Wednesday, December 30, 2009
This new decade will bring even more rapid changes to education. As education organizations have to find more inexpensive ways to teach students with an incredibly wide variation in knowledge and skills we know that we will be a big part of the solution.
We are looking forward to the challenge.
Have a great New Year from the Scholarity Team!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The Scholarity homework helper will have some great practice problems and help on every step of the algebra problem - not just a righ or wrong answer at the bottom - but actual help throughout.
Stay tuned as we hope to have this launched in late February!
Monday, December 21, 2009
We will keep you posted!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Now it turns out there is some research that says this is the right path according to the Chronicle of Higher Ed story: Learning from Online. Researchers at Purdue University at Calumet believe that learning how to do distance education properly can make professors better at designing and administering their classroom-based courses. It really reinforces what they are working towards.
From the article:
“Since most professors have spent their lives holding forth from the front of a lecture hall, many have not had to engineer their lesson plans with the sort of rigor required of a well-designed online course, Buckenmeyer says.When teaching online, she says, “You have to pay more attention to the navigation of the course, the clarity of the course, the objectives of the course, the reason why you’re assigning activities and assessments, [and make] certain everything is perfectly clear to the students. In a face-to-face situation, you can get by with just coming in and not having prepared and winging a class session. You can’t do that online.”
Teaching in the virtual world not only does prepares teachers for hybrid schools of the future, but will make them better teachers in a brick and mortar classroom as well.
Monday, December 14, 2009
The demand for inexpensive digital content for education or for wiki-like education materials is going to radically change the dynamics of the education publishing business. It will take cutting edge concepts of digital delivery to create a new revenue stream for those who are really paying attention.
Free education content is already here and rapidly taking over the industry. It remains to be seen as to which publishers can survive the onslaught.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
And Scholarity has that customization ready - we just need some great content.
We already have a parnter in India to create customized test preparation and we are presenting like crazy here in the states to other content providers who understand this need. After the AEI conference, we have even more opportunities coming our way.
It always takes time, but customized learning is coming to students - and coming fast.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
ABCTE Cyber Monday for teachers - just another great way to get the word out about a great program
Thursday, November 19, 2009
So in order for innovation in digital texts to happen, text book approval has to decentralize. When I first started writing this, I was going to advocate for moving it to the district. But even that doesn't make sense as rapidly as technology is changing in education.
We will have true innovation when the teacher decides what text to use. We will truly serve each student when the teacher can pick chapters, or even pages, from the texts they want in order to meet the standards for that particular subject. Then student learning can really be customized. So if teachers know what has to be taught from solid state standards and have access to great digital content, they can put together some amazing lesson plans each year.
Instead, they are stuck with a text book that was approved 5 years ago by a state board that has no idea what is going on each classroom.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
See the report here: http://www.kpk12.com/
Online Learning – issues and opportunitiesChallenges:
• Movement of online courses to district level – groundswell of districts offering their own programs in blended learning model – the challenge is finding data from those programs
• Past the novelty phase – now a real player and much higher expectation for accountability and will be forced to compare to brick and mortar students
• Getting people to understand that there really are a lot of different programs and the laws need to appreciate those differences
• Quality - how to measure, who will measure, especially with multiple delivery models• Districts is where most education reforms have to move to scale – but there are so many competing priorities that it will make it incredibly difficult
• Continual struggle with sustainability in light of drastic budget cuts at the state/district level
• Missouri virtual school lost all funding - - can this spread and is this a highlight of sustainability issues?
• Too much choice with low quality programs could be problematic delivering low cost in a tight market – will overall hurt online learning and students
• No K-8 supplemental and it is time and we will see this expand in the upcoming year
• More interest for supplement programs at the district level
• Florida funding creates a more stable model that more states need to look at to create sustainability
• FTE funding dollars can create sustainability
• Small rural school districts can sustain through online learning to be competitive – and without it could fail
• Giving students a choice - especially over dropping out
• ARRA – influencing education and creating choice and could provide a moveHow do we counter quality issues?
