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Can Computers Replace Classrooms?[K12 hires lobbyists contributes to politicians back school choice]
TheFiscalTimes ^ | November 27, 2011 | By LYNDSEY LAYTON and EMMA BROWN, The Washington Post

Posted on 11/27/2011 6:32:17 PM PST by fight_truth_decay

A Virginia company leading a national movement to replace classrooms with computers — in which children as young as 5 can learn at home at taxpayer expense — is facing a backlash from critics who are questioning its funding, quality and oversight.

K12 Inc. of Herndon has become the country’s largest provider of full-time public virtual schools, upending the traditional American notion that learning occurs in a schoolhouse where students share the experience. In K12’s virtual schools, learning is largely solitary, with lessons delivered online to a child who progresses at her own pace.

Conceived as a way to teach a small segment of the home-schooled and others who need flexible schooling, virtual education has evolved into an alternative to traditional public schools for an increasingly wide range of students — high achievers, strugglers, dropouts, teenage parents and victims of bullying among them.

“For many kids, the local school doesn’t work,” said Ronald J. Packard, chief executive and founder of K12. “And now, technology allows us to give that child a choice. It’s about educational liberty.”

Packard and other education entrepreneurs say they are harnessing technology to deliver quality education to any child, regardless of Zip code.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: homeschool; k12inc; learning; schoolchoice; teaching; virtualschools

1 posted on 11/27/2011 6:32:32 PM PST by fight_truth_decay
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To: fight_truth_decay

I think it will work for some, but not others.

I think I would have functioned very well under this system myself.

2 posted on 11/27/2011 6:35:35 PM PST by Jonty30 (If a person won't learn under the best of times, than he must learn under the worst of times.)
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To: fight_truth_decay
An Old-Fashioned Education is a website that features dozens of online resources that support a traditional curriculum.
3 posted on 11/27/2011 6:37:11 PM PST by Fiji Hill
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To: fight_truth_decay

K12 is an excellent homeschool program and was created by Bill Bennet.

4 posted on 11/27/2011 6:42:46 PM PST by mockingbyrd
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To: Jonty30

Australia, which historically is one of the first countries to provide any form of distance correspondence learning, is considered a trendsetter pertaining to the development of virtual schooling and already has dozens of policies, regulations, and requirements that any online course which wishes to operate must follow and meet. (Chien, 2002).

Massachusetts’ First Virtual Schoo
Story Updated: Sep 7, 2011
Josh Heffner’s favorite school lesson in recent memory didn’t involve using a book or sitting at a desk. Instead, he was dressed up in an oversized button-down shirt, his hair styled all wild and crazy. He was a mad scientist, working with his mom in his family’s kitchen-turned-lab. “I did a little experiment with super hot water and super cold water, to see which dissolved salt,” the 7-year-old from Greenfield explains. “That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?” Josh’s mom says he happily did science projects for most of the day and then completed a lab sheet about them - on the Internet.

“Cool” is a good place to be for a second-grader who had his share of struggles, including frequent disciplining, during more than three years of traditional school. Josh has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,—129407103.html

5 posted on 11/27/2011 6:43:24 PM PST by fight_truth_decay
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To: Jonty30
Computer conferencing for classroom participation combined with tutoring accomplish the same task as the obsolete school system at a tiny fraction of the cost.
6 posted on 11/27/2011 6:43:45 PM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: fight_truth_decay

7 posted on 11/27/2011 6:44:57 PM PST by LomanBill (Animals! The DemocRats blew up the windmill with an Acorn!)
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To: MrEdd

What would attract me to computerized teaching is the idea of studying something until you have total mastery over a subject.

That is not doable under a system where an education system is set up like a factory floor of continuously moving parts.

8 posted on 11/27/2011 6:50:40 PM PST by Jonty30 (If a person won't learn under the best of times, than he must learn under the worst of times.)
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To: fight_truth_decay

Back in the day when I went to school, the teacher threw erasers at our heads if we were not concentrating. Can a computer do that? Having a chalk-filled eraser hit the back of your head gets your attention! (Guess they don’t do that nowadays.)

