Last week over 1,500 K-12 educators gathered in Austin, TX for the Virtual School Symposium hosted by iNACOL. Though the event is branded for virtual schools, one of the most popular topics was blended learning – the intersection between face-to-face and online learning.
We discovered that blended learning can be a confusing topic as definitions vary based on institution. To help, Blackboard K-12 embarked on projects to shed light on the model and practices around blended learning. At VSS, we launched our newest eduviews K-12 leadership publication: Blended Learning: Where Online and Face-to-Face Instruction Intersect at a breakfast featuring a panel of practitioners.
I attended a luncheon honoring the success of Fairfax Public Schools (VA) in
providing a first-class education to their students – including the
incorporation of technology in education. One of the district’s many
accomplishments is the creation of a district virtual school to serve a diverse
student population. Fairfax is not alone in this effort. Many districts across
the country have created virtual schools to enable students to access courses
they can’t get at their school or that just won’t fit into their schedule. This
summer, Blackboard K-12 captured a few district leaders on video as they
discussed the benefits of district-based virtual schools, including the ability
to deliver an engaging, personalized educational experience to students.
Over the past three years, I have blogged about our partnership with Project Tomorrow to bring you the Education in the 21st Century reports. These reports examined the views of K-12 educators on issues such as online learning and a new breed of K-12 administrators.
This time, we narrowed our focus to parents. Learning in the 21st Century: Parents’ Perspectives, Parents’ Priorities, released at the NSBA T+L event in Denver, CO (amidst 10+ inches of snow!), examines the views of these important, but often overlooked stakeholders in education. The report reveals that parents do not believe our schools are doing enough to prepare students for the 21st century. To improve on this, they identify the application of technology to learning and teacher training as two major elements for success. Read more.
In late September, I blogged
about how online credit recovery programs help to increase graduation rates. As I mentioned, online credit recovery addresses different learning styles and paces, and helps students when they need it the most (see Credit Recovery eduviews publication
Many districts have begun to leverage online options for professional development to improve teacher effectiveness while controlling costs. Online learning enables districts to provide relevant, flexible and ongoing professional development whenever and wherever teachers need it. And, in some cases, it’s starting to have a real impact.