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Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns
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Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  1,360 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
Clay Christensen's groundbreaking bestselling work in education now updated and expanded, including a new chapter on Christensen's seminal "Jobs to Be Done" theory applied to education. "Provocatively titled, Disrupting Class is just what America's K-12 education system needs--a well thought-through proposal for using technology to better serve students and bring our schoo ...more
ebook, Expanded, 272 pages
Published September 17th 2010 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published May 14th 2008)
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Leah Macvie
Dec 30, 2011 Leah Macvie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 01, 2009 Kate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, education
Absolutely terrible. The one thing I learned from this book: If you're going to write a book about the American educational system and how to "fix" it, make sure you learn how it currently works. Otherwise, you end up looking like an idiot.
Feb 27, 2012 Sherry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
REALLY liked it! And so I remember them in their words, here are their 5 major messages in the book (which they sourced with great stories and studies):

1. Few reforms have address the root cause of students' inability to learn. And most attempts have not been guided by an understanding of the root reasons for why the system functions as it does or how to predictably introduce innovation into it. Without this guidance, we've been destined to struggle. This also means, however, that we now have an
Aug 17, 2009 LB rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to LB by: willrich via Twitter
Shelves: education
Strange to be reading this book, whose theme is built on the foundation that instruction needs to be highly individualized because students learn differently, right after Why Students Don't Like School which makes it clear that everyone learns in basically the same way. In Disrupting Class, Christensen briefly cites Gardner, and moves on. In the latter book author Daniel Willingham, a cognitive psychologist, thoroughly backs up the statement that we all learn in essentially the same way, debunki ...more
Aug 05, 2008 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is an idea I've been hearing over and over again in many different contexts, and this book brings it up again in the context of education.

It has been said that there is no perfect Pasta Sauce.... For years the companies that produce past sauce had been trying to perfect the single perfect pasta sauce through extensive research and taste testings, and to then market it accordingly. Of course, we not realize that there are, in fact, three! Regular, Spicy, and Extra Chunky. A full third of t
Vicki Davis
This is a very good book until the last chapter where it seems to draw a conclusion that the only way to fix education is with charter school type approaches. For example, we could all have a perfect house with an unlimited budget to build a new one but eventually it would show faults! We can't just build new houses. Although Hercules cleaned out the Agean stables- if they didn't remedy their ways it would fill up with filth again. Sometimes we don't step out of the box- we create new boxes! Per ...more
I want to preface this comment by saying that “Disrupting Class” by Christensen, Horn, and Johnson does a good job of pointing out flaws in our current education system and proposing alternate solutions. For the most part, I agreed with the points they were making. However, I want to center this review on one quote from their book that I believe represents a major flaw in their proposed course of action:

“Innovative chartered schools should be attempts to match school types to fit students’ circu
Apr 16, 2010 Jacqui rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clayton Christensen offers a believable and intuitive approach to fixing our staggering American educational system. In a nutshell: people learn in different ways (no surprise here; it's a well-documented theory). Teachers too often teach one way (or two or three--the point being, teachers standardize. I understand. I've been a teacher most of my life. One of us and many of them in a classroom). His solution: Use 21st century technology and Web 2.0 to individualize lessons to suit needs.

That's w
Brent Wilson
Sep 16, 2008 Brent Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good exposition of Christensen's "disruptive innovation" theory - explaining how initially annoying products grow to take over markets and throw out older established companies. This book applies the theory to schools and education, with mixed success.

I got the clear impression that these authors were outsiders to the culture and complexity of schools and educational theory. So it's great to have their theory applied to the problem, but a little shaky in the details. For example, they say that "
May 19, 2009 E rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating look at disruptive innovation in education

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 th
I heard him speak on this issue in March 2012 and he made me see teaching in a new way. Some of his most memorable insights are:

"Online learning is a technological core that can take education into a higher market"

“In higher ed, there wasn't disruption until now because colleges moving up emulated those above. Online learning changes this."

“What's going on in the low end of education today (online learning) is tomorrow's (system of) education."

"If you're trying to deploy a new technology in the
Apr 23, 2009 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd actually give this book a 3 because it's business-speak, a style of writing I loathe; but if I do that, no one will read it. Full of useful, common-sensical observations and some excellent suggestions for radically altering US schools (they use the word "revolutionize," though I refuse to; their ideas are good but not THAT good), they advocate school change through computer technology and, more importantly, by applying the lessons of change in the computer industry. What I can't tell is whet ...more
Feb 10, 2009 edh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The authors posit that the reason why traditional schooling fails so many is that by nature, the structure of schools encourage standardization rather than customization (and customization is what produces truly effective learning environments). Using available data, they predict that in the next 10-12 years fully half of all high schoolers will attend classes online in order to maximize the marketplace's ability to offer them opportunities not available in the traditional face-to-face format. T ...more
Josh Steimle
Jul 14, 2012 Josh Steimle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book isn't just about fixing the educational system, it's about how the educational system will be fixed. It's not so much a question of if, but when, because it's inevitable. The question is whether you want to fight the transition or ride the wave and help it along, because although people will be fighting it, thinking that it's a bad thing, in the long run it's going to be good for teachers, administrators, politicians, entrepreneurs, parents, and especially students. If you're involved ...more
Elaine Roberts
Apr 23, 2010 Elaine Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Even bought it for my team because I believed it would give them some insight into some of the current thinking and movements in K-12 education. The book discussion went well and we've expanded that discussion to other groups in the company. I'm hoping there will be continuing reverb as we think about what moved us in this book.
Jun 02, 2009 vorthys rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's some outstanding stuff in here, but it's surrounded by an awful lot of hand waving.
Scott Lee
Dec 30, 2016 Scott Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been studying blended learning this year as part of a new Online Academy opened within the school district where I work. I've been taking courses, and doing a lot of independent reading and this book was the first full-length work I read on the subject--lots of articles prior to this, plenty of posts, and discussion panels, and course material, but this is the first book. I really enjoyed it.