9 posted on 11/27/2011 7:00:45 PM PST by roadcat
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To: roadcat

A computer can’t throw erasers, but it certainly can erase all your game files if you’re not doing the work.

10 posted on 11/27/2011 7:15:03 PM PST by Jonty30 (If a person won't learn under the best of times, than he must learn under the worst of times.)
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To: fight_truth_decay

Many boys must be forced to learn,,,,
Many girls won’t learn even if you force them..
Classrooms have their place...

11 posted on 11/27/2011 7:29:14 PM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
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To: Fiji Hill; fight_truth_decay
An Old-Fashioned Education
looks pretty good!
But for math, I'm enamored with Free, and a serious attempt at fully exploiting the capabilities of the Internet to make an educational tool. Short lectures on YouTube, computerized drill and practice, full support for the teacher to know exactly where any given student is, and where his/her problems lie. And a merit badge approach to motivating and encouraging students.
Khan's ambition is to provide free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere, over the web. And not just grammar school and high school, either . . .

12 posted on 11/27/2011 7:43:55 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (DRAFT PALIN)
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To: fight_truth_decay; mockingbyrd
We put six kids through the public system with not so great results. While we were preparing our youngest, (7th) for kindergarten roundup we were also contemplating home schooling him. The brick and mortar school discouraged us six ways to Sunday to enroll him into kindergarten as they felt he was socially immature. He has Asperger’s Syndrome. We did not want to hold him back as he was intellectually ready.

A friend told us about a new charter school, The Ohio Virtual Academy. They use the K12 curriculum. We attended a seminar and were impressed with the curriculum. Like home schoolers, we are the teachers. We have lead teachers who monitor our progress. We still are responsible for state testing. It costs Ohio 1/3 to 1/2 of what public school costs to educate him. We have the option and are encouraged to attend field trips. We are in our 10th year with OHVA/K12. Our son is now in 9th grade. We have to adhere to tighter deadlines and due dates and his lesson plan is heavy. We also have more virtual classes than in the past. To that end, he is also interacting more and making friends with other kids.

We get push back as home schoolers do about social interaction. We tell people that once a month we take him out back to kick his butt and steal his lunch money so he can feel like he's in regular school.

13 posted on 11/27/2011 8:11:11 PM PST by 4mybiz
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To: fight_truth_decay

Public school @ home

Interesting idea. I know someone who tried it, they liked it. It let them go at their own pace.

I think online home schools, with this public school online thing as competition, could be a wave of the future.

14 posted on 11/27/2011 8:27:31 PM PST by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: fight_truth_decay
Better that they replace undergraduate university education.
15 posted on 11/27/2011 8:29:07 PM PST by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who belong in jail.)
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To: 4mybiz


16 posted on 11/27/2011 8:31:15 PM PST by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: fight_truth_decay
While I don't think virtual schooling is for everyone, I'd like to see it more available as an option. Children have a tremendous range of learning abilities and styles, and they live in a variety of circumstances. Cyber school could be a much safer option for children living in dangerous neighborhoods, and it could save a lot of travel time for students living in remote areas.

I've taken online courses as an adult, and I've also taken adult education courses in more traditional classrooms. While I found the convenience of online learning quite helpful, I also found the experience somewhat limiting. Interacting with cyber-classmates and a teacher I've never met just didn't do much for me. Classroom discussion and direct interaction with people are more nuanced and complex. In my experience, I learned more than what was on the syllabus, retained it better, and enjoyed it more when the course was taught in class.

Education isn't a one-size fits all process. Trying different approaches is, I think, a good thing. It's important though, that parents have good information on which to base decisions for their children.

17 posted on 11/27/2011 8:54:10 PM PST by Think free or die
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To: Trillian

something for toots etc?