• Consumer awareness and increased data is key
• Need to say to consumers; “here is what you need to see in order to make the buy decision”
• Low cost provider may be a solution – but districts, parents, teachers all need to know what they are buying
• We don’t have enough research to say what a quality online experience actually is – we need a lot more research to test the standards
• Need longitudinal data on how students are succeeding all through school
• The data is usually 3-4 years old so it is not really applicable to the situation we have now since online learning is accelerating
Why are we holding virutals to a higher level of scrutiny than other delivery models?
• Because it is so different - - price is driving a commoditization of virtual but districts are getting much smarter, much faster and reviewing more for quality and leaving price last
• School Districts and states learning that they have to very clearly define what they want due to the number of options
• Course review processes are getting much more rigorous looking for teaching, interactivity, content and process in order to increase quality – Texas is helping define
• Not just evaluating online courses – we are evaluating a cultural shift - have to involve students since they are the digital natives
Are publishers moving with us?
• Moving from publisher to a solution provider - every dollar invested is how to get content to students through education as a service
• Pearson is looking at the world in an entirely different way
• Students may want it as a text book and virtually
• Textbook processes at the state usually keep a text for 6 years and cannot change and that has to change
What is the online learning experience?
• Constantly changing because all the ways people are using it and the report updates the definitions continuously – wont ever have a final definition
• “online learning” actually hurts us – it is using the internet to deliver instruction that carries over to all learning to individualize instruction – need to stop sticking ourselves in that box
Any progress on the seat time requirements that are hurting online schools?
• Wyoming was able to go to milestones and away from seat hours
• Michigan is fighting districts and budgets and having difficulty in this area
• Seat time and achievement – will move more towards mastery and further away from time as the main factor
Key emerging trends for online learning?
• We haven’t addressed the mobile device and we know it is what students want – might not be 2010 but in 18 months we will see mobile devices
• We will continue to see the conversation changing from what is it to how we manage it
• We will see integration into special education in much greater numbers
• We will see more states require online learning experience - MI, AL already have this
• Several different waves are coming – growth in elementary, blended learning – adults needing a high school diploma are a huge audience coming to virtual schools
• Within corporate training, we will see more cohort based collaborative learning in the corporate world
• More multiple pathways to learning – more ability to just in time resources to support the learning that needs to happen for students
• All states will finally have online learning and the discussion will dramatically change
This is the wave, the wave is coming – you either ride the wave or wipe out!
Monday, November 16, 2009
I kept up with the discussion on the wikispace dedicated to the event which was a good discussion. A lot of information on virtual schools.
Yesterday I attended a Web 2.0 session and it was pretty cool. The number of tools available to teachers today is just outstanding. He demonstrated the following which can really bring any class to life:
GoAnimate.com - great way to animate
Xtranormal.com - text to video so cool
The Week in Rap - amazing current events
Moviestorm - 3D video
Wikispaces - great way for students to collaborate
LearnCentral - amazing teaching community
These are great ways to create improved learning – not just using technology for technology sake. And so very cool - -
Friday, November 13, 2009
K-12 Online Learning and Virtual Schools Expanding Options
- K-12 online learning is a new field consisting of an estimated
$300 million market, which is growing at an estimated annual
pace of 30% annually.
- 45 of the 50 states, plus Washington D.C., have a state virtual
school or online initiative, full-time online schools, or both
- 24 states, as well as Washington, DC, have statewide full-time
- Many virtual schools show annual growth rates between 20 and
- 35 states have state virtual schools or state-led online programs.
- As of January 2007, there were 173 virtual charter schools
serving 92,235 students in 18 states.
- 57% of public secondary schools in the U.S. provide access to
students for online learning.
- 72% of school districts with distance education programs
planned to expand online offerings in the coming year.
- 14.2 million computers were available for classroom use in the
nation’s schools as of the 2005-2006 school year. That works out
to one computer for every four students.
Scholarity is looking forward to being down in Austin and getting more great information on the impact of virtual classes!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
We care about technology so it is good to some of the states with strong technology in use scoring high. They used four indicators to rate states on technology and assigned a grade. The first was students per high speed Internet connected computer with 3 being the highest grade – so still not all that great. The second was an established virtual school (oh yeah!). The third was computer based assessment for students and the final indicator was requiring teachers to demonstrate technology competence (not mastery - let's just get some basic competence to start).
Only one technology fail which was Nevada. Sad as the requirements to pass were really low. A lot of states receiving a D including Washington and California - so the tech capitals of the US can’t put tech in their schools. Really sad. Other D states include Utah, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Tennessee, Indiana, Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware and DC.
