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Sunday, November 06, 2005

How Are We Doing?

It is an interesting question... Much of what I read these days, in terms of the literature on virtual schooling is provding an update on the state of virtual schooling. Darren (over at Teaching and Developing Online) points us to an article entitled E-learning: A progress report, which outlines three areas that still provide a challenge for us, but overall, the assessment seems positive.

He also directs us to another article, this one entitled Virtual classrooms abound on Internet, which is a news item from the Heartland Institute describing exactly how well we are doing with providing virtual school opportunities to K-12 students. The article describes how these opportunities are accommodating students' interests and schedules, along with even improving socialization (which is an odd one I'm sure to return to at some point).

This Heartland Institute article links to another one of their own news items on Internet Reshapes Outlook for Rural Schools from two years ago. The article discusses how the Internet has opened up learning opportunities for students, particularly in rural areas. This fact is confirmed by recent US Department of Education publications, which shows that there is a large percentage of smaller and rural schools that are taking advantage of distance education opportunities to supplement and extend their curriculum.

The problem still rests in the fact that the way in which schools tend to supplement or extend their curriculum is at the higher end of the curriculum. In many instances, distance education is used to provide learning opportunities for the high ability learners. We use distance education to improve the educational experience of our high ability, independent, self-motivated students. In fact in very few virtual schools, are we catering to students of all ability levels.

What prevents us from designing virtual school opportunities for learners that aren't independent, self-motivated, high ability students?

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