Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Will online learning become the norm in public education?

In honor of Black History Month, I was excited to participate in today’s Smithsonian Education Conference Online forum entitled “Civil Rights: From Lincoln to Today.”  Since reading Congressman John Lewis’ book “Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement,” I’ve always been fascinated with the Civil Rights movement and hoped to learn more about the struggle pre-1950s.  What I learned instead is that online education is becoming more prevalent and may play a large role in the public education system of the future.

There were a variety of participants in the forum, including professors and casual observers, like me.  I was particularly interested in the number of elementary students that participated in the program.  Some teachers signed on to the forum with their entire class.  Many of them used it to supplement their curriculum.  There were also homeschool students participating. I thought this was a great way to bring the Smithsonian programming to students who are unable to make the visits to Washington, DC.

Ironically, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education recently announced that there will be a hearing entitled “Raising the Bar: How Education Innovation Can Improve Student Achievement” tomorrow, February 14, 2013.  The hearing will focus on technology and learning at the state level, including “blended learning, online classes, and virtual schools.”

I was only mildly interested in listening to the hearing until today’s forum.  Now, I’m hoping to learn more about online learning education initiatives in the states tomorrow at lunch!

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