Online Learning

Many K-12 schools are realizing the importance of utilizing online learning opportunities to enhance their current curriculum, integrate technology in the learning experience and enhance computer/technology skills. Educators realize the importance of being technologically literate so much that in a few years, taking a high school course online in Michigan will be a mandatory graduation requirement.

In California some elementary classrooms schools are trading in traditional textbooks for a custom-built digital curriculum in history and social studies. The program, utilizes online learning, multimedia, audio, text, and traditional classroom activities designed to meet the varied needs of individual students. In a recent interview with eSchool News, Jack O’Connel, California’s superintendent of public instruction stated: “Technology in the classroom can be used strategically to improve student achievement and help prepare our students for success in the competitive global economy of the 21st century.”

Colleges and Universities across the nation are now offering online learning opportunities to tap into the large market of adult education. Recent surveys show that nearly 2/3rds of the nations higher education institutions that offer face to face education also offer virtual education classes and degree programs. It is possible now to earn a bachelors degree entirely online.

Online education through distance learning programs are also now a viable option for homeschool families. For some listings please see fellow blogger-Valorie Delp’s article titled “11 Resources for Distance Learning (Plus 6 resources for Special Needs!)

Opponents of online learning cite a higher incidence of cheating that students are capable of partaking in while online or utilizing cell phones and other technology in the classroom. This is called cyber-cheating. Others note the increased need for funding to pay district wide and school technology staff, potential power failures and increased cost of equipment as a deterrent to using technology on an everyday basis. I believe that those are valid points that need to be worked out, but so far in my mind the benefits completely outweigh the negatives. What do you think? Are you in favor or opposed to elementary age and older students utilizing technology in the classroom on a daily basis?