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Using technology to enhance learning and forming links between schools and homes

Posted on Jul 30, 2012

If primary and secondary students could design their own school, more than 70% would require ubiquitous Internet access and about 45% would provide access to online classes. Administrators feel the same way about internet access, but less than 20% would design a school with access to online courses.

Project Tomorrow at Speak Up has collected information from students, parents, and educators on technology and education since 2003. Along with the previously cited information, much can be culled from their reports.

Their five-year retrospective on the growth of online learning shows that growth in online learning experiences for teachers (i.e., online professional development) directly affects the value they place on online learning for their students, including their support of learning through the use of mobile devices. Since 2007, there has been an 80% increase in parents’ support of online learning for their children. Students and parents alike now have higher expectations for individualized teacher attention through online courses and see the top two benefits of online education to include the ability to work at the student’s own pace (57% of parents believe this is a top benefit) and the ability to review material as many time as the student wishes (54% of parents). Both of these benefits resemble accommodations made for students with disabilities on their individualized education programs (IEPs).

Project Tomorrow is interested in monitoring the annual trends in provision and expectations of online learning and how these trends will affect policies. The Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities shares this interest in these trends with a special focus on how the changing climate regarding the provision of online learning will affect policy for students with disabilities and how changing policy regarding online learning and students with disabilities will affect practices.

Interested in giving input on online learning trends? Speak Up 2012 will be taking input submissions from October 3rd to December 14th, 2012. If you are school or district administrator, you may register here.

Paula Burdette is a Co-Principal Investigator for the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.

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