18 posted on 11/27/2011 9:03:23 PM PST by Conservative4Life (Those who don't learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. Elections have consequences.)
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To: MrEdd
Wasn't there a politician way back in the early 90's who suggested providing laptops to children so they could access all the rich learning resources coming available? Just can't place the name off hand. All the wise-guys mocked him for the idea

Oh well, someone will remember.

19 posted on 11/27/2011 9:36:17 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Think free or die

Now imagine the worlds this opens for a deaf kid. :)

I survived and did quite well under the public school system.

But, I would have chosen to do this method in a heartbeat. I could have got all my qualifications FAR more cheaply. There is no reason for education to cost as much as it does, and I have found that my career resides firmly on the private side of the system, helping kids out for a fraction of the cost of the public schools.

Give me 20 hours and I can get anyone up to speed.

20 posted on 11/27/2011 9:53:21 PM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: BenKenobi

Deaf kid or youngster with physical impairments. Lots of reasons this would work better for some individuals. The more options the better. Totally agree.

21 posted on 11/27/2011 10:03:32 PM PST by Think free or die
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To: Think free or die
Deaf kid or youngster with physical impairments. Lots of reasons this would work better for some individuals. The more options the better. Totally agree.

Or a kid that needs more than the schools can offer. Our daughter will be doing WAVA ... the virtural school partnership with K12 and the state of Washington next year when she starts middle school. At the end of 2nd grade she tested at 8th grade reading and 7th grade math, so they let her skip 3rd grade. She is now in 5th and the teacher is "letting" her do the 6th grade curriculum by herself in class ... great for a girl who tested at 7th grade over a year ago.

I am looking forward to WAVA where they test the kids before they start to figure out what grade to put them in in each subject, and let them go at their own pace. It will be liberating. Her twin brother is doing fine in the public school system (we live in an area of educational throwbacks).

Her older brother did a K12/Aventa health class because the class did not fit in his schedule, and is doing AP physics now because the school did not offer it. I am thoroughly pleased with their system There is another company, DreamBox learning that is doing amazing things with remedial math for schools that can't figure out what to do with some of these kids. I have a freind whose school is using it and it is amazing! It is catching kids up that are even years behind very quickly. So much for brick and mortar ... this computer program is doing such a better job, and for way less money!

22 posted on 11/27/2011 10:34:50 PM PST by lkco
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To: fight_truth_decay
My wife is a director in one of the first cyber schools. It's a cash cow. School districts turn over the cash they get to teach a student for a year. The cyber school has none of the bricks and mortar expense and leverages the teacher to student ratio. Administrative costs are minimal.

School districts hate them for their success. Their students aren't all successful, but many of them are superlative.

23 posted on 11/27/2011 11:00:56 PM PST by Glenn (
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To: GeronL

Our county recently had a public school superintendent who resigned saying that the wave of the future is on-line classes and he wanted to be involved with it.

Ten years from now we’ll see all those school buildings turned into condominiums.

24 posted on 11/28/2011 6:44:20 AM PST by goldi (')
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To: hinckley buzzard
Seymour PapertWorks by Papert.

In the sixties, this MIT professor carried out educational projects on every continent, some of them in remote villages in developing countries. Papert holds a role in developing influential cutting-edge opportunities for children to participate in the digital world. Papert lives in Maine, where he has founded a small laboratory called the Learning Barn. He is is credited with inspiring the first initiative aimed at giving a personal computer to every student of a state. He spends a large part of his time working in the Maine Youth Center in Portland, the state's facility for teenagers convicted of serious offenses.

In late 1999 and early 2000 a one-time state surplus enabled Maine [Gov. King] to make the dramatic step of announcing a plan to equip all of its middle school students and teachers with a personal learning device-- June 2009 that it placed an order for more than 64,000 MacBooks for students and faculty in grades 7 through 12, and would be placing an additional order for up to 7,000 more laptops in the coming weeks

10 years after laptops come to Maine schools, educators say technology levels playing field for students

9. Are homeschoolers eligible to receive laptops through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative?
This program is not available to homeschooled students.

25 posted on 11/28/2011 6:48:16 AM PST by fight_truth_decay
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