Hopefully this is a wake up call to these states and with all the money floating around they can at least get to average. Wow – striving for a C – that just doesn’t feel right.
Note: ABCTE just received a grant to create a course for using technology in the classroom! So give them a call to boost your tech grade.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Scholarity is looking forward to finding that forward thinking organization looking for a truly adaptive platform for their amazing content. Let us know if you would like a demo while you are at iNACOL.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
There is some great content and some great content management and even some great delivery. Combine those with dynamic insight technology and you could rule the web.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Right now we have a mini-test going on to see two things;
- Is Joomla or Drupal better for us as an organization
- Does having a micro-site with a real purpose help traffic to our original site
We are deploying the full social media push as well as everything we have learned on SEO on this site as well as revamping our core site. Very excited to track the data to see how this will impact our future online strategy.
Friday, October 30, 2009
The next two years are going to be painful for innovation budgets. All the billions of dollars the feds are pouring into states and districts are just going to be used to try to stem the hemorrhaging.
As for student achievement – don’t expect much with these deep cuts.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
There are some texts but it mostly involves a customized interactive classroom. So in order to survive in the new world of textbook publishing, they are bringing together the best of learning management systems and content to schools.
Over at ABCTE we have an RFP for LMS and are fascinated with how many systems are out there. The group that really puts together a "best of" content, content delivery, and management will be the new leader in the business formerly called textbook publishing.
Now we just need to get them some Scholarity to create a tutor-like experience for students through software and we can really watch this take off!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The next wave of textbooks/libraries will be fully interactive. So while I applaud this move by one school moving to digital libraries and textbooks, we need to really think about the next step and the book-lovers need to stop freaking out. I yearn for the day that kids no longer tote backbreaking books home every night.
As a side note, I just signed up for the iNACOL virtual school symposium in Austin – hope to see you there to learn even more about the next step in online learning!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Schools don’t work like a business. If a business is faced with steep revenue reductions they look to create efficiencies in their operations to ensure that the output can improve with less cost. There are many efficiencies that teachers can realize through technology and maybe, as the cuts get even deeper, we will actually see some of these. We are already seeing California move to digital textbooks – can digital classes be far behind?
School district spending cuts don’t have to reduce student learning as long as we finally leverage technology in the classroom. I think school districts will finally be forced to blow up the current staffing model due to budget shortfalls and finally use computers in the classroom to provide truly differentiated instruction.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
That lead to some revelations on the insanity that in US charter laws. The first that obviously affects ABCTE teachers is that in some states there are requirements that all virtual teachers be state certified – sometimes at a higher percentage than in brick and mortar schools. The second is that seat time takes precedence over subject matter mastery for students.
Both are ridiculous. Online learning is supposed to fully leverage great talent regardless of geographic location. If a great physics teacher in Pennsylvania is available to inspire future scientists in Utah – they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops in all 50 states to become a teacher.
The real beauty of online learning is truly differentiated instruction. But in our system, if the student masters algebra in 3 months, they don’t get credit unless they sit in front an algebra course for 180 days.
Our laws need to help technology work to increase learning – not hold it back so that the adults can feel better.
Monday, October 19, 2009
How can their be resistence when so many students are digital savvy and the current cost is so high? It is the publishers with a $7 billioni industry trying to protect their livelihoods.
In Liberating Learning the authors say that digital content will be offered for free and it is the support materials that will make publishers money. I don't think it will ever be free, but the price will come down and the support materials will be much more important.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Thanks to Innosight, we can keep seeing these great success stories to help make the case for more online learning so that every student has the chance to succeed.
Monday, October 12, 2009
It is good to see articles like this in the USAToday - but frustrating to see the pace so slow and the coverage only talking about a few schools.
Monday, October 5, 2009
"The online education sector grew 13% last year and had been growing at about 20% in previous years. Nearly one in four students take at least some college courses online, up from one in 10 in 2002. Two million students older than the traditional 18-22 year-old undergraduates take all their courses online and two million more take one or more online course. Twenty-nine percent of U.S. adults have a college degree, fewer than in many other industrialized nations. Only about 40% of Americans who start college graduate. The price of higher education, which rises by an average of 8% a year, contributes to the high dropout rate."
