Wayne State University study recommends expansion of e-learning for K-12 EducationSeptember 22, 2005
Michigan’s K-12 public school system must adapt to a changing world by moving away from the traditional learning environment within classrooms and school buildings, according to a newly released study, “Exploring E-Learning Reforms For Michigan: The New Education (R)evolution,” authored by Tom Watkins, Michigan’s former state schools’ superintendent.
“Today’s students increasingly expect a learning experience that is relevant, authentic and real. They require skills and knowledge that will enable success in a new world that is global, agile and entrepreneurial,” the report states.
To meet these demands, Michigan’s education, business, not for profit, legislative and executive leadership need to “engage their collective imaginations and energy to delivering quality learning that meets the needs of every Michigan resident.”
The report points out that technology, specifically e-learning, can assist in customizing the student’s learning experience. E-learning (electronic learning) covers a wide set of applications and processes such as Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms and digital collaboration. It includes the delivery of content via Internet, intranet/extranet (LAN/WAN).
Paula Wood, dean of Wayne State’s College of Education (COE), says the college has been at the forefront of technological advancements on behalf of both faculty and students - the teachers of tomorrow. “Our faculty has been developing and implementing ways to integrate the use of technology into the college’s curriculum and offering Web-based courses. We also have provided iBooks to our faculty and preservice teachers – the latter group representing our students who will eventually enter the field as teachers,” Wood says.
The six-month study was funded under a contract from Michigan Virtual University (MVU) to Wayne State University. MVU operates the Michigan Virtual High School (MVHS), the second largest virtual K-12 focused school in the United States. Public Act 230 of 2000 authorized the implementation of the MVHS. Since its inception, the MVHS has provided more than 20,000 enrollments in online courses and more than 125,000 enrollments in an online test review tool such as MEAP, ACT, SAT or PSAT.
The study provides 29 major recommendations designed to further develop and enhance e-learning in Michigan’s K-12 public school system. Reforms were offered following meetings with hundreds of stakeholders that included superintendents, technical experts, teachers, business leaders, students, administrators, teachers and others interested in expanding learning opportunities for Michigan’s students.
A sampling of recommended reforms include:
• Michigan should mandate that every high school student takes at least one e-learning course as a graduation requirement.
• A technology impact statement should be written providing a thorough assessment of how technology may reduce the need for “bricks and mortar” prior to new school building construction.
• If a high school fails to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind Act, they must, as part of their school improvement plan, conduct an analysis to examine the uses of e-learning and consider converting partially or entirely to a virtual school using e-learning as a centerpiece for school reform.
• The Legislature should require teachers to pass an “integrating technology skills” assessment for licensure.
• The Michigan Department of Education, MVU, intermediate school districts and other partners should collaboratively seek funding to review the proposed online MEAP testing and move toward full implementation as soon as possible.
Wayne State University is a premier institution of higher education offering more than 350 academic programs through 11 schools and colleges to more than 33,000 students in metropolitan Detroit.
An electronic copy of the report can be accessed at http://www.coe.wayne.edu/e-learningreport.pdf
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