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April 23, 2008

Comments

Gaythia Weis

Not every high school can offer every class on a schedule that fits every student. Some students can take some classes independantly as a supplement to their public school courses. Some students need classes that are more advanced than those offered by their schools.

Two online programs with which my family has had positive experiences as supplementary high school AP level coursework are:
Oklahoma State University College of Arts and Sciences outreach k-12 learning program http://k12.okstate.edu/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

and Stanford University Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY)
http://epgy.stanford.edu/ohs/EPGY_OHS_Overview.pdf
Both of these programs offer online tutorial support. At this level, it is the AP test score which is significant, so these were reportable on college applications.

Brian Herman

John, very insightful. I think your point is dead-on. We have no real idea how technology will transform our education system. We're playing with ideas in the space but we're not yet even sure where we're going. There are many grand experiments underway and it's too early to know what will work and what won't. The only thing that is certain is that the world will change.

And that's really the hard part. Dealing with the change.

Too many people are stuck in the past with the "back to basics" and the (oh so ironic) "Three R's" movement. I hear the cry "It was good enough for me... look how well I turned out." uttered all the time. The difference is that when my grandpa and father went through public education they were looking at jobs in the steel mills and carpentry and manufacturing. Those were noble jobs but the world has moved on.

I spend my days working in real-time with people on 4 continents, connected in ways that my university degree from just 15 years ago didn't really prepare me for, to say nothing of my need to know multiple languages, which my primary education didn't provide me.

Today's children will be doing jobs we can't even imagine yet. How can a "back to basics" education serve their needs? We've got to reach beyond the traditional classroom and chalkboard methods, supplementing (but not replacing) them with technology.

Change is hard. We need leaders to show us the way and brave people to follow them. The rest of the world will catch up eventually and they'll find it wasn't so bad after all. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to go for a ride in my horseless carriage.

Brad Jolly

It is no secret that I am a proponent of online education. However, a necessary first step for either online or traditional education is to have a real curriculum, with real assessments and real standards. Right now, the district has no standards that students must meet, and assessments vary dramatically from school to school and from teacher to teacher.

How much better it would be to tell students, "here's what you need to know by the end of each grade and class," and then let the students (aided by teachers) use whatever online or interpersonal methods work for them to learn the material. The district would then certify whether a student had met the standard.

As it is today, students know they'll be shoved along according to the district's strict standard that they have had a birthday within the previous 12 months. Many student pick up on the district's message that learning doesn't matter and drift through their education aimlessly as a result.

Mike Patzkowsky

Online education is a scary thing both for teachers and parents unfamiliar with technology. But as pointed out the comments someone needs to take a chance and try it. I think we should while it is new, and fresh, so we can help mold the model for online classes. As pointed out Douglas County School District took, immediate steps with out knowing what the future outcome would be and got their online school up and running in about 3 years. They took unusual steps and pulled funds from other ares to launch the project. I am in agreement with John C. that no one is jumping out of their shoes for online education. But I dont think that is because there is not a want or need for it. I think a lot of people have not been engaged enough to even realize the potential or the possibility exists. Parents seem to be up in arms for what they are against and not what they are for. So what people want sometimes never even is brought to light as we are so focused on the negative side of things like a MIL Levy overide. I think if we talked as much about technoly in the classroom and the benefits to the teachers as we do about rasing their salaries and CSAPS. The knocking on the door for technology in the class room would evolve more quickly than we think.

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