Sunday, February 13, 2011

Digital Learning Programs Around the Country

Feb 9, 2011 – 10:31 AM
AOL News

An ongoing experiment with digital learning is changing the look and feel of American education. In New York City, the country's largest public school system, a pilot program was launched in the fall to test three types of digital learning courses: Advanced Placement, credit recovery and blended learning, which combines online courses with traditional face-to-face instruction. Elsewhere around the country, states, school districts and private institutions are testing the waters in what could amount to an educational revolution.

Here are a few examples of those programs:
1. George Washington University Online High School

In January, classes opened at George Washington University's virtual prep school -- a private, virtual high school, officially known as George Washington University Online High School. The school has 16 matriculated students from nine states so far, according to The Washington Post. It is operated by online education company K12 Inc. (many of the current students are reportedly children of K12 employees) and has plans to open its virtual doors to students worldwide. One year's tuition at the school costs $9,995.

2. Florida Virtual School

When it was founded in 1997, Florida Virtual School was the first statewide online high school. Today, it's the country's largest e-learning system, with more than 220,000 students taking at least one online course in grades K-12. FLVS courses are free to Florida residents and provide options for students who need flexible school schedules or who want to take classes that aren't offered at their own schools. School districts are also using virtual courses to meet a class size-limit law, which doesn't apply to e-learning labs, according to The New York Times.

3. Credit Recovery in Houston

The Houston Independent School District offers online credit-recovery courses to students in danger of failing a class. This fall, 2,500 students were enrolled in the program and 27 "grad coaches" -- not teachers -- were tasked with monitoring their progress, according to The New York Times. The program is touted as a cost-effective means to improving graduation rates.

4. California Virtual Academies

The California Virtual Academies is a network of nine online charter schools throughout the state. During the 2008-2009 school year, CAVA had more than 10,000 students enrolled. This fall, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest public school district in the country, opened the City of Angels Virtual Academy, an online high school offering ninth- and 10th-grade curricula.

5. 39 State Programs

According to Keeping Pace, they are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The states that do not have state virtual schools or online learning initiatives are Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

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