A Wish List for Online Learning: Bend-La Pine Schools


Friday, December 12, 2014 - 12:00pm

Around the holiday season, people begin to make lists and check off what’s been accomplished to-date. Whether it is a wish list or a look back at last year’s resolutions, December is a natural time for review and contemplation.  In light of the season, we’ve reached out to folks and asked them to tell us about their wish lists for online learning. 

Christie McCormick, program coordinator for blended and online learning at Bend-La Pine Schools has a long term view of online learning.  As an instructor for the past 27 years, she currently teaches online middle school English for FuelEd, and has a wealth of knowledge on online learning.  Here is what Christie had to say as she reflected back on the progress of online learning in 2014:

LotL Editors: Online learning has been an evolution. As you reflect back on 2014, what has happened over the course of the year to really push forward adoption?

Christie McCormick:  Although online learning has been around for a while, 2014 seemed to me to mark a sea of change in the way it is viewed by different constituents—teachers, parents, administrators, students. Instead of just being an alternative (usually a lesser alternative) to traditional face-to-face learning, it is now widely seen as a critical component, an obvious and necessary part of a comprehensive, personalized education. 

I think the change is the result of many influences, including shrinking school budgets, increasing performance standards, and the lack of relevant traditional curriculum, everything has led to this “Time Is Right” situation for digital learning. Recognizing the need, savvy school districts are devoting more resources to promote the evolution, rather than trying to forestall it or pretend it isn’t there.

LotL: Moving into 2015, as we continue to evolve and seek greater adoption for personalized learning, what is on your wish list? 

CM: Obviously, the momentum of change will continue to grow as we move into 2015 and beyond. My hope is that districts will move forward thoughtfully, investing in the big picture with mindful choices, a willingness to change (never easy in an institution like education), and commitment to the future of our students and to excellence at every juncture. High quality curriculum, instruction, and relationship-building are not new components of a good education, but we have a chance to recommit to them as we restructure what school looks like for our students

LotL: What should districts be considering as they look to adopt more blended learning and full-time online learning programs?

CM: As good teachers encourage their students to think “outside the lines,” districts should be doing the same with digital learning adoption.  Not simply changing for the sake of change, grabbing the first shiny program that comes along, but questioning everything, taking care with program choices, even as they realize mistakes will be made, and always, always keeping the goal in mind:  a well-educated citizenry, capable of thinking critically, being resourceful, and participating fully in the world.

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