Virginia, Mass. Districts on Cutting Edge

Many new e-learning tools — such as classroom Web discussion sites, some online classes and recorded seminars — are among the electronic advancements being made this year at Newport News (Va.) and Lunenburg (Mass.) schools.

In Newport News:

>> Fifty-four classes are available through the Desire2Learn online portal, which allows teachers to post class notes, syllabi, questions for discussion and contact information. Teachers can even post an entire textbook on their portal site if they have a license to do so.

>> Distance-learning courses and credit-recovery programs.

>> Wikis and other communications sites and blogs for students.

>> Blogs to share information among administrators, faculty and staff.

>> Electronic readers like Kindle instead of textbooks and handouts.

>> Online field trip programs and virtual internships for students who want to explore career fields.

In Lunenburg, about 25 high school students will join other students from around the world in the Virtual High School Program, which provides students the option of joining one of more than 200 online courses each semester.

Courses include oceanography, nuclear physics, advanced Web design and the history of ancient Rome. Students can also sign up for advanced-placement courses not offered at the high school.

Carol Arnold, a spokesperson for Virtual High School, said the company began in 1996 as a pilot program in Massachusetts funded through a federal grant: “The program was extremely successful, and VHS eventually broke off into its own entity.”

The company, based in Maynard, serves more than 500 middle and high schools in 30 states and 34 countries. About 11,000 students are enrolled in the program this semester. Typical courses include students from two or three different countries. For more information, visit the Website www.govhs.org.

Many new e-learning tools — such as classroom Web discussion sites, some online classes and recorded seminars — are among the electronic advancements being made this year at Newport News (Va.) and Lunenburg (Mass.) schools.

In Newport News:

>> Fifty-four classes are available through the Desire2Learn online portal, which allows teachers to post class notes, syllabi, questions for discussion and contact information. Teachers can even post an entire textbook on their portal site if they have a license to do so.

>> Distance-learning courses and credit-recovery programs.

>> Wikis and other communications sites and blogs for students.

>> Blogs to share information among administrators, faculty and staff.

>> Electronic readers like Kindle instead of textbooks and handouts.

>> Online field trip programs and virtual internships for students who want to explore career fields.

In Lunenburg, about 25 high school students will join other students from around the world in the Virtual High School Program, which provides students the option of joining one of more than 200 online courses each semester.

Courses include oceanography, nuclear physics, advanced Web design and the history of ancient Rome. Students can also sign up for advanced-placement courses not offered at the high school.

Carol Arnold, a spokesperson for Virtual High School, said the company began in 1996 as a pilot program in Massachusetts funded through a federal grant: “The program was extremely successful, and VHS eventually broke off into its own entity.”

The company, based in Maynard, serves more than 500 middle and high schools in 30 states and 34 countries. About 11,000 students are enrolled in the program this semester. Typical courses include students from two or three different countries. For more information, visit the Website www.govhs.org.

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