by Jeff Utecht
EARCOS Teachers Conference, 2010, Manila, Philippines
"It is predicted by 2019, 50% of high school courses will online. A study released in November found that blended classrooms (those utilizing both traditional and online learning formats) lead to great achievement...it is a whole new way of engaging learners in the learning process."
Florida Virtual High School is the largest virtual high school in the US with over 300,000 students! A portion of kids are high achievers who graduate early and move on the university, but a large portion are kids from low socioeconomic status who need to earn money for their families, so they work a full-time job and still go to high school - online. Some are using online classes for summer school to catch up or get ahead.
Studies showed that the more interactive, the more learning was going on in the online environment. 80% of incoming undergrads will take at least one online class before they graduate from university. Online enrollment in universities is skyrocketing! This is where universities are seeing the majority of growth.
We're talking about personalizing the educational landscape. Your kids do not come to school to learn. Why do they come to school? To see their friends and socialize. What is it that you are doing in your classroom right now that I don't have to take class time to do? It's that stuff that you can put online in order to maximize the face-to-face time.
Social bookmarking is a way that students can prepare for tomorrow's discussion. Their homework could be to use a site like diigo.com to bookmark their sites. Then in class you can discuss why people bookmarked what. We're really good at having kids put stuff on the Internet, but we're not really good about pulling that content back into the classroom. Kids are creating amazing blog posts, but are we having kids come back in and explain why the wrote what they wrote?
Build your lessons and allow your students to create something to show their learning. But at the end of the day, they have to answer the question, they have to reach the learning outcomes. In the beginning, some students will complain, "Please, please, just tell me what I need to know so I can memorize it and pass the test!" You'll have to retrain them. Can they not only create something, but can they analyze it? Do they know why they're doing it?
At Jeff's schools, students start the day with a blog post. One teacher will pick one kid and share it with the class. He'll ask the students to share their thoughts about it, too. (They use netvibes.com.)
OK, my computer's battery died there, so hopefully I'll find the notes later and post them here. Jeff Utecht is a virtual fount of technology information...no pun intended.