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Parents and Students Support Online Learning at Twice the Rate of Teachers

Survey Shows Districts Increasing Online Classes as Common Core Looms

Jun 25, 2013

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Online classes are increasing in popularity among both students and parents, according to a survey report released today from Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow®. Nearly half of high school parents and students grade 6-12 would like more online courses, according to the report, yet only 17 percent of teachers are interested in teaching a class online and only 20 percent use online curriculum as a part of instruction.

While support for online learning among educators continues to lag, the survey showed that teachers who do embrace it may be better able to prepare students for the upcoming Common Core standards, which are changing the look of learning in the classroom. In preparation for the standards, many districts are creating more content online to maximize class time and addressing new goals such as analytical skills and student progress.

The "flipped learning" movement may also provide incentives for teachers to embrace online learning. Flipped learning allows students to watch lectures online and work on problems at home, freeing teachers to spend class time helping individual students with course work rather than lecturing. In 2012, 54 percent of teachers in flipped classrooms reported that self-directed student learning had increased. The same percentage of flipped learning teachers recommended online learning as a way for students to apply lesson content to real world problems– a core component of the Common Core standards – as opposed to 27 percent of all teachers nationwide.

"Parents and students are showing widespread support for online classes and the opportunities that virtual, blended and flipped learning can contribute to student success," said Julie Evans, chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow. "Online learning and the incorporation of digital tools helps our younger learners be better prepared not only for higher education, but the challenges and technological advances that are a part of our professional world and their future."

This feedback from 2,431 districts across the nation also addresses the value of online classes as professional development for district staff. In just one year, the availability of online courses for this larger audience increased sharply, with a 42 percent spike for administrators and a 100 percent rise in support staff between 2011 and 2012.

"Utilizing technology in teaching is crucial to our students learning," said a district administrator from Texas who participated in the survey. "We are doing an injustice to our students by not having all the resources [they need] at their fingertips; these resources need to be available starting at the earliest ages for each child." 

The findings are included in, 2013 Trends in Online Learning: Virtual, Blended and Flipped Classrooms, which is based on data from the 2012 Speak Up survey and captures views on online and digital learning from 466,310 K-12 students, parents, teachers, administrators and support staff across the U.S.

"Blending learning technology with traditional teaching methods is surging in part because educators realize that to meet Common Core standards and prepare students for college with 21st-century skills, they need to adopt creative and collaborative teaching methods," said Sanjeev Ahuja, vice president of K-12 at Blackboard. "This is where technology plays a key role. It allows a teacher to innovate and scale their methodologies in a way they would not have been able to do without the technology."

2013 Trends in Online Learning: Virtual, Blended and Flipped Classrooms was released at the 2013 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in San Antonio. Follow @BlackboardK12 and #SpeakUp on Twitter for updates.

For more information about Blackboard, please visit http://www.blackboard.com/K12

About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard Inc. is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

About Project Tomorrow
Project Tomorrow® is the nation's leading education nonprofit organization dedicated to the empowerment of student voices in education. With 17 years of experience in the K-12 education sector, Project Tomorrow regularly provides consulting and research support about key trends in K-12 science, math and technology education to school districts, government agencies, business and higher education.

The Speak Up National Research Project annually polls K-12 students, parents and educators about the role of technology for learning in and out of school and represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder voice on digital learning. Since 2003, over 3 million K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians, principals, technology leaders and district administrators have shared their views and ideas through Speak Up. Learn more at tomorrow.org.

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard represent the Company's views as of the date of this press release. Actual results may differ materially as a result of various important factors. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.; Project Tomorrow