iNACOL, the International Association for Online Learning held an excellent seminar at ALEC on the future of education. The facts are pretty stunning on the numbers for online learning here and abroad.
It is well known that we are falling behind in K12 because other countries are moving so much faster than we are. What you may not know, and I certainly didn't know, is that this is especially true in online learning where developing nations are using online to rapidly, and dramatically, increase access to education for all their students.
Consider these facts:
• In the US we have gone from 50,000 online students in 2000 to over 1,000,000 in 2008 which sounds pretty good until you read the others
• The European Union put all of the International Baccalaureate courses online to increase access across the 26 million students there
• China has digitize the entire K-12 curriculum and is working on improving internet access. They expect over 100,000,000 new online students in the next 10 years
• India would need to build over 200,000 schools to provide education for all students. Instead they have worked with Educomp to digitize their curriculum and train teachers to provide online learning - this will provide an education to tens of millions of students in the coming years
• Turkey completed building out their online K12 curriculum and have gone from no online students to 15,000,000 online students in just three years
Yet, the NEA got the Wisconsin courts to close the online school in that state. The parents had to fight back and get the legislature to reopen the school. I just started reading Liberating Learning by Moe and Chubb. They talk about how easy it is for the unions to block reforms that might hurt members even if it would help kids. Anyone who has fought to pass education reforms will appreciate this line from the book:
“The American political system is literally designed, therefore, to make blocking – and thus preserving the status quo – far easier than taking positive action.”
Online education is coming in a big way. The current university and K12 systems are not moving fast enough because of resistance from the status quo. But they must change or they will be obsolete in the coming years. More to come on this.