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[seul-edu] ** TRAINING: Online Charter School Ready To Open

I got this item from a recent mail offering news on hot technology topics.
I thought it might be of interest to a few folks on this list.


Copyright 2001 CMP Media. A service of InformationWeek.
** TRAINING: Online Charter School Ready To Open

"It's become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed
our humanity," said Albert Einstein. But every week new
technologies and new uses for existing technologies challenge
that assertion. E-learning, traditionally associated with
corporate training, IT certification, and college-level distance
learning, has been making its way into public schools for some
time--but always at a price. Through a partnership with content
provider Elrn Inc., infrastructure company Vobix Corp., and the
state of Pennsylvania, the nation's first online public charter
school, Einstein Academy, will open Sept. 11, with an enrollment
of 2,000 students.

Merrill Lynch projects the K-12 E-learning market to reach $7
billion by 2003. But the idea to start an online public school
originated with a mother who watched one of her seven children
spend much of his first two years in the intensive care unit,
giving her and her husband an inside view of long-term pediatric
care that changed the course of her career. "We saw a world of
needs for children to have continuity in education while they're
sick--especially children who are living in isolation units,"
says Mimi Rothschild, author of educational books.

While the school is open to any Pennsylvania student, it's
drawing strong interest from kids who can't go to, or aren't
likely to succeed in, a traditional classroom: disabled children,
children in juvenile detention, pregnant teens, and children in
long-term hospitalization. It's a public school so there is no
tuition, and all equipment is supplied by state funds. Vobix's
new E-learning platform, which provides the infrastructure for
the school, uses the Microsoft .Net platform and a managed
services model called managed campus, which lets teachers build,
manage, and update their own courses. The content comes from a
curriculum developed by Elrn Inc., which Rothschild helped found.

Howie Mandel, the school's chief technology officer, calls it
second-generation E-learning. "The ideal technology is technology
you don't see," he says. "It hasn't happened yet, but we're
getting closer." The system is  more sophisticated than a chat
window: Teachers know where the kids are and can pop up a window
to monitor how individual students are doing. Word problems, says
Mandel, can even be tailored dynamically through the system to be
more interesting to individual students. - Diane Rezendes

For related coverage, see
A School Transformed

Palm Seeds Schools With PDAs