Virtual Schools, E-Learning, Sweep The States
By Tiffany Danitz, Staff Writer
The number of online high schools across the country continues to grow with virtual schools now operating in 12 states and five other states working on similar projects, according to Education Week's annual School Technology Report.
The editors of the fifth edition of Technology Counts 2002: E-Defining Education, praised the growth in online classrooms, but warned that the quality of such programs must be monitored.
"E-learning is poking holes in the walls of the traditional American classroom and giving students unprecedented access to challenging course and academic material," says Virginia B. Edwards, the editor and publisher of Education Week . "But there are still problems and unanswered questions about this way of teaching and learning. And one of the chief concerns is ensuring the quality of online courses."
The annual 50-state survey on education and technology examines how states are using the Internet to educate kids. The study also tracks how many students have access to computers.
The report said that 25 states have paved the way for charter schools where students take courses online and 32 states are experimenting with programs that combine computers and learning.
South Dakota won praise as a leader in e-learning because it is the first state to offer online statewide exams and because nearly every student has access to a computer.
Alaska, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming have the best student-to-computer ratio with three or fewer students per computer. At worst, states have six students to a computer.
For more information on technology policies in your state, as well as analysis on access, training and use of technology by students and teachers, go to: http://www.edweek.org/tc02
The Education Week report was produced with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.