Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"online coursework can be an excellent option"

When most people think about online learning, they think about adults taking online university classes. Or they might think about the online training that occurs in many workplaces. But online learning opportunities occur in the K-12 sector as well and are increasingly popular with students and their families.

The Sloan Consortium estimates that at least 1 million K-12 public school students took an online course last year. This represents approximately 2% of the national K-12 public school student population and is a 22–fold increase since 2000. About 20 states have statewide virtual high schools that deliver online courses to students across the state.
Dr. Scott McLeod writes on his blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, this post about online learning opportunities.

As you read the following, do a simple replacement exercise, substitute "Franklin, MA" in place of Iowa.
A robust online learning infrastructure for students makes a lot of sense for the state of Iowa (and I’m glad there’s a bill in the Iowa House to consider it). If we’re honest with ourselves, we will recognize that most of our school districts will NEVER be able to provide the curricular diversity that most of our graduates need to be effective digital, global workers and citizens. If we’re truly honest, we also will recognize that the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) is not a viable future option. The ICN is a closed, aging network and the course offerings (and monies) there, like everything else in the world, must move to the Web. Whether it’s a statewide virtual school or some other model, we must significantly increase the number of online courses available to Iowa students if we are to provide them access to the high-quality learning opportunities envisioned in the Iowa Core Curriculum.
You can click through to read the full article here.

Franklin has started exploring this option and should continue to do so. It is not a silver bullet to save money. There will likely be some contractual and procedural changes required to implement appropriately. It will be some work but it should be worthwhile to develop our children for life and learning in this new world.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link, Steve. I agree that one could substitute most places (like Franklin, MA) for "Iowa" and be dead accurate. Sad but true...

    Let me know if you think I can be of help to you!