Like most of my colleagues at Digital Directions, I am knee-deep in a bunch of stories about how online education is impacting K-12 schools, which is the focus of this year’s upcoming Technology Counts report (to be released at the end of March.) At this point, I’ve talked to countless people about this—from teachers and administrators to CEOs and academic experts—and there’s a lot of excitement about where online education could take us.
To get a sneak-peek into some of what the stories we’re working on delve into, I highly recommend that you check out my colleague Michelle Davis’ audio interview with Elizabeth Pape, the CEO of the Virtual High School Global Consortium. Pape touches on a lot of what is so exciting to educators about online learning—the potential it has to expand educational opportunities for students in a cost-effective way, how it can be used to deliver effective professional development for teachers, and what effect the stimulus package might have on online education.
Another advantage of online education, advocates say, is the ability it has to engage students through individualized, or personalized, instruction. With an online course, students can move at their own pace and the teacher receives immediate feedback about the progress each student makes, which allows him or her to adjust instruction or provide extra support based on each individual student.
K-12 schools are notoriously slow to embrace change and whether or not online learning will have the transformative effect that many people are hoping for is still up in the air. But like Pape discusses in the interview, the economy is playing a huge part in schools’ decisions right now, and as they look for innovative and creative ways to provide high-quality education to all students in an efficient way, online education might prove to be a viable option.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.