Albertson Foundation Awards $5.5 Million for 'Blended Learning' Centers

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has announced grants totaling more than $5.5 million to establish Doceo (Latin for "I teach") Centers for Innovation and Learning at the University of Idaho and Northwest Nazarene University.

To be launched next spring, the centers will offer teachers, administrators, and teacher candidates in Idaho cutting-edge training focused on blended learning techniques and opportunities to participate in classroom research projects. The University of Idaho was awarded $983,000 this year and will receive up to $3 million over three years, while Northwest Nazarene University will receive $4.6 million this year — including funds for the construction of the NNU Learning Commons building — and up to $5.5 million over three years.

According to Paul T. Hill, founder of the Center for Reinventing Public Education and research professor at the University of Washington, Idaho is moving toward becoming the first state to revamp its schools of education around blended learning. The state currently ranks forty-seventh in the nation for the percentage of high school graduates who go on to postsecondary education and forty-sixth for the percentage of college students who make it to their sophomore year.

For the last twenty years, educators have been told that technology would transform education, said Eric Kellerer, director of the NNU Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. "At the same time, we have seen huge leaps in understanding the process of learning...for students. Unfortunately, those two themes, technology and pedagogy, have failed to come together," said Kellerer. "This is the time. We stand at the precipice of a generation in which there will be a convergence of the technical with the educational."

"$5 Million Grant Announced for Doceo Centers for Innovation + Learning." J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation Press Release 11/27/2012. "Albertson Foundation Grants NNU $4.6 Million." Northwest Nazarene University Press Release 11/26/2012. "U-Idaho Receives $3 million Grant to Develop Teaching Methods, Classroom Technology." University of Idaho Press Release 11/26/2012.