Skip to main content

Benefits and Barriers of Online Learning from "The District Goes Digital" Webinar

Last month, I attended an informative webinar called "The District Goes Digital: Leveraging Online Learning for Broader Student Achievement." The main presentation focused on Falcon School District 49, a geographically large district near Colarado Springs, CO. This troubled district brought in Kim McClelland as an assistant superintendent of online learning to help move their educational offerings into the digital world. During the webinar, McClelland shared many of her successes and some of the barriers she faced during this traditional district's transition to blended and online learning.

Before the District could remedy the problems present in its public education system, Falcon had to take a candid look at what their needs really were. The district was losing students to other schools and therefore also losing some of their tax base. As a result, the education issues that already existed were compounded by financial shortfalls. Luckily, the switch to online learning helped resolve the problems of underfunding, overcrowding, all while accommodating for an innovative restructing of the district's education model. As a result, the district's students were able to benefit academically given the increased freedom, flexibility, and autonomy that go along with online learning.

While the issues affecting Falcon are not the same as those affecting Kamehameha Schools, a look at Falcon School District's experience does result in some interesting ideas that could be applied to the changes occurring here at KS. The classrooms are not overcrowded at KS, but there is an institutional drive to increase enrollment while keeping cost per student stable. Kim McClelland suggests that online/blended learning can be a viable space-creating alternative when adding more physical classrooms is not an option. Furthermore, McClelland pointed out that resistance and misconceptions among stakeholders are bound to happen in any school transitioning to online learning. As ISC works towards creating future online courses, we must understand the importance of anticipating these barriers and proactively working to overcome them.

Towards the close of her presentation, McClelland offered the following solutions for creating a sustainable online school. First, there should be a three-to-five year plan in place and a consistent vision across top school administrators. Devoting adequate time and resources to stakeholder training is also a key component and should happen at the beginning of each semester. Also, the idea that online learning will save money is not necessarily true. As with any large organizational change, the addition of new support staff and reallocation of physical space is necessary.

There were many other tidbits on online learning offered during this webinar, but overall "The District Goes Digital" helped to reconfirm that KS is on the right track with its educational vision. That said, there are still challenges ahead and we would do well to take some of the lessons from Falcon School District 49 to heart.


Popular posts from this blog

E pule kakou . . .

Aloha all,
I was trying to think so hard of a "techie" tip and finally gave up. I even googled "tips and tricks" for various programs and then thought "I can't blog about something I don't actually use!" Then, as I was sitting in my Papa Makua class, doing all kinds of protocal and thought about how we keep looking for a short pule to do to open our meetings. I had `A`ali`i write a pule in Hawaiian. He was worried about the grammar and structure of it so I asked Kelly C. to kökua by editing and doing an audio recording so you can hear the pronunciation. Hope it's helpful :)

E ho`omalu käkou
E kö mäkou makua i loko o ka lani
Mahalo no nä pömaika`i a pau. Mahalo no ke ali`i lokomaika`i o Pauahi a me këia kula nei. E `olu`olu, e kia`i iä mäkou i ke alahele küpono me ka lökahi.
Ke nonoi ha`aha`a nei mäkou i ka inoa o Iesu Cristo

`Unuhi (translation):
Let us pray
Our Father in heaven
Thank you for all the many blessings. Thank you for the generous Pri…

Papa Kuʻi ʻai a me Pohaku

As part of our huakaʻi last month to Papahana Kuaola and the opportunity to work in the loʻi, I wanted to continue that thought by sharing my experience of making a papa kuʻi 'ai (poi-pounding board).

In 2008 with the encouragement from me and my co-worker, Pili Wong, Earl Kawaʻa offered to teach a papa kuʻi ʻai papa to those of us that were interested in learning what our kūpuna did as a daily way of life. For our kūpuna they had loʻi in their yards and grew their own kalo, the major source of starch in their diet. They steamed it and pounded poi or kept it whole and sliced it and ate it like bread with butter or condensed milk.

Kawaʻa was very specific on our kuleana and the commitment he required of us. Our first task was to find an au koʻi (handle) for our koʻi (adze tool). I found myself suddenly looking up at every tree I saw looking for the right branch for my koʻi. My husband found mine at a jobsite from a Haole Koa tree otherwise known as the Leucaena Leucocephala tree. I…

Blackboard World 2008: The Power of Web 2.0

I thought I'd share a couple of Web 2.0 tools that came from a presentation that I went to at Bb World this past July that was titled "The Power of Web 2.0." The presenter was a high school teacher in a San Diego public school. She described many free tools and how she used them in her class. A couple that I thought were intersting were ToonDoo (creates comic strips and is the basis of their social network) and (creates mind maps). The great thing is that it's free, platform independent and no software installs. The presenter also gave her web site that lists even more Web 2.0 tools. You don't need an account to try out, though it does require an account for ToonDoo. I created a generic account for ToonDoo, username "vsdl", password "vsdl2008". I know mapping software is used in some of the 'Ike Hawai'i courses so maybe this would be a useful alternative. As for ToonDoo, at the very least it's entertainin…