module. There is strong evidence that project-based learning is a highly motivating way for many students to synthesize what they are learning as well as to identify gaps in their knowledge that needs to be filled. Ten percent of children in the 1970s had special needs. Now special education accounts for over a fifth of the spending in many districts. We are all differently abled. The students who succeed in schools do so largely because their intelligence happens to match the dominant paradigm in using a particular classroom, or somehow they adapt to it.

Like poles repel each other, and opposite poles attract. In the typical classroom, those “like poles” attract each other. Disruptive innovations create asymmetric competition. Non-consumers or non-consuming communications and disruptive innovations are competing against non-consumption. A disruptive innovation is not a breakthrough improvement. Instead of sustaining the traditional improvement trajectory in the established plane of competition, it disrupts that trajectory by bringing to the market a product or service that actually is not as good as what companies historically have been selling. Because it is not as good, the existing customers in the back plane cannot use it. The disruptive innovation benefits people who have been unable to consume the back-plane product--people we call “non-consumers”. The impact of this change in the definition of quality is that the disruptive products in the new plane are not attractive to the customers of products in the original plane. They don’t want and can’t use them. Because companies need to meet the needs of their customers, the companies that made the products in the original plane of competition have a difficult time engaging simultaneously in the new, disruptive plane as well.

DEC could generate a $100,000 gross margin each time it sold a minicomputer. But the $1,000 gross margin from selling a personal computer paled in comparison. Disruption rarely arrives as an abrupt shift in reality for a decade, the personal computer did not affect DEC’s growth or profits. But little by little the disruption improves. At some point, users can take tasks that formerly could be done only in the back plane and do them in the affordable, accessible front plane. This made computing widespread and cheaper. Disruption almost always kills such companies, as they lose their customers. In the years when the companies must commit to the innovations, disruptions are unattractive to the leaders because their best customers can’t use them, and they promise lower profit margins.

Disruption in Education
Kodak camera, Bell telephone, Sony radio, Ford Model T, Xerox copier, Southwest, Cisco router, Fidelity, Google advertising--all of these do the same thing. In the 1890s and in the early 1900s, competition with a fast-rising industrial Germany constituted a minicrisis; Americans responded in the early twentieth century by handing schools a new job: prepare everyone for a vocation. Previously, public high schools had offered a narrow curriculum of “academic” subjects. Now they added vocational classes, physical education, recreation, health, summer school, school lunch, extracurricular, etc. The average high school enrollment now approaches 1,000 people. From the 8% who graduated high school in 1900, by the 1960s the number was 70 percent.

People did not create new disruptive business models in public education, however. Why not? Almost all disruptions take root among non-consumers. There was no large, untapped pool of non-consumers that new school models could target. Society has hired schools for four distinct jobs. Preserve and inculcate democracy, provide something for every student, keep the United States competitive, and eliminate poverty. 70 percent of employers put the highest priority on soft skills such as showing up on time with motivation to work. Half of the openings require only short term on-the-job training, and only 15 percent require a higher education degree.

Innovative ideas never pop out of the innovator’s head as full-fledged business plans, but rather they are fragments of a plan. As the innovator tries to sell the idea to the powerful entities in the company, he runs into a set of hurdles that are frightfully comparable to those the Congresswoman encountered. Unless top managers actively manage the process, their organization will shape every disruptive innovation into a sustaining innovation because organizations cannot naturally disrupt themselves. Fifth graders use computers only 24 minutes a week in class. Eighth graders about 38 minutes a week. Technology will become successful only if it is allowed to compete against non-consumption, where it surely would be better than nothing.

Fortunately, every successful disruptive innovation took root similarly competing against non-consumption so that people were delighted to have a product even if its capacities were limited. Google and Craigslist are disrupting advertisements in the newspapers in the same way. Public education movements and online classes have skyrocketed from 45,000 in 2000 to a million today. We called the first of these stages computer-based online learning. The second phase of this disruption we termed student-centric technology, in which software has been developed that can help students learning the subject in a manner consistent with their learning needs.

Student-centric technologies are disruptive relative to personal tutors. Tutors today are largely limited to the wealthy. There is fast non-consumption of AP courses in most high schools. Rural schools are smaller than the urban secondary schools, and low income areas are a third ideal market for computer-based learning. Home-bound schools are another target market. The number of home-schooled students has now surpassed two million. Roughly 30 percent of high school students dropped out of school. Private tutoring and pre-kindergarten similarly offer big films to non-consumption. 43% of children aged 3 to 5 did not enroll in any pre-kindergarten program. The apex of learning is a for-profit company, and they have gone from 8400 AP students to 30,000. Other schools are K12 Connections Academy, Advanced Academics, KC Distance Learning, Inside Schools any time, any place, any path, any pace.

After decades of incubation on the flat portion, digital photography slipped up on the film companies very rapidly. One month apart on the vertical access, the ratio of market shares held by the new, divided by the old. If the first four or five do not lie in a line, it’s a signal that there is no compelling driver for substitution. But the line is always straight if a disruption is occurring. One can tell what the slope of the line is even when the new approach accounts for only two to three percent of the total.

The Pace of Substitution of Online Learning for Monolithic Learning
By 2019, about 50 percent of high school courses will be delivered online. Online learning works best with more motivated students. Over time it will reach different types of students. The flip will begin in about 2012, and in six years, the technology may grow from 5 to 50 percent. The third factor will be a looming teacher shortage. In 1999, 29% of teachers were over 50 years old. Now 42 percent are over 50 years old. Ten years from this book, online student-centric learning will account for 50% of the seats in US secondary schools.