I couldn't get my head around a real review in the moment last night after finishing the book, so
Les Hopper
Jan 21, 2017 Les Hopper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting and wide-ranging book, especially interesting if you work in education or related industries...or if you have children!

While the book focuses on the US education system, there are many parallels with education systems worldwide - at least those with reasonable device and Internet access at home and school and relatively high level of family education.

Some of the hypothesis seems speculative or slightly weakly constructed in places, but there is no doubt that all the scenarios
Emily Colligan
Nov 27, 2016 Emily Colligan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2016 Tim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A valiant effort on what it will take to dramatically improve the educational system in the USA.

Let's begin with some positives, because I am inclined to agree with most of what the author advances. Different students have different needs. Another way to phrase "needs" is with deficiencies. Every student is deficient in a different way, and thus will require a different strategy to correct those deficiencies. The author doesn't use these terms - I'm using them to illustrate how the author is cor
I really liked this book! Clayton Christensen applies his knowledge of disruptive innovation to education and suggests some important ideas and solutions for helping to improve education in America. He recounts how the mission and purpose of public education in America has changed throughout history. Teachers and administrators have actually done better than we give them credit for adapting and changing to meet these needs, but obviously there is still more to do. He identifies some of the probl ...more
Jun 20, 2008 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i forced my poor travel companion to engage me in numerous discussions as i teased out the very interesting theories and predictions in this book (thank you rtw). definitely not the light and fluffy writing that books on education can sometimes be; instead, it is filled with interesting anecdotes/analogies to business which i appreciated and enjoyed learning about in their own right. makes me want to reconsider a career in education...
I was inspired to write a longer review for Amazon as I th
Nov 11, 2013 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I agree that students need to be taught individually, according to their own styles and at their own pace. There is always the worry that they will silo their knowledge, becoming interested in one thing whilst leaving out others. There is also the worry that they may become stagnant if not constantly pushed. Naturally, that is the purpose of the tacher.

Here is the thing, that Christensen only somewhat touches on. Having a child that is allowed to learn on an individual level, and in the way that
Oct 20, 2008 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clayton Christensen, the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, makes a compelling argument for how innovation, almost always by definition disruptive, could bring profound change to the resistant world of public education. Christensen argues that education finally needs to solve the problem of how to reach every student in terms of his or her individual interests, needs, and learning styles and paces. Historically that has proved impossible. Schools are designed to deliver a monolithic instructiona ...more
May 18, 2009 MCOH rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I strongly agree with Clayton Christensen's central thesis - that students should be taught individually, based on their individual strengths, learning styles, and interests. They should be able to start at their own level and proceed at their own pace, for optimum learning. I was grateful to experience a learning environment like that at my elementary Montessori school, but most public schools can't replicate the incredibly low teacher-student ratios we had (about 7:1). How can a teacher with 3 ...more
This book is 6 years old, so obviously things have changed since it was first published, but what hasn't changed all that much is how standardized education can be too standardized and therefore does not educate all children. Any educator will tell you that children learn differently; multiple intelligences taught us this many, many years ago. And good educators tailor lessons to meet individual needs, but this can only be done so much within the current educational system. So how do we change t ...more
L.G. Estrella
Dec 06, 2013 L.G. Estrella rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Christensen takes his disruption theory, which has already found substantial success in the business arena, and applies it to the realm of education. I will preface my comments by pointing out that I live in Australia. As such, the US educational system is not my educational system. However, I do have a long-standing interest in education in general (several family members are teachers). I have also been involved in education myself and have worked with many people that were educated under the U ...more
Jul 03, 2015 Rob rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
This was a great book explaining how the theory of disruptive innovation applies to the world of education. It was very challenging for me to think about why our schools are set up the way they are and the pitfalls of our current structure for our students. The authors gave great insight into how this theory should be applied to education to move education forward for the 21st century. Our students need different skills than in the 20th century if they are going to be successful in the world we ...more
Mar 30, 2012 Joe rated it liked it
Disruptive innovations, as opposed to sustained innovations, don't just improve upon the current model. Instead they disrupt the status quo (a twist on a product that makes it useful to a whole new audience for a whole new reason). Technology has the potential to be a disruptive innovation in classrooms. Sadly, most schools have bought technology and then tried to adapt it (cram it in) to the current/traditional model of schooling (instead of looking up info in a book, look it up online!). It's ...more
Aug 28, 2010 4th-8th rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The summary of what schools need to work on is perfect.
The author believes that the computers that fill the schools have not been utilized beyond word processing. Unless high schools do something different I believe he is correct.
The author speaks of sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation and noncomsumables and a large number of failed business ventures and how this realtes to schools not embracing the possiblities of technology and why.
The aut
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Clayton M. Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in the Technology & Operations Management and General Management faculty groups. He is best known for his study of innovation in commercial enterprises. His first book, The Innovator's Dilemma, articulated his theory of disruptive technology.

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“Motivation is the catalyzing ingredient for every successful innovation. The same is true for learning.” 10 likes
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