Online classes give students a digital edge
- Summer school for students in California’s West Sonoma County Union High School District is now entirely online starting this year, a financial decision that shaved costs down by half.
- Students will be able to test out of lessons they don’t need, letting them finish more quickly — in some cases in two weeks instead of six, wrote The Press Democrat.
- The savings will be used to boost budgets at schools with a higher enrollment of English language learners and students from low-income families.
Summer school is the punishment no child wants — forced to sit in a classroom during the warm months, as friends swim, bike and play outside. Shifting summer courses online — either remedial classes or electives — may help school districts save money (always appealing to budget-strapped educational departments), but also let children have some fun, without missing out on the extra learning they need.
Knowing how to even take an online class is a digital skill itself, one every student should master, as the likelihood of them taking an internet-based course at some point in their education is growing. The number of students enrolled in some kind of distance learning course in college increased from 29.8% in the fall of 2015 to 31.7% in the fall of 2016, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.
Virtual classes may not only save K-12 schools money, but help students when they head off to college. The median debt load after finishing an undergraduate degree is $25,000, according to Pew Research Center. K-12 students who are comfortable in an online classroom environment, may be better prepared to handle online lessons if they choose to further their education, and potentially save money on their education.
- The Press Democrat West County school district makes the switch to online summer learning