The power and promise of digital learning

Victor Joecks

Imagine you or your child could have personalized lesson plans with almost instantaneous feedback on how you’re doing on a particular subject area. That’s the power of digital learning, and it’s just not possible in a traditional classroom. The teacher prepares lessons for the class as a whole and has to teach the class, not a particular student. For many students – especially with a high-quality teacher – this model works great.

For other students, that style of learning doesn’t meet their particular needs. That’s one of the promises of digital learning – giving students who aren’t learning in the current system another chance.

As the Review-Journal noted a while back, CCSD has done a good job incorporating digital learning by running a “Virtual High School.”

New Clark County School District Superintendent Dwight Jones is fully behind such reforms and rightly sees the Internet as a tool to not only improve the graduation prospects of credit-deficient students, but provide gifted and motivated teens with opportunities to achieve their potential.

Virtual High School is growing, the Review-Journal’s Trevon Milliard reported Sunday. The 7-year-old program has 12,000 students this year and a goal of enrolling 30,000 by next year. …

With online classes becoming more common at colleges and universities, it’s imperative that the Clark County School District offer more such alternatives to students serious about graduating and getting on with their lives. Online courses for middle school students are in development.

For those of you interested in learning more about digital learning, especially how Nevada compares to other states, let me offer you two publications.

First, is NPRI’s study on digital learning in Nevada, Transforming Education in Nevada Through High-Quality Digital Learning.

Second, is a study by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which is headed by former FL-gov. Jeb Bush. Called the “Roadmap for Reform: Digital Learning,” it details the ten elements of high-quality digital learning. It also grades every state on 72 metrics from those ten elements. Nevada’s report is here. As you can see, the Silver State is strong in some areas but also has room for improvement.