Digital learning, the use of computers and the internet to study courses taught in the classroom, is viewed by many educators as a breakthrough to helping those at-risk students stay in school and earn their diplomas. The flexibility afforded by digital learning, with students working on their own time at their own pace, is a way for students to meet the requirements of their courses while handling pressing responsibilities outside of school, problems at home or personal issues. Yet parents should scrutinize digital programs closely. Their quality and effectiveness vary widely. Students are poorly served by point-and-click assessments with no engagement, virtual schools with videos instead of real teachers and programs without pacing and scheduling support.
About Julie Young
Julie Young is Vice President of Education Outreach at ASU and Managing Director of ASU Prep Digital. Julie is passionate about students and is focused on leveraging technology to provide them with new opportunities. Prior to joining ASU Prep Digital, she was the founding CEO and president of the Florida Virtual School, the world’s first virtual statewide school district and one of the nation’s largest and most influential K through 12 online education providers. During her tenure, the school served over 2 million students in 50 states and 68 countries.
Entries by Julie Young
After schools closed in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students, families and teachers had to shift learning from in-class to online. But the switch to remote learning was hasty and disorganized in many school districts. Families struggled with the technology and coordinating schedules at home, while teachers tried to shift the in-person model to teaching through a computer. The dissatisfaction caused many families to believe that the remote learning they were experiencing was what takes place in full-time virtual schools. In fact the two are much different. This report includes information on how to distinguish between questionable and quality virtual programs.
This report by Pioneer Institute and ASU Prep Digital addresses the problem that school closures due to COVID-19 have separated more than seven million K-12 special needs students from support they receive in the classroom, and shows how online learning can be appropriate for most of those students if teachers and parents work as a team to provide each one with what he or she needs.
This new Pioneer Institute and ASU Prep Digital policy brief offers five important considerations for schools and districts dealing with the shift to online education in response to COVID-19.