"SB65 Will Vault Utah into National Leadership in Education Innovation"
Salt Lake City - Utilizing the power and scalability of technology to change the paradigm on how we deliver education to accommodate today's digital natives was the topic of discussion for Utah legislators this morning. Technology has dramatically impacted every aspect of our lives, but has had marginal influence on K-12 public education.
At a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill, students shared their online education experiences with policymakers. The ability to customize their education with high quality learning options, flexible scheduling, working at their own pace, one-on-one instruction, rich and engaging curriculum, and removing the constraints of traditional classroom learning were touted as top reasons why students love their online courses. Technology has provided them with an individualized educational experience.
Asked by one of the legislators to name one thing about her online experience that she perceived as a "con" among the "pros" online student panelist, Corrine exclaimed, "Nothing!"
This morning's event was centered around Senate Bill 65, Statewide Online Education Program. The legislation has been created to provide all students who are eligible for public schools to earn high school graduation credits from a publicly funded online learning option from multiple course providers. What is unique about this policy is that not only does the money follow the student to the course, but also full payment of funding to the provider is predicated only upon successful course completion. "We must embrace 21st century solutions to better meet our student's academic goals and to better prepare them for post-secondary education, vocational and career opportunities," stated bill sponsor, Senator Howard Stephenson.
Special guests Michael Horn, co-author with Clayton Christensen of Disrupting Class and Tom Vander Ark, first Executive Director for Education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, addressed the group. They shared the overall landscape and impact that digital learning will have on the future of K-12 education and talked about the opportunity that Utah has to lead the way with this groundbreaking policy. "Utah has been an innovator in cost effective education. Blending the best of online and onsite learning is allowing Utah schools to better engage students, expand options, and reduce costs. SB65 will vault Utah into national leadership in education innovation," stated, Tom Vander Ark.Michael Horn emphasized, "As all disruptive innovations do, online learning is transforming education. With Utah's leadership, it will better serve all students with a personalized experience for their different needs."