New National School Boards Foundation Study Indicates Growing Potential For Online Learning
Although the study indicates that technology is still underused and the Internet is still viewed primarily as a research tool, district leaders interviewed believe that use of the Internet is growing and that students will soon receive a substantial part of their instruction online. The study emphasizes the growing importance of the Internet in teaching and learning, and recommends that schools focus on expanding its use.
“The National School Boards Foundation plays an important role in identifying and advocating key strategies for schools and districts, and PLATO Learning is committed to supporting that effort,” said John Super, Vice President Strategic Planning. “This survey helps solidify the critical issues important for educators, communities and parents everywhere.”
The new study also emphasizes that professional development is a requirement of successful technology and Internet integration. Forty-three percent of those surveyed rate new teachers currently as “average” in integrating the Internet into instruction, but 63 percent indicate that they are providing Internet-based staff development. In support of this finding, PLATO Learning has recently established a new division, TeachMaster Professional Services Group, to provide schools with flexible staff development options focused on online standards-based instruction.
Looking to the future, district leaders emphasize the importance of standards-based resources and report cards, online assessment and test preparation, and web-based portfolios. These capabilities are central to the PLATO Learning family of online accountability products — PLATO Web Learning Network, PLATO Link and NetSchools Orion.
The report suggests important guidelines for making the most of technology and technology budgets: treat technology as an integral tool, use the Internet for core educational projects, anticipate and plan for change, invest significantly in professional development, and broaden community involvement.