Education Reform: Home-Based Online Classes

Education is under scrutiny today. My state, Iowa, seeks ways to improve both the student achievement levels and teacher pay.

Iowa’s scores flatlined this past decade. During a public forum at the capital, thee issue of technology surfaced as a concern. Iowa standards incorporated technology literacy into standards taught for the 21st Century skills.

Students in Iowa and the United States must compete with all students everywhere for jobs. Part of this competition includes technology skills and usage. Classrooms in our schools do not use new technology fully.

There are many reasons for this. There are teachers who fear new methods introduced in this newer venue, and others who would use more technology if teacher inservices included hands-on training of the devices available today. Classes exist for computer professional development, but not all teachers can afford the expense, or the time to attend these after school, or weekends due to family and other obligations that life outside of work includes.  Yet to compete with world-wide student populations in the job markets today, many companies and employers require technology skills as criteria for employment. Students need to use new devices proficiently and efficiently.

During one discussion at a forum, teachers suggested online classes would benefit both traditional and alternate education students due to all the updated information available through the Internet. Not only would this appeal to students, especially students at risk of dropping out of school because regular classroom routines hinder their learning, but it would offer students the relevance and application of using available technology.

Many students own computers at home, and schools now buy them for students to use at school. They could take them home and use the devices for online classes. Teachers could provide lesson content via computers while students remain in their homes, or attend at a  central location (satellite locations). Adult supervisors would monitor understanding and interaction activities in these central locations, especially during testing situations. Teachers and legislators agree online teaching be limited to 900 students the first pilot school year, if offered.

Last year a city in California built a “super school,” a huge superstructure that offered the most updated technology and instructional services. In my hometown in Iowa, school board and superintendents approved and constructed mausoleum-type structures to serve more students with fewer facilities despite the fact that Iowa’s student population dropped and keeps dropping.

I wonder if these school boards thought ahead to future venues of content delivery. With online education booming for colleges, would home-based online classes work for pre-college students, at least at the high school and possibly middle school levels? With the proper monitoring of student progress online and visits to a central location, or homes, is it possible students could  thrive through online education? What happens to all of those brick and motor schools paid for by tax payers dollars?

Iowa legislators already discussed reducing the number of superintendents to cover a county instead of a district. Some share duties at several schools now, especially if the districts are small ones. Will as many principals be needed, and what might their job descriptions entail, if online classes become a reality for elementary and secondary education?

There are details in question about how this venue would work, but I feel it bears consideration. What are your thoughts as educators, or parents? Should the 21st century educational process include online classes for students in the elementary, middle school, or secondary level? What are some ideas about monitoring student learning?

Thank you for your comments, and for visiting my site. I hope to hear your insights on this topic.

About thehopebeacon

Wecome to my blog! I am a Christian wife, mother, and grandmother who wants to share my lifetime experiences with those who share the same interests and roles. I served as an educator for twenty-one years as both a classroom teacher and an Instructional Services Consultant. Most recently I chose to write children's books. This new path as an author led me to create this website. I seek to inspire, uplift, encourage, and advise those who come here who share common interests or life experiences as myself.
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