I have to present to my school district's Head of Curriculum and Superintendent why the district I teach in needs to incorporate distant learning. Most of the students are at risk, 50% drop out of high school and the poverty level is high. I need to sell the idea of online learning and how these students can benefit from it. Any resources you can provide me would be very helpful. I have been working very hard at integrating online learning and technology into my classroom, now I need to get these methods implemented into the schools, so this might be my big break. Thank you for your help. You can email me personally at sirotiak02@aol.com


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You mention "online learning" and "distance learning", to me these are 2 very different things.

I see "online learning" as a variety of things, using the internet for research, collaboration, publishing, etc. All as an addendum to, or in support of, traditional classroom work.

I see "distance learning" as taking the classroom completely to the internet in order to get students "in class" when they can not physically be there (things like Blackboard, LiveMeeting, WebEx, etc).

I mention this difference because I don't know if you are trying to get your Supt. to approve the use of web resources (blogs, wikis, etc) for engagement of you are trying to implement a new form of learning for your district with a virtual classroom environment.

Yes, the 2 are similar but I would equate "distance learning" to online classes like University of Phoenix and "online learning" to using the internet as a tool to enhance traditional classroom experience.

Either way I think the most effective way to do this is meet with them in the environment you are trying to sell them on. If it is bringing the class to someone who is unable to physically get to class have your meeting with something like Skype to show them the ease of closing that "distance". You could also create a public Google Doc that you edit with notes of your meeting while having the meeting, you give them access to the document and they can add thoughts too. This can strengthen the collaborative nature of the internet (without having to pay a WebEx or LiveMeeting fee).

If it is more about allowing student access to web tools, show them blogs, wikis, pages, etc that demonstrate effective teacher use of these tools. You said you have integrated these tools in your own class, so integrate them in to the meeting. Make the meeting an online learning experience.

Just some thoughts...
Hi Chris, thank you for your help. I meant virtual/distance learning. I am trying to show them the cost benefits of distance learning and how it can be used for credit recovery and enrichment. I teach in an inner city school district where many of our students drop out. We need to find another way to help these students.
Look at options like Blackboard (I've used in on the Graduate level, it is a pretty widely used platform in higher-ed) or ePals Learning Space for managed servies.

Moodle, and to a lesser extend Edmodo, could be viable options as well.

Research these platforms and present them all. If you feel the best bet for your district is a free option like Edmodo base the meeting around the platform, as if it were a class.



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