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Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by [Christensen, Clayton, Johnson, Curtis W., Horn, Michael B.]
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Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns 1st , Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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From the Inside Flap

"A brilliant teacher, Christensen brings clarity to the a muddled and chaotic world of education." Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

From the Back Cover



“After a barrage of business books that purport to 'fix' American education, at last a book that speaks thoughtfully and imaginatively about what genuinely individualized education can be like and how to bring it about.”
-Howard Gardner, author of Five Minds for the Future

“A decade ago, Clayton Christensen wrote a masterpiece, The Innovator's Dilemma, that transformed the way business looks at innovation. Now, he and two collaborators, Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson, have come up with another, focusing his groundbreaking theories of disruptive innovation on education."
-David Gergen, US Presidential Advisor

“Clayton Christensen's insights just might shake many of us in education out of our complacency and into a long needed disruptive discourse about really fixing our schools. This will be a welcome change after decades in which powerful calls to action have resulted in only marginal improvements for our nation's school children.”
-Vicki Phillips, director of Education, Gates Foundation

“Full of strategies that are both bold and doable, this brilliant and seminal book shows how we can utilize technology to customize learning. I recommend it most enthusiastically.”
-Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester (NY) Teachers Association, and vice president of the American Federation of Teachers

"Finally we have a book from the business community that gets it. Disrupting Class from Clayton Christensen and colleagues points out that motivation is central to learning and that if schools and learning are to be transformed as they must be, motivation must be at the center of the work. They also point out how technology should be used to personalize learning and what the future might look like for schools. A must read for anyone thinking and worrying about where education should be headed."
-Paul Houston, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators

“Powerful, proven strategies for moving education from stagnation to evolution.”
-Christopher Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Clayton Christensen and colleagues describe how disruptive technologies will personalize and, as a result, revolutionize learning. Every education leader should read this book, set aside their next staff meeting to discuss it, and figure out how they can be part of the improvement wave to come.”
-Tom Vander Ark, President, X PRIZE Foundation

“In Disrupting Class, Christensen, Horn and Johnson argue that the next round of innovation in school reform will involve learning software. While schools have resisted integrating technology for instruction, today's students are embracing technology in their everyday lives. This book offers promise to education reformers.”
-Kathleen McCartney, Dean, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“The genius of Disrupting Class is the spotlight the book throws on how we can tap children’s early enthusiasm for school by letting them learn in best-choice, individualized ways, the teacher’s role transformed from ‘sage on stage’ to ‘guide on the side.’”
--Seattle Times & Post-Intelligencer

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2044 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (8 Jun. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0015DWIYC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #890,128 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Hardcover
The very real value of this useful and, at times, pleasantly surprising book comes from the way the authors apply their expertise in innovation to the field of education. By approaching public education's crisis with new eyes - and conceptualizing education as a product or service like any other - Clayton M. Christensen (The Innovator's Dilemma), Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson provide insights that escape the tired loops of argument that often define discussions about public education. These writers' obvious willingness to look in new directions for learning innovation is matched by their genuine concern for everyone involved in education. However, they do seem a bit idealistic, as they focus so strongly on the pedagogical and conceptual aspects of education that they seem to skim over other concerns, like logistics and budgets. The authors acknowledge the legal monopoly governing public education without really addressing the social weight and inertia of such a monopoly. In fact, they seem to believe that positive disruption is almost inevitable. getAbstract recommends this thoughtful book to anyone interested in social change and education, and - not tangentially - in how new technologies affect societies.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, it presents a view of the classroom and of education in a way that is provocative and inspiring. I think it would be useful for all teachers to read this and reflect. The children and young people we are educating are from a digital age and this is impacting on the learning process itself. The careers that they are getting ready for are almost in a parallel universe to ours and beyond our imaginings. This book gives us some clues to a possible way forward.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seizing a Great Opportunity by Curing What Ails Education 6 Jun. 2012
By Thomas M. Loarie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In "Disrupting Class," Clayton Christensen ("Innovator's Dilemma," "Innovator's Rx") et al make the case that disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns - by disrupting the classroom and, in turn, social "class." They state unequivocally that education in the U.S. will change dramatically over the next decade with computer-based, student-centric learning accounting for 50% of the learning time in U.S. secondary schools and by 2024, 80%.