A virtual chemistry lab was started by a chemistry professor in 2006. It’s now serving 150,000 students on computer terminals, with 2,500 photographs and 220 videos. Other state’s virtual schools now include the Michigan Virtual University and the Idaho Digital Learning Academy. In 1984 McKenzie said that there would be fewer than 1,000,000 wireless phones by 2000. There were 740,000,000. Disruption is often a two-stage process. In the first stage, an innovator makes the product much more affordable and simpler to use than what currently exists. In the second stage, a modular design makes it simple and inexpensive to build and upgrade the products. Platforms are emerging to make it simpler to build online learning processes. Students will be able to make tools that help their fellow students learn.

The Value Network is Disruptive
Similar earliest applications for student-centric learning will arise outside the public school system.

There are three business types:
  1. Solution shops
  2. Value-adding process businesses
  3. Facilitated networks

Solution shop’s employees are experienced, fully-trained experts whose job is to diagnose problems and recommend solutions like high-end consulting or advertising firms. Special education is a solution shop.

Manufacturer and retailing food service companies are value-adding process business. They bring materials into their premises, transform them by adding value and deliver higher value-added products at the other end. The production and distribution of text books is a value-adding process business. Schools operate like a value-adding process business. Students are herded into a classroom at the beginning of the school year. Value is added to them, and they are promoted to next year in the future.

The third type of model--facilitated network--is where customers exchange with each other like telecommunications or insurance banking. The network is a supporting infrastructure. The company that makes money in a facilitated network is one that facilitates the network. Most people who develop online learning products will attempt to commercialize them within the system depicted. The technology would be expensive, and there are massive barriers. When disruptive innovators target non-consumption for their foothold applications, they have a good chance of succeeding, but if those applications are then ensconced within a value network, the disruption line confirms that the rest of the players need an expectation.

Disruptive growth is truly unleashed only when the new technology is taken to a market not only through a disruptive business model, but by also utilizing a disruptive value network whose economics are consistent with the disruption. Platforms will emerge to facilitate the creation of user-generated content, and the second will be the emergence of a facilitated network whose analogs and other industries will include eBay and YouTube. The tools of the software platform will make it so simple to develop online learning products that students would be able to build products that help them to teach other students. These instructional tools will be more like tutorial products than courseware and rather than being pushed into classrooms, they will be pulled into use through self-diagnosis by teachers, parents and students. Facilitated networks will be the business model. This will allow parents, teachers and students to offer these teaching tools to other parents, teachers and students. Basically, tutoring tools will create student-centric learning. The products in this way will be user-developed online tools for tutoring. Ultimately, people who assemble them together into the entire courses whose approach is truly student-centric custom, can figure for every type of learner.

Platforms which enable non-programmers to build remarkably sophisticated software for specific purposes are becoming increasingly common in the software market. One such platform is into a quick pace that allows anybody to create a system. These are more like tools for tutors. We'd love for every student to be able to have four personal tutors who have the skills to tailor the way they teach each subject to their students in a manner that matches the way students learn. We settled for monolithic instruction. We will be combined into complete custom-configured courses that are the consummate purpose of modularity. For facts, we don’t think so much of the quick base that enables build-their-own software. Exchanges will emerge through which the user-generated content can be offered to others for free or for a fee.

User-generated collaborative learning libraries through which participants will instruct and learn from one another are emerging. Isn’t it better to have professionals teach and learners learn? We often learn better when we teach than when we listen to a teacher. The disruption process is usually in a completely independent value network outside the reach of regulators. So, the two investments are a technological platform to create students’ centric learning tools and the second is a facilitated network. Text books will give way to computer-based online courses. This will happen in 24 teams when online courses have a 25% share. Some systems include Agilix BrainHoney, Renzulli Learning, Guaranteach.com, which delivers 90-second videos, Knewton, Mangahigh, Bloomfire. MegaStudy in Korea presents telecare, Curriki offers better lessons to school's collective global education and learning community.

Why Aren’t Students Learning?
The solution must be to make learning intrinsically motivating. Making students learn is the challenge that most have not cracked. We believe that a core reason why so many students languish unmotivated in school is that education is the job that they are trying to do. There are two core jobs that most of them try to do everyday. They want to feel successful and make progress, and they want to have fun with friends. The primary mechanisms are exclusively separate. School does not motivate intrinsically. College education for most students entails repeated bouncing back and forth in a cumbersome way between departments and administration to get their education.

What May Correct Integration that Helps One to Feel Successful Every Day, Look Like?
They could follow a project-based learning strategy where students are organized into teams, and then undertake a needful project that requires them to master the reading, writing, math and social skills that the school wants them to learn. They want to feel successful. Both matrix organizations are coordinative and lightweight in character. In New York, there is a quest to learn in school, based on games, four 90-minute blocks for the study domain. They culminate with the two-week examination called a boss level, where the whole school works to solve the particular challenge. Disruptive innovation goes around and underneath the system. It drives affordability, acceptability, capability and responsiveness. Investing in technological platforms enable children to create tutorial tools for each other, help parents to create tools for their children and other’s children, and make it easy for teachers to create tools for students. We learn most neatly when we teach others. The teachers, parents and students, when there are no courses available for students at your school, seek them online and demand that your school accept them for credit. When the student is struggling with the concept, seek those facilitating networks that entrepreneurs are building to help locate a tutor or content online that can help that student and when possible create these tools yourself. Don’t be afraid to share them with the world.

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