Virtual Schools and eLearning: Planning for Success
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Type of Work5 pages
conference papers and proceedings preprints
Citation of Original PublicationClark, Tom; Berge, Zane; Virtual Schools and eLearning: Planning for Success (2003);
RightsThis item is likely protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Unless on a Creative Commons license, for uses protected by Copyright Law, contact the copyright holder or the author.
Virtual schools are a rapidly growing phenomenon in American elementary and secondary (K-12) education. They are the latest and potentially the most controversial manifestation of the elearning revolution in schools. The terms "virtual high school" or "virtual school" are generally applied to any educational organization that offers K-12 courses through Internet-or Web-based methods (Clark, 2001). Virtual Schooling can be seen as part of a larger phenomenon, eLearning, a concept that is increasingly used in the K-12 environment to describe not only distance teaching and learning, but also the general use of educational and information technology in support of teaching and learning. The virtual schooling phenomenon is cresting several years after the maturation of eLearning in higher education, where there have been several highly publicized failures. Schools differ considerably from colleges in their funding mechanisms, student characteristics, policies, and other aspects. Excellent information about policy aspects of K-12 online schools has been provided by Blomeyer and his colleagues in sessions at the 2002 and 2003 Distance Teaching and Learning conferences. Based upon research and conversations with virtual schools, the first author developed a framework for describing virtual school initiatives through an initial study focusing on state-level efforts (Clark, 2000), and a second study looking at the full range of programs (Clark, 2001). The second study featured the first publicly available national survey of leading virtual schools. These studies and their frameworks have informed the planning efforts of several state-level virtual school efforts.