Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cyber-charter schools


Last week I talked about Cyber-schooling, and I tried to emphasize that there are some paradigms for using technology for education that are more effective than others.
 In another blog I've talked about my experience in working with technology and with thousands of students over the years and how a combination of High Tech, and High Touch serves the student - and learning - best.   Perhaps a good way of thinking about them is that technology is a powerful tool, teaching is a vitalizing art, and the proper mix of both of them has incredible potential to revolutionize what we learn, how we learn, and even how we think.

 Again referring to last weeks blog, I talked about a model for teaching that combined direct instruction from multi-media sources, interaction with the teacher, and assessment tools.  I also stated that the best model for instruction that I have used combined these areas with regular (weekly) teacher-student online sessions with Skype and personal contact regularly, but less frequently (i.e. every 6 weeks).

Now lets take a look at some of the models that are being used.  What does a 'virtual school' for K-12 students look like.  We don't have to look  very far for one model that claims to be successful.  I'm including a promotional video from the California Virtual Academy.  CAVA has a complete and accredited curriculum for k-12 students and is taught by credentialed teachers from all around the state.  This video was done last school-year, and their enrollment was 11,000 students.  They are currently enrolling for this coming school-year. Each student is provided by the state with a computer, modem, course materials, and an internet hook-up. This is radically less cost than paying for brick and mortar schools with the unnecessary and overlapping expenses associated with them.   The concept combines three of the alternative methods for institutional education that are popular - Home-school, Charter-schools, and virtual schooling.  Scheduling is flexible, parents are enlisted as 'learning coaches, and the arts are included.

Next time - More models for learning
Ron Zell

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