I am always amazed by (and frankly a little jealous of) the new technologies that continue to emerge in K-12 education. If only I had been able to check and submit my homework from my home computer or cell phone instead of playing phone tag with a classmate to see whether she wrote it in her planner! If only I had been able to confidently post in an online forum discussion instead of shying away from raising my hand in class and stuttering in front of my peers!
In this digital age, it’s critical for schools to integrate into their curricula the kinds of technologies that students will eventually use in higher education and the working world. But how does a district identify which solutions are best for its schools? How does a district determine its readiness to develop or expand upon an online learning program?
After recently joining Blackboard, I’ve discovered that this company offers a wealth of free resources to help districts with exactly these questions. One of these resources is an online assessment tool called the Planning Guide for Online Learning.
It guides you through an evaluation of the environment,characteristics and areas of opportunity for online learning based on:
• Student needs
• Technology and infrastructure
• Instructional programs
• Professional development
• Curriculum delivery
You can follow the self-assessment questions step by step, or you can skip around to different sections and go at your own pace. You can also save your information and results to share with colleagues for discussion and feedback.
As you begin to think about new or enhanced online learning solutions, I encourage you to start with the Planning Guide for Online Learning. You’ll get a more comprehensive view of your school or district’s current situation and learn how to identify an online program that is most beneficial to your students, teachers, administrators and parents. They’ll thank you for it!