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Health Update

Online Learning Industry Spurred On by H1N1

Schools prepare for virus outbreak with at home learning resources

Online learning providers have long touted a variety of advantages of their solutions. But the H1N1 epidemic has given new reasons for schools to invest in such technology.

“We must make sure the learning continues if the flu virus spreads,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in August. “There need to be online resources for students to learn from home.” The International Association for K12 Online Learning has created a Web site of free resources to help districts design an online plan for dealing with the pandemic. “The recent outbreak of swine flu in schools has prompted the need for continuity of learning using online learning,” says Susan Patrick, president and CEO. “Online learning offers solutions for helping to prepare schools.”

There is no shortage of choices. Aventa Learning claims that its goal “is to support you in educating students throughout the flu season” by using its product as a “contingency plan.”

K12 describes its solutions as a “safe zone for an outbreak such as the flu.”

School Town assures administrators that “many technologies can help” address the virus, but that “online learning is the best approach.”

Learn360 CEO Chris Sanborn says the company’s online multimedia learning resource “has become increasingly useful in light of the H1N1 threat.”

Wimba has written a set of guidelines for schools “in response to the large number of customers that include the Wimba Collaboration Suite in their H1N1 pandemic preparedness plans.”

New Dimension Media announced that its new education video conferencing solution, Classroom LIVE , has “answered Secretary Duncan’s call for technology solutions to school closures.”

And SchoolCenter has added an online learning component because of the flu so that “teachers and students can stay connected using the Web site as a classroom environment.”