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Articles: Virtual

President Barack Obama, education technology funding, 2013 budget

Federal technology funding for K12 school districts has been integrated into various other funding streams. According to Karen Cator, director of the Office of Educational Technology for the Education Department, the technology marketplace will subsequently be more efficient in addressing various school and student needs in the coming school year.

EverNote

Keep notes and much more on a variety of synced devices, including tablets,

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GoodReader

This application by Good.iWare Ltd. allows you to annotate PDF files.

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Google Docs

This set of productivity tools is hosted in the cloud by Google.

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iAnnotate

PresenceLearning

There is a shortage across the nation of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in schools, which has caused some districts to choose virtual speech therapy, which, according to current research from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), a professional association for SLPs, can be as effective as traditional speech therapy.

Like most districts, the Camdenton (Mo.) R-III School District has filtering software to block content deemed inappropriate for students. Until recently, however, Camdenton was blocking Web sites geared toward supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. On Feb. 15, a federal district court ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a lawsuit filed in August 2011 on behalf of a Camdenton student.

First-ever national Digital Learning Day on Feb. 1 attracted participation from 39 states, 15,000 teachers and 1.7 million students . – Alliance for Excellent Education (2012)

When Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools opened its state-of-the-art campus in 2007, A+ Anywhere Learning System by K12 was a major part of the landscape. Within four years, the elementary building’s “School Improvement Status”—assigned by the Ohio Department of Education because of poor student performance—was replaced with “Excellent,” and the district received its first-ever “Excellent with Distinction,” the state’s highest rating.

For a Colorado public school system bursting at the seams during a crippling economy, online education has been key.

“We are a very crowded school district struggling to pass bonds,” said David Knoche, principal of Falcon Virtual Academy in Colorado Springs. “Falcon Virtual has provided us some real options to deal with outgrowing our buildings while keeping students moving forward academically.”

Nearly half the 31,000 students in Tennessee’s Clarksville-Montgomery County School System live in poverty. Nearly a fourth are military dependents, given the close proximity to Fort Campbell. Together, these factors present a big challenge for educators.

The district’s 39 percent mobility rate means a regular stream of new students, many of whom arrive with incomplete courses, learning issues or achievement gaps.

Whether a student has just moved into town with his military family or is finding her way after a misstep in school, Aventa Learning by K12 products are easing the way in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.

It’s not unusual for parents to call Laura Belnap in tears over the Utah-based virtual school she oversees. And that’s a good thing.

“Parents are constantly emailing or calling us crying, thanking us for the support, and sharing stories of their children’s educational growth,” said Belnap, director of Washington Online School Utah.

Distance learning has come a long way from sending coursework back and forth through the mail. Leading the way is K12, Inc., whose innovative online learning programs are helping school districts meet the challenges of 21st-century education with 21st-century tools.

For instance, home-schooled students at Washington Online School Utah use K12 products to attend elementary, middle and high school classes without interrupting their sports training or other responsibilities.

Netbooks Replace Smartphones
Watkins Glen (N.Y.) Central School District

Back in December 2009, Watkins Glen Central School District in Garnerville, N.Y., gave smartphones to 200 fifth- and seventh-graders and 20 teachers in three schools. Two years later, this small pilot program has transitioned away from mobile phones to a one-to-one netbook program for all 850 pupils in grades 5-12. According to Superintendent Tom Philips, the HP Pavilion netbook is more educationally appropriate for Watkins Glen than tablets or mobile phones.  

Of American teens, 78 percent have broadband Internet at home, while 62 percent of all Americans have broadband at home.
—Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project

The increasing incorporation of digital materials and resources into school and district portals and repositories has given rise in recent years to a new focus on the issue of identity management in K12 education.

Clintondale (Mich.) Community Schools’ high school has turned the traditional school day upside-down by asking teachers to assign short video lectures as homework and have students do activities, participate in discussions and complete assignments in class, with their teacher at hand to answer questions.

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