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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Arizona online schools are rapidly expanding enrollment

Anne Ryman and Pat Kossan writes, "Online classes are expanding rapidly in Arizona's public schools, reshaping the way children learn all the way down to kindergarten."

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More K-12 Arizona students are trading in the traditional campus experience for learning by computer at home any time of day or night. The number of students in Arizona-approved online schools has more than tripled over the past six years. Nearly 36,000 students, or about 3 percent of public-school students in the state, took at least one online course in 2010-11.

The growth is being greeted with a mix of hope and alarm. Online education, a staple at colleges for years, holds a lot of promise because it strips away the limits of fixed time and place for school. It allows students in any place to be taught at any time, and at their own pace. It uses e-mail, chats, video, audio and animated graphics to engage. A dull lecture can become a compelling interactive lesson.
Nationwide, online learning is still an experiment. Research is relatively sparse about what works and for whom. That hasn't stopped Arizona from throwing the doors wide open, approving dozens of new online K-12 charter-school and district programs in recent years.

Source: AZ