After a couple of intense days at the T+L Conference, one thing is clear: the future of school includes some online courses. That’s not to take anything away from teachers, or their ability to help our children learn and grow… but the way that’s accomplished is going to change.
It has to. Already, schedule compression (more and more requirements, no more hours in the day) has reached the point where some students are forced to give things up, in order to fulfill requirements. Once example of that is that Gamma will have to take economics next year, and to do so during the school day, she’ll either have to give up Orchestra (which she’s been in since 4th grade), or German IV (necessary for her to be able to take the AP test, which she very much wants to do), or Calculus (not an option).
I don’t consider any of those to be an acceptable trade-off, so I’m exploring the possibility of enrolling her in an online course through Roane State, which she could hopefully do over the Summer.
I don’t know, but I’d be willing to bet that there are quite a few students faced with giving up something they’ve invested years in. The reality is, you can’t take four years of a foreign language AND be in the band, orchestra, art, career academies, or any number of valuable classes, and still meet all the graduation requirements.
What if we could offer online courses, to be completed at home, for things like Economics, Government, Personal Finance (a new requirement beginning next year), Wellness A (essentially, what we used to call "Health") and such? Those are pretty standard classes, which most students could learn independently with the right online curriculum.
Further, what if we could waive the PE requirements (currently one semester, going up to two semesters next year) for those students who are part of school athletic teams, who already put in at least the same number of hours?
Next year, two more courses will be required for graduation (Personal Finance and PE). In my opinion, we need to do something this year to prevent the schedule compression from getting worse.
There are already a lot of online courses developed that adhere to our State standards. Partnering with community colleges, such as Roane State, is another option.
I’ve gathered a lot of information, which I’ll link to in another post (when I can have all my papers and wireless access in the same place). But for now, what do you think?