online learning

  • By John Bailey
    May 20, 2011

    There was a great event held at the Capitol last week exploring the issue of innovative approaches to literacy.  Andrés Henríquez, one of the great stars at the Carnegie Corporation, served as the moderator for a panel composed of: Read more

  • By John Bailey
    April 11, 2011
  • By John Bailey
    March 14, 2011
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    March 9, 2011
  • By John Bailey
    December 28, 2010

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  • By John Bailey
    December 10, 2010
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    December 6, 2010

     

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  • By John Bailey
    December 2, 2010

    Former Governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise released an innovative plan (pdf) to make state policy more friendly to digital learning.  The report is the result of a three month discussion that began back in August (see our blog post here) that involved 100 leaders from government, solution providers, philanthropy, and schools.

    The effort is important for a couple of reasons:

    • Legitimizing Digital Education:  The involvement of such a diverse group of individuals helps to elevate online learning and other uses of technology to personalize education in the education reform discussion. 

    • Creating the Conditions for Growth:  Most of the recommendations encourage states to create the right conditions for digital learning.  Creating a stable policy and regulatory environment that is supportive of online learning and eliminates barriers, such as online enrollment caps, will help fuel more growth.  

    • Establishing Provider Neutrality:   The 10 elements help establish a level playing field for all providers, instead of tilting the benefits to just non-profit providers.  The focus is placed on quality rather than limiting opportunities based on tax-status.
    • Linking Digital Learning to Broader Education Goals: Digital learning offers the best hope for scaling college-ready courses like AP and advanced STEM courses.  It also is one of the better tools available to states as they think about doing more with less given tightening state education budgets.   

    There are a few challenges. First, the terms we often use to describe this technology seem to change more then the technology itself. What is often being described today as blended and hybrid learning models are similar to many of the instructional improvement systems launched back in the late 1990s. For example, Pennsylvania led an effort back in 2000-2001 to equip schools with software and online services to "customize instruction for individual students and provide them with more individualized attention." The main difference is that today's technology is simply delivered over the Internet rather than through CDs or local servers.  

    Secondly, not all of this is a state responsibility.  School districts have a role and often are the entity that decides if a student can take an online course or not.  In other words, the state policy could permit opportunities, but local schools can block them.  The federal government can also help with incentives for states to adopt these digital learning friendly policies as well as funding support.  For example, the E-rate needs a more radical overhaul to support the type of learning described in this report.  Right now, the program is part of the problem by not fully supporting online learning.  

    Overall, a great report that will help serve as a policy guide for governors and state leaders.  Learn more by visiting the Digital Learning Now website.

     

    10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning

    1. Student Eligibility: All students are digital learners.

    Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

    • State ensures access to high quality digital content and online courses to all students.

    • State ensures access to high quality digital content and online courses to students in K-12 at any time in their academic career.

     

    2. Student Access: All students have access to high quality digital content and online courses.

    Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

    • State does not restrict access to high quality digital content and online courses with policies such as class size ratios and caps on enrollment or budget.

    • State does not restrict access to high quality digital content and online courses based on geography, such as school district, county, or state.

    • State requires students take high quality online college-or career-prep courses to earn a high school diploma.

     

    3. Personalized Learning: All students can customize their education using digital content through an approved provider.

    Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

    • State allows students to take online classes full-time, part-time or by individual course.

    • State allows students to enroll with multiple providers and blend online courses with onsite learning.

    • State allows rolling enrollment year round.

    • State does not limit the number credits earned online.

    • State does not limit provider options for delivering instruction.

     

    4. Advancement: Students progress based on demonstrated competency.

    Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

    • State requires matriculation based on demonstrated competency.

    • State does not have a seat-time requirement for matriculation.

    • State provides assessments when students are ready to complete the course or unit.

     

    5. Content: Digital content, instructional materials, and online and blended learning courses are high quality.

    Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

    • State requires digital content and online and blended learning courses to be aligned with state standards or common core standards where applicable.

     

    6. Instruction: Digital instruction and teachers are high quality.

    Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

    • State provides alternative certification routes, including online instruction and performance-based certification.

    • State provides certification reciprocity for online instructors certified by another state.

    • State creates the opportunity for multi-location instruction.

    • State encourages post-secondary institutions with teacher preparation programs to offer targeted digital instruction training.

    • State ensures that teachers have professional development or training to better utilize technology and before teaching an online or blended learning course.

     

    7. Providers: All students have access to multiple high quality providers.

    Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

    • State has an open, transparent, expeditious approval process for digital learning providers.

    • State provides students with access to multiple approved providers including public, private and nonprofit.

    • States treat all approved education providers- public, chartered and private – equally.

    • State provides all students with access to all approved providers.

    • State has no administrative requirements that would unnecessarily limit participation of high quality providers (e.g. office location).

    • State provides easy-to-understand information about digital learning, including programs, content, courses, tutors, and other digital resources, to students.

     

    8. Assessment and Accountability: Student learning is the metric for evaluating the quality of content and instruction.

    Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

    • State administers assessments digitally.

    • State ensures a digital formative assessment system.

    • State evaluates the quality of content and courses predominately based on student learning data.

    • State evaluates the effectiveness of teachers based, in part, on student learning data.

    • State holds schools and providers accountable for achievement and growth.

     

    9. Funding: Funding creates incentives for performance, options and innovation.

    Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

    • State funding model pays providers in installments that incentivize completion and achievement.

    • State allows for digital content to be acquired through instructional material budgets and does not discourage digital content with print adoption practices.

    • State funding allows customization of education including choice of providers.

     

    10. Delivery: Infrastructure supports digital learning.

    Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

    • State is replacing textbooks with digital content, including interactive and adaptive multimedia.
    • State ensures high-speed broadband Internet access for public school teachers and students.
    • State ensures all public school students and teachers have Internet access devices.
    • State uses purchasing power to negotiate lower cost licenses and contracts for digital content and online courses.
    • State ensures local and state data systems and related applications are updated and robust to inform longitudinal management decisions, accountability and instruction.

     

     

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  • By John Bailey
    November 30, 2010
  • By John Bailey
    November 22, 2010

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