CUSD200 hopes to expand online classroom presence by next year

Community Unit School District 200 is in talks with four other local school districts to create and share digital resources and courses, starting as early as next year, reports:

“With all of the digital learning tools that are available, we need to seize those opportunities not only to expand the different types of classes that we could offer but also to be able to differentiate instruction and provide more effective instruction during our regular school day,” [Faith Dahlquist, the district’s assistant superintendent of educational services] said.

The digital classrooms would be “blended,” she said. There would not be a full “digital experience” where students simply watch online videos. Instead, courses could include chatrooms across districts, outside reading links and more.

Despite a heavier reliance on technology, Dahlquist said that the initiative will be about meeting learning goals and giving students more opportunities, not replacing teachers. She said there would still be “face-to-face time with a human teacher.”

Dahlquist said that one model could involve a teacher from one district leading a digital classroom during or outside school hours with students from several districts. The teacher then would meet with the students personally on a less frequent basis.

Such a model could allow schools to provide classes that would otherwise lack the student interest to warrant a full classroom, including certain AP classes or foreign languages such as Mandarin. It could also provide additional learning opportunities for students who need extra practice with coursework.