Lower costs improves access and improved availability could increase graduation rates. We continue to see the disruptive innovation in the university system. Let's hope it moves faster in K12.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The next step is to place these students in online courses that get them where the need to be in the most efficient and cost effective manner.
Which is why Scholarity is working so hard.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Great article on online learning republished from the Chronicle of Higher Ed in Free Dominion on “Will Higher Ed be the Next Bubble to Burst?” by Cronin and Horton. The point I like best about this is it calls out the
The story highlights Brigham Young which has lowered tuition! From the article:
“Brigham Young University-Idaho charges only $3,000 in tuition a year, and $6,000 for room and board. Classes are held for three semesters, each 14 weeks, for 42 weeks a year. Faculty members teach three full semesters, which has helped to increase capacity from 25,000 students over two semesters to close to 38,000 over three, with everyone taking one month (August) off. The president, Kim B. Clark, is a former dean of the
There you have it. It can be done more efficiently and online courses can accelerate the timing of graduation. The final question: why aren’t more universities doing this?
Monday, September 14, 2009
There was an interesting article in the Sunday Washington Post about the virtual education revolution. It is interesting because the revolution is getting a huge boost from the economy and it is puzzling to me that bricks and mortar institutions are not figuring this out at all.
Students have less money to go to school so institutions have to find efficiencies in their system or they will lose customers. At the same time, institutions are getting significantly less money from the state and feds. But we have more kids wanting to go to college. The result is more crowded classrooms and kids having to stay in school longer because the classes they need are full.
My own daughter had significant problems putting together her schedule at JMU this semester. And all I could think of was why don’t they offer more online courses so the timing wouldn’t be so difficult and it would save everyone some money. The article makes the great point that many of the classes taught are “commodities” that can be accomplished with high volume, low cost methods that virtual classes can provide.
The university systems need to wake up or they will be left behind.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Excellent piece by Matt Ladner who is becoming increasingly convinced that the only way to save education is through virtual schooling. He has a great summary of some of the data points that support the argument that education is really in the midst of a disruptive innovation. We could not agree more.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Textbooks and other print resources will be free but online companion courses and tutoring will earn the money
And now we have McGraw-Hill Connect doing just that. They are producing online textbooks for college students with a host of add-ons including lecture capture, non-linear options for reading the material, instant grading and more. And the best part is that it is less than half the price.
We pay over $500 per semester for books so if every college professor provided this option it would save each college student $2,000. That is HUGE!!
So you save money, get more features, more customized learning and when the new edition comes out we don’t waste millions of trees making it far more environmentally friendly options.
Can we please get this nationwide now????
Friday, September 4, 2009
The economy is driving business to online schools. Nothing surprising here but it is great to see CNBC covering it. It is not just happening in higher ed – it is a phenomenon in K-12 as well. The only amazing thing is that it has not happened faster.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
The Innosight Institute is releasing case studies of online education. Note that the Innosight team is behind the book "Disrupting Class". The first case study they released is on the Alpine School District in
I found it fascinating from a number of different points. The first is to see a school district striving to meet the needs of home-school parents by marketing a product that they want. How many school districts use business-like responses to issues affecting student enrollment? Second, it is pretty fascinating to see how quickly they are able to get a virtual high school up and running (with K12 Inc). Third is that virtual schools really can save a considerable amount of money and still get results.
Innosight says that more case studies will be released quarterly and I hope so. It is a great primer on the online education market and should help further the cause.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Last week I paid $150 for a college Algebra 2 text book. There isn’t a used one available because this is the first of the new edition of algebra 2 text book because of all the radical developments going on in algebra right now – none of which I can find in any google search. With college expenses so high and technology making everything else much more affordable, why are we forced to shell out this kind of money for a basic college course?
It is 2009, our kids are used to reading everything online yet we still have new editions of college texts that they are forced to purchase. But change is coming fast and by 2012 we may be referring to text book publishers the way we talk about buggy whip manufacturers.
As Edutopia points out, economics are will drive this change. Publishers are going to have to find ways to create different revenue streams from their content. I don’t think open source will replace them but it is going to force them to radically change their business models.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Let us know what you think! http://www.scholarity.com