Sunday, April 19, 2009

Learning Without Limits

How the rise of online instruction is changing the nature of schooling
eSchool News – April 2009

Many schools today are using online learning to enhance their curriculums, help students with credit recovery, and help students learn at their own pace. In addition forty-four states now offer virtual schools through the public education system. Some of these programs are state led and some are charter schools offered at school or at home with course registrations growing more than 50% since 2007.

While teachers and parents wonder if students can handle online courses the students can easily go back and forth between the virtual world and the real world. Meeting the needs of all students is hard for traditional schools and online schooling is a cost-effective alternative.

Florida has a goal of offering virtual courses to students K-8 along with the 9-12 Florida Virtual School. Michigan and Alabama require students to take an online course before graduation with forty-four states offering online programs. Many schools are seeing online programs as a way to help meet the needs of students. Students who need to work at their own pace, have medical needs, and those that don’t find the right fit in the traditional setting are being served by online programs.

In Forsyth County high school students may take online course through North Carolina Virtual Public School and Florida Virtual School with math and foreign languages being offered to middle grades students. Currently North Carolina Virtual is piloting middle grades courses (nine to eleven courses) with the goal of offering the entire middle grades curriculum online to students for the 2010 school year. In addition, North Carolina Virtual Public School is piloting Language Arts and math courses for K-8 with the goal of offering these courses for the 2010 school year.

What needs do your students have and could those needs be met with an online course?

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