Sunday, January 30, 2011

Online Learning in K-12 Education

21st century learning has moved far beyond the chalkboard and text book. Many educators believe that online learning is not a true form of education. Teachers at my school have voiced their concerns about the future of online learning. Many believe that it is expensive, too different from 20th Century learning, time consuming and students are not motivated to do the work if indeed they are doing the work themselves.
When answering my colleagues fears I have pointed out that higher education has been successfully using online learning for many years. In public education expense is a big issue. With free learning management systems (LMS) such as moodle and ecampus there is no cost to the school, teacher or student. We live in the 21st century and as aeducators we need use the tools that are available to us and our students. We need to prepare students for a very technology filled world. With the aid of LMS teachers can prepare a years course of study easily and then students can pace themselves accordingly. My biggest argument for online learning is the following testimonial from a student that left high school after her sophomore year to finish her education online.
“I chose online schooling because it's free and I can graduate a year early. They work with you more one on one than public schools do. If I have a problem, I just email or call them and they can into this live thing that's like a smart board. It's awesome. I do feel like I'm learning. … I work at my own pace and I can keep doing something if I don't understand it. It has been a good experience. I like it a lot … There's no drama and way more learning. :)”
“As educators, if we want to create a dynamic learning environment to serve future students, we must listen to what students are saying about what excites and motivates them. We must start by changing our approach to how we deliver education and instruction. We must nurture students and give them opportunities to explore, learn, and create” ( Young, Birtolo & McElman, 2009, p.17).

Cavanaugh, C., & Clark, T. (2007). The Landscape of K-12 Online Learning. In P. Adamson, B. Adamson, & N. Clausen-Grace, et al (Eds.), What Works in K-12 Online Learning (Chapter 1, pp. 5-19).

Pugliese, Louis C., 190 West Ostend Street ,Baltimore, MD 21230 retrieved January 27, 2011 from

Young, J., Birtolo, P., & McElman, R. (2009). Virtual success: Transforming education through online learning. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(5), 12–17. Retrieved from the Education Research Complete database.