News Column

Why Education Leaders Can't Ignore Online Classes

June 29, 2013
online learning

SAN ANTONIO -- The pressure is on for school districts to adopt online learning -- and the pressure is coming from both parents and students.

A 2013 Trends in Online Learning Report released at ISTE on Tuesday, June 25, looked at online learning from the perspectives of thousands of teachers, parents, students and administrators. Project Tomorrow analyzed results from the 2012 Speak Up survey to produce this report with Blackboard K-12.

Forty-three percent of parents with school-aged children have taken online classes. And when they go through online classes for work or their own education, they increasingly want an online learning experience for their students, said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. That's why 48 percent of them want more online classes at their high schools.

"As they're looking at it, the lightbulb's going on, and they're saying, 'This might be a good way for my own child to learn.' They're then putting increased pressure on the school districts to start thinking about more online learning."

From the beginning, students have wanted an online learning experience because it makes learning more personal, Evans said. More than half of students surveyed said that online classes would give them control over their learning and allow them to go at their own pace.

"The demand for online classes from students and parents continues to grow every year," Evans said, "and from an administrator standpoint, they can't ignore that -- or they should not be ignoring that increasing demand."


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