Distance learning and online education have emerged as growing trends in the K-12 arena, particularly for schools looking to diversify curriculum delivery. The traditional classroom is not for everyone and schools can create alternative learning environments through technologies like videoconferencing, learning management systems and lecture capture. The use of these distance technologies also allows schools to move classes online and to bring in teachers or guest speakers located outside the district who have expertise in a specific area.
Distance or online education does not have to take place within an entirely separate program. Although the design is different from that of a traditional class, courses can contain elements of all three environments where students may receive face-to-face instruction one day, but have an online learning or video component as well. This is called a blended learning environment. It’s up to each individual school district to decide how to roll out distance technologies and no one approach is right for everyone.
The three following articles serve as a guide to your school in developing distance education. The first article “A Guide to Distance Learning for K-12” is a basic overview of distance learning technologies. It will help you assess what your school needs to get started. The second article “Building a Virtual School: How to Move Education Online for K-12 Students” will show you how eAchieve Academy in Wisconsin functions as an entirely online K-12 school. You’ll learn what tools they use and how to set up an online learning environment. The last article is “A Web Video Making Primer.” Video is a huge part of distance and online learning and this article offers tips on how to make a quick and easy video to communicate with students.