Thursday, 3 March 2011

High Schools Online

Online Education Expands to High Schools Online
Following the trend set by colleges around the world, a younger group of students is leaving the classroom behind and enrolling in high schools online. Learning online is becoming increasingly popular among high school students who do not favor learning in a traditional classroom environment. A variety of students can benefit from schools online, from those with behavioral or social issues to students with an increased interest in computers and technology.

In mid-January, George Washington University (GWU) launched a new, fully-online high school. Classes for the school's 16 enrolled students began the week following GWU's announcement. Currently, students log on from nine different states. The school has been designed to meet the needs of students across the country, in addition to serving as a research opportunity for GWU's Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
The online school is targeted at teenagers who may have trouble in a traditional high school setting, like those with social disorders or children who have parents in the military and must frequently move from one school district to another. Yearly tuition falls just under $10,000 per student.
The school's curriculum will offer 100 different classes, at both standard and Advanced Placement level. GWU plans to actively monitor the program, while online education provider K12 will manage it and oversee the curriculum. K12 is the largest provider of online curriculum to schools across the country.
Like other high schools online, GWU's program utilizes standard online education methods like lectures and exams. Additionally, enrolled students will have the opportunity to participate in interaction like "interactive online class sessions, tutorials, and one-on-one discussions, as well as offline activities, including access to a summer enrichment program on GWU's campus." GWU officials believe that although the school is new, it will still provide its students with a thorough and balanced education.
Robert Ianacone, Associate Dean of GWU's Graduate School of Education and Human Development, said that "the online experience can enhance and enrich the high school experience" for students. He added that online students will maintain interaction with their teachers and counselors, in addition to support personnel who have been trained to run schools online. The program will also offer a career counseling service to help students make informed decisions about their future in higher education or what career might be best for them.
Like all schools online, GWU's program will benefit students by enabling them to use innovative technology that "reflects the way young people communicate in today's world." Graduate students will study the effects of education technology and online learning as the program grows and more students are enrolled. In time, this research will tell what works and what doesn't when it comes to schools online.
Ultimately, GWU has designed its program for motivated, independent students who want to attend one of the nation's top four-year colleges or universities. The curriculum aims to allow these students to develop crucial skills for college success like leadership and problem-solving, in addition to interpersonal communication.


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