Will this lead to better educational success? And what about the obstacles that have frustrated policymakers, administrators, teachers, and parents who have tried to improve schools for years? How will this be achieved? The authors address these and other questions by applying the theory of disruption - a powerful body of theory that describes how people interact and react, how behavior is shaped, how organizational cultures form and influence decisions - to the convergences underway today.

Computer learning has, until now, been crammed into the existing educational structure without success. With a changing environment, there are now drivers which are changing the landscape allowing computer-learning to penetrate "foothold" (non-standard learning situations where computer-learning will be embraced) markets. These new market niches are, in-turn, encouraging the development of innovative "student centric" programs (like The Khan Academy,[...]) which are experiencing rapid adoption.

The main drivers for the creation of "foothold" market adoption include:
* The pressure on schools to improve test scores in core subject areas is leading to a greater investment of resources and time in math and reading at the expense of other courses. The "nice-to-have" courses are being dropped by school districts creating a vacuum which has become an opportunity for on-line providers to fill. While teacher unions will oppose computer-based courses for core curriculum, they will not object to computer-based courses they will not teach.
* A rapidly growing home-schooling market. Parents are seeking computer-based courses to augment their children's coursework with professional teaching. There is no union issue to contend with.

Penetration of the "foothold markets" combined with four additional factors will accelerate substitution of computer-based learning in the traditional school:
1. Computer-based learning will keep improving now that markets are established. Technological improvements will make learning more engaging.
2. Research will advance to enable the design of student-centric software appropriate to each type of learner. This ability for students, teachers, and parents to select a learning pathway to fit an individual's learning style will mark a breakthrough in learning...and teaching.
3. A looming teacher shortage will drive educators to find new ways to teach. .
4. Inexorable cost pressures on schools will drive administrators to find more cost-effective ways of delivering education. With software-based learning, costs will fall significantly with scale-up.

"Disrupting Class" provides real hope, predicated on an analytical framework, that schools in the future will fulfill their basic mission to: maximize human potential; facilitate a vibrant democracy; hone the skills, capabilities, and attitudes that will help our economy to be prosperous and competitive; and nurture the understanding that people can see things differently. This is a must read for anyone interested in education, its future, and the future of our society.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A student centered approach to improving education 23 Mar. 2010
By J. Groen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to learn how to improve education by focusing on a student centered approach, this book is for you. Just like customers should be the center of the business and the focus of success in business is meeting the customers' needs and wants, the student should be the focus of the school and success should be measured by how well a school meets their needs and wants. Writing this of course, I understand, will generate many nay sayers who will have numerous arguments for why this is incorrect.

However, solutions that focus on the needs of the teachers, the unions, the principals, the parents, etc., have not worked. And, with the proper guidance, students should know what they need to be successful in their school work and ulitmately their lives.

Clayton using his usually strong analytical approach evaluates the educational challenges both inductively and deductively to get to the root cause of the problem. And, in my words, the problem is this: each student learns differently, and the centralized, bureaucratic approaches that have been used to force fit a regimented approach dictated from Washington down to local school boards haven't and won't solve this problem. What we need is a more student centric approach that uses flexible tools developed through information technology to meet the needs of individual students.

This is a very innovative approach to solving this problem, and in my opinion, Clayton is the most innovative thinker out there today. After all, as he quotes Einstein (and I used some liberty to paraphrase), you can't solve the problem by using the solutions that caused it.

Then, Clayton lays out how the change is happening (in some instances) and can happen (in others where it is not) based upon innovation concepts like disruptive innovation and heavyweight teams.

I highly recommend this book for any individual interested in innovation and/or education.

