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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida Board of Education to take up digital learning ideas

Florida continues its push to take public education virtual this week as the State Board of Education takes up recommendations from its "digital learning" task force.

The stated goal remains to make students more competitive by bringing schooling into the 21st century through use of the technology that plays a large role in both students' lives and the world of work. Questions surely will arise, though, considering there's been little research showing that online education and heavy reliance on tech tools makes a huge difference in results.

And critics likely will find room to raise red flags that some recommendations seem to lead to an erosion of classroom based learning. These include:

  • Allow students to take computerized end-of-course exams when they are ready, regardless of when the course ends, and then to fund schools for completion regardless of whether the student is in class.
  • Eliminate class-size requirements for classes that blend online and classroom learning. Create more class-size flexibility to move to the competency-based (rather than seat-based) model.
  • Make provisions for schools to convert to charter status to transition to online or blended learning models.

Other ideas up for consideration include:

  • Creating a state "cloud" for districts to use.
  • Helping schools formulate a "bring your own device" policy to help bolster school-owned technology. Assistance would be provided for low-income families to assure access.
  • Setting updated procedures for approving and securing digital materials.
  • Providing training for teachers in how to use the materials and technology.

See the full list of recommendations here. The State Board meets Tuesday and Wednesday in Tampa. What would be your recommendations to the members with regard to its digital learning initiative?

[Last modified: Monday, May 7, 2012 6:35am]


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