Digital Classrooms NOW

THE WORLD IS CONSTANTLY changing, with new discoveries, breakthroughs, and innovations making headlines every day. Education, the force responsible for shaping the next generation of innovators, feels the impact of these changes more heavily than many other fields, and schools must recognize that not keeping up means being left behind. It may seem impractical to adopt the latest technologies in the classroom when these are sure to be replaced by something even more effective within a period of years, crucially this trend toward electronic media and instantly accessible information is irreversible.

By the time our children come of age, the quantity of knowledge and the power of global connections will be of limitless potential. This is the world we must prepare them for. The devices and applications themselves are simply tools, which will eventually become obsolete, but the processes and mindsets learned through the use of modern technology are here to stay and are vital to the future success of our youth. By adopting electronic textbooks, educational software, and other technologies now, schools and classrooms will be a step ahead in preparing their students for college, careers, and whatever else awaits them in their lives.

Components of a Digital Classroom

TO IMPLEMENT online learning (ON-LINE LEARNING), know the four important components and how to implement them:

  • Techbooks, eBooks, Notebooks, Laptops, iPads, Book rental via Kindle
  • Open Source software
  • iTunesU
  • Digital cameras, projectors, and headphones

New State Laws Expands E-Learning Options

SEVERAL STATES NOW require districts to give students more choices.

Lawmakers in Utah recently mandated that school districts allow high school students to take online courses from state-approved providers. In Florida, large districts must give students online-course options from at least three different providers. Recent legislation in Georgia altered the funding structure for students who take virtual courses; the action provides an incentive for districts to encourage students to try online classes.

In recent years, several states have enacted laws that require more choices for students who want to try taking courses online, outside the offerings of brick-and-mortar school districts.

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FLIPPED CLASSROOMS SAVING MONEY

Sound Policy for Digital Learning

A study released by the Fordham Institute indicates that the cost of the technology and training could actually reduce per-pupil spending by public schools due to the offset in the efficiencies of a blended education model.

"The traditional-school model spends over half of its budget on labor, with the majority of the rest put into school operations," according to the report, "The Cost of Online Learning." "Content and technology costs combined are but a tiny fraction of overall costs. A blended model, by comparison, has the potential to save approximately $1,100 per student." Taking it a step further, "By significantly reducing the cost of school operations, a virtual school can potentially save more: some $3,600 per student, a third of the total cost of a traditional school."

Thomas Fordham Institute | 2012

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