Clayton has written another excellent book to build upon his disruptive innovation philosophy. Thank you, Clayton, for your continued excellent work!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The book "Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns" 26 Oct. 2009
By Peter Castaldi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Christensen and two colleagues present an interesting argument for the need for a radical (disruptive) change in education. They then argue cogently for that change being online courses delivered over the internet allowing teachers to do more one on one tutoring, less group lecture. As a high school teacher of math and physics for 15 years, I find their view of great value.

Christensen is a professor at the Harvard Business School who developed a theory of disruptive change to explain what happens in business when new technology disrupts a stable market (e.g., the personal computer and its impact on mid-size and mainframe computers). I was skeptical that a business school professor would get anything right about education. In fact he gets a lot right: education does need a paradigm shift to accommodate diminishing numbers of teachers and diminishing resource, and to accommodate the long discussed little addressed differences among learners and how to accommodate it in classes of 20 or more using lecture as the principal teaching method. The notion that courses delivered over the internet could be built to accommodate individual differences in learning style, and could free teachers from administrative tasks to allow them to tutor one on one, is intriguing. Christensen does NOT do the heavy lifting of building such courses, he only motivates those who are considering that heavy lifting. But he does provide the rationale for being willing to do the heavy lifting to build excellent courses delivered on the internet, and to invest the billions needed to give each student access to a computer in multiple classrooms.
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop preparing for the past 10 Aug. 2016
By Donovan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like the idea that we have an opportunity in front of us. Our schools need to begin preparing kids for the future. Disruptions must take place to do so. They have to be strategic so that we get evidence-based practices that work for the future. I recommend this book to all administrators.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spanning The Chasm in U.S. Public Education 1 Sept. 2010
By William Dahl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at The Harvard Business School and author of the NYT bestsellers The Innovator's Dilemma and The Innovator's Solution (Clayton Christensen) comes this uniquely important work. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has written that "Creative thoughts evolve in this gap filled with tension - holding on to what is known and accepted while tending toward a still ill defined truth that is barely glimpsed on the other side of the chasm." (1) This book has engineered the architecture to span that chasm.

Along with writer and consultant Curtis Johnson and Executive Director of The Innosight Institute Michael Horn, Christensen and his co-authors demonstrate the sheer beauty of applying the current scholarship we understand about innovation in other domains (business et al) - to a domain that precariously occupies that space in American society that can accurately be characterized as a "gap filled with tension - holding on to what is known and accepted." The latter domain would be the field of U.S. public education. Why? Why is this cross-disciplinary approach so important? Molecular Biologist Kary Mullis nails it when she writes: "Important inventions almost always cross the lines of disciplines. Moving between fields is the way to be creative."(2)

What motivates these authors? In the first half-dozen pages you acquire the distinct impression that these fellows care deeply about improving the U.S. public education system....they've studied it...exhaustively - all the excuses, criticisms, rationalizations, performance data and the like.

After the introductory chapter, the authors use vignettes to set the context for the discussion contained in each respective chapter. The first chapter struggles with the issue of why we are teaching in a standardized approach when we are all "differently-abled" - we learn differently. Chapter two introduces the concept of disruptive innovation, which the authors define as follows: `The disruptive innovation theory explains why organizations struggle with certain kinds of innovation and how organizations can predictably succeed in innovation." (p.45). "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 had been selling."(p.47). There's much more to the scholarship that supports the authors thesis regarding disruptive innovation. The charts are also very helpful in conceptualizing the points they are making.

Why haven't we seen disruptive innovation in the U.S. public education system? Listen to these authors: "People did not create new disruptive business models in public education, however. Why not? Almost all disruptions take root among non consumers. In education, there was little opportunity to do that. Public education is set up as a public utility, and state laws mandate attendance for virtually everyone. There was no large, untapped pool of non consumers that new school models could target." p.60. Note that one of the central points the authors make is that the targeting on non-consumers is the arena where disruptive innovation takes place, in other domains. (The way Apple targeted listeners of music with the iPod versus the recording industry creating a similar sort of innovation).

