How are online resources transforming education?

Many students spend their days in classrooms across the United States, learning subjects and skills that may help them reach their career and personal goals. However, the classroom experience is changing, and the use of online resources is becoming more prevalent in many schools.

In fact, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning reports over four million students are enrolled in online learning programs in the United States.

"Every year we've just grown exponentially," Katrina Abston, head of the California Virtual Academies online learning program, told the Santa Maria Times. "There's this preconceived notion that it's a certain type of family who chooses this. It's a nice mix of students. We have everything from the AP honor student all the way to the kids that require special needs. You get the private school education but for free."

Abston said enrollment in her online education program has grown from 250 students in 2002 to around 13,500 students this year. This kind of program serves a variety of students, including those with special needs, athletes and home-schooled students, the news source reports. Since kids can typically access many of the same materials online that they could in a classroom, these children enjoy a high-quality education.

Many schools are considering a few of the following online resources to offer new educational opportunities to students.

1. Online tutoring – Giving kids the chance to receive support from the comfort of their homes has helped many students.

For example, WHIZ News notes Ohio's Muskingum County Library System is providing kids with access to Tutor.com, which offers a complimentary, 30-minute tutoring session to students. This website allows kids to work with a live tutor who can assist them with homework.

2. Web-based textbooks – Many educators and parents are concerned about the high cost of textbooks, but the internet has made it easier for publishers to develop cost-effective options.

Web-based textbooks enable users to access content from a computer, laptop or mobile device, assuring students can review documents anywhere. Many publishers are using portable format document (PDF) files to ensure document security, further enhancing this option's value to content creators and readers. 

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