April 11, 2010
Instructor, Mario Missakian
Technology education is a study of technology, which provides an opportunity for students to learn about the processes and knowledge related to technology. It covers the human ability to shape and change the physical world to meet needs, by manipulating materials and tools with techniques. The ultimate goal is to teach the knowledge and techniques to develop technological literacy which is accomplished by bringing laboratory activities to students. Technology education is an innovative approach to technology.
Educational Technology is sometimes referred to as e-learning, instructional technology and learning technology. Technology is used to speak specifically about digital computer technology and to support the learning process. It is concerned with technology as it impacts upon the learning process in delivering learning materials, facilitating communication and providing assessment and feedback. In addition, technology is used widely in the administration and management of education records, procurement, marketing, finance and construction. Technology can benefit traditional, open and distance learning models, which allows for a blended learning experience custom-made to fit each student’s needs.
A virtual school describes an institution that teaches courses entirely or primarily through online methods. Though there are tens of thousands of commercial and non-accredited courses available online, the term "virtual school" is generally reserved for accredited schools that teach a full-time course of instruction designed to lead to graduate. Virtual public and private schools serving every grade level may decide to pursue accreditation through various regional and national organizations.
Accredited schools must meet rigorous standards as defined by the issuing organization and are designed to insure that students are receiving the highest quality instruction and education. Examples of organizations that issue school accreditation are Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges and Northwest Association of Accredited Schools. All student services are conducted through Internet technology. The virtual schools differ/contrasts from the traditional school through the physical media that links administrators, teachers and students and is an alliance of public distance learning schools. Many states in the United States have their own virtual school, and many of them have students numbering in the thousands.
II: Brief Background
The Houston Independent School District (HISD) has one of the most ambitious virtual-school programs in the nation. HISD has been a leader in online education since it launched the district’s Virtual School program in 2000. This innovative approach to education enables two-way, interactive teaching and learning to happen anywhere, anytime, and for any student. Groups of HISD principals have seen that program in action and come away impressed with its success and adaptability to HISD’s vision and needs.
The district began the program by offering more than 50 students the opportunity to enroll in a full course online and tuition free through the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This initiative was called the electronic course program or eCP. The students that participated in the program were exempt from the per course, per semester fee of $200.The eCP (through HISD) is open to any student who lives within the district boundaries, was not suspended/expelled from his or her zoned campus, and is not currently enrolled in any other public, private, charter, or parochial school. Students in grades 9 through 12 can take up to a full course load (in subjects such as algebra, economics, geometry, and world history) without having to pay tuition.