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Breaking away from tradition

As the world of online education continues to evolve, brick-and-mortar schools are incorporating digital curricula and virtual teachers into their classrooms in ways that have surprised even the advocates of the online education movement.

Once mostly catering to advanced students who educators believed had the motivation to pursue education online, virtual courses are growing in popularity for struggling students, too. And school districts and teachers that once felt threatened by the surge of online education are embracing the technology, often in a hybrid model that blends face-to-face learning with digital teaching and curricula.

The number of K-12 students using online courses rose to more than a million public school students during the 2007-08 school year. This represents a 47% increase from the previous year.

The following is research collected from the Sloan Consortium, a Needham, Mass.-based advocacy group for online education.

75% had one or more students enrolled in a fully online or blended course.

70% had one or more students enrolled in a fully online course.

41% had one or more students enrolled in a blend

66% of school districts with students enrolled in online or blended courses anticipate their online enrollments will grow.


Scholastic recognition

In a national survey, 40,000 of America's teachers identified five ways that we can address the challenges facing today's schools: 1) Establish clearer, tougher academic standards, common across all 50 states. 2) Use multiple measures for student performance. 3) Innovate to reach today's students. 4) Provide supportive leadership to teachers. 5) Bridge school and home with online education to raise student achievement.

Students are different learners than they were ten years ago. Education is what needs to change. Students today can't learn the same way their predecessor's did. To reach today's students, they must see the real world importance of a lesson. One way to do this, teachers say, is to go beyond textbooks - using technology and other materials to keep students engaged.

Teachers understand the big picture. They recognize that in addition to high-quality curriculum and instructional materials, students also need a culture and community of support to raise achievement levels and build a sustainable culture of learning at home, in the community, and in the classroom. We at OLK12 hope that our platform would be able to accomodate each and every one of these needs.