K through 12 online education is an emerging field that continues to grow. As outlined in recent reports, there have been many exciting developments in the past year, and new trends continue to evolve.

 

In our local NY schools:

 

  • A consortium of eight local Westchester county schools are participating in a pilot program “Online Courses for the 21st Century”, through Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES.  The junior and senior level courses are completely asynchronous.

 

  • According to editor/author Laurel Babcock of Bedford Schools Bedford Dateline, “the program’s purpose is to keep students up to speed with the latest in educational methods and prepare them for their future. “

 

  • Local districts participating in addition to Bedford are Chappaqua, Katonah-Lewisboro, Lakeland, Mamaroneck, Ossining, Peekskill and Yorktown.

 

In New York State:

 

  • NYSED released a comprehensive state education technology plan, approved in February 2010, which includes a provision for opening a statewide online high school.
  • The NYS Board of Regents declined to authorize full-time online charter schools at this point, but there are small public school based initiatives throughout New York State including iLearnNYC through the New York City Department of Education, through the 8 high school consortium in Westchester County mentioned above, and through Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES, among others.
  • It is clear that New York State, though a latecomer to K-12 online education in the US, is now in the online school mix.  Expect high school grads who want online education soon.

 

Highlights throughout the US:

 

  • Most district programs are currently blended (a hybrid between online and on-site) instead of fully online.
  • Though single district programs are the fastest growing segment of online and blended learning, full-time, multi-district online schools continue to grow.
  • Special student needs, such as diploma completion, enrichment additional course offerings, are becoming a main focus
  • Several states passed new laws on online education, some of which cited the Ten Elements of Digital Learning created by Digital Learning Now
  • The Common Core State Standards are beginning to be used. Common assessments are next.

 

References:

 

Laurel Babcock, Editor.  Bedford Dateline.  Volume 39, Number 1, Fall 2011.

John Watson, Amy Murin, Lauren Vashaw, Butch Gemin, Chris Rapp. Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning Report, 2011. Evergreen Education Group. 2011.

 

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