The authors go to great lengths to explain why technology has not transformed how we do what we do in public education (and the results derived therefrom) in the following: "In the language of disruption, here is what this means: Unless top managers actively manage this process, their organization will shape every disruptive innovation into a sustaining innovation -one that fits the processes, values, and economic model of the existing business - because organizations cannot naturally disrupt themselves. This is a core reason why incumbent firms are at a disadvantage relative to entrant companies when disruptive innovations emerge. And it explains why computers haven't changed schools." P.75.

The authors move on to detail how to disruptively deploy computers in the classroom and embrace a vastly more student-centric approach to teaching, learning and assessment. They characterize this as an "opportunity" when they state: "Maurice Maeterlinck, the Belgian Nobel Laureate in literature once observed, " At every crossway on the road that leads to the future each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand men appointed to guard the past." `Educators, like the rest of us, tend to resist major change. But this shift in the learning platform, if managed correctly - which means disruptively is not a threat. It is an opportunity. Students will be able to work in the way that comes naturally for them. Teachers can be learning leaders with time to pay attention to each student. And school organizations can navigate the impending financial maelstrom without abdicating their mission." P.112.

Chapters five and six delve into the recommendations of these scholars regarding how disruptive innovation evolves within a highly regulated system akin to public education, using examples from the private sector. They address the importance of the knowledge being derived out of the field of neuroscience as it relates to the importance of language dancing during the very early, formative years of infancy. They also advocate for user-generated content, platforms that empower non-technical folks to create powerful learning tools - sharing the same in our connected world. Their treatment of the public education system as a value-chain commercial system is fascinating - a system whose production and distribution of learning materials can and must change, along with disruptive innovations in the current marketing and distribution model.

Chapter 7 legitimately and methodically lampoons the "quality" of social research produced in and around public education - a fact that remains an incredible handicap to the system, teachers, administrators, students, community and country. Chapter 8 is a clarion call for a "common language" in addressing the challenges inherent within the current system. What do the authors mean by "common language?" Consider this excerpt for clarity: "providing a common language is a "mechanism of movement," in that, when done well, it can shift a group's location in the matrix to the point that other tools of cooperation can be effective. With a common language and a common framing of the problem, tools like strategic planning, measurement systems, and salesmanship can be effective. An important reason why we have gone to such lengths to identify the root causes of the problems plaguing public schools is our hope that this book might serve this role for our readers. While we may not have gotten all of our diagnoses and solutions correct, we hope that the understanding we have summarized here might - create a common language and a common way to frame these problems so that there is broader agreement on what is needed and how to achieve it." (pp. 192-193). If that's the impact of this book, we should all be deeply grateful.

Chapter 9 addresses suggestions for structuring schools so they are encouraged to innovate. In the conclusion to this work, the authors, once again, emphasize that their recommendations must not be viewed as threats, but as distinct opportunities to be explored.

This review is not intended to be a substitute for reading and discussing this work. On the contrary - It is my hope that it encourages many to do just that.
It is an incredible body of knowledge that contains the engineering know-how (from both a theoretical and practical standpoint) to Span the Current Chasm in U.S. Public Education.

Devour it. Discuss it with friends and colleagues. Then do something disruptively innovative with that discussion. As the authors use of a quote from Einstein clearly illustrates: "The significant problems we have cannot be solved with the same level of thinking we were using when we created them."(p.156).


(1) Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly Creativity - Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, Harper Perrenial, HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, New York Copyright © 1996 by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, p.103.

(2) Barron, Frank Montuori, Alfonso & Barron, Anthea Creators on Creating - Awakening and Cultivating the Imaginative Mind, Penguin Group (USA) Inc. New York, NY Copyright © 1997 by Frank Barron, Alfonso Montuori and Anthea Barron - quote by Kary Mullis - p.70 & 73. Chapter entitled The Screwdriver.
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