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I'm having a bit of an epiphany these days.  Online learning is more than just a cool tool; it's the future of education.  I'm not saying that all students are eventually going to receive all their learning sitting at a computer, but certainly the blended learning model makes a great deal of sense.  As educators, we know that we should be customizing learning experiences to each student's individual needs, but until recently it's been a real challenge to provide significant differentiation.

 

Enter the computer.  As the quality of electronic content and delivery improves, it becomes easier and easier to provide the right learning in the right way for each student.  Higher education has already gotten on this bandwagon, followed by high schools.  We've finally filtered down to elementary levels where RTI helps us keep track of student progress, and now we just need to link it to the appropriate content when the student is ready.  New York City's School of One is an exciting venture into that very enterprise.

 

A new website I stumbled across is Blended Schools.net, a promising non-profit organization out of Pennsylvania that provides all kinds of collaborative curriculum and professional development to schools.  Many of its member schools seem to be using it for summer school, credit recovery, accelerated learning, and even virtual academies for non-traditional students.  As an administrator at a tiny K-8 district, all of these things are appealing and now seem like they might be within our limited financial grasp.

 

So what I am doing to "catch the wave?"  Well, right now I'm taking an introductory Moodle course.  I want to know what it's like as a student to take an online class, but I also want to know as a teacher what it's like to design a good course.  So far, I'm lovin' it! 

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