Growing Demand for Online Learning Not Yet Matched by Opportunities at K-12 Schools, Districts
Funding, Teacher Preparation Cited As Barriers in Survey
WASHINGTON, June 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Despite growing interest in
online learning, the availability of online classes have not kept pace with
demand in K-12 schools and districts, according to a survey report from
Project Tomorrow(R), a national education nonprofit organization, and
Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), a global leader in education technology.
According to the survey, more than 40 percent of 6-12th graders have
researched or demonstrated interest in taking a course online, but only 10
percent have actually taken an online course through their school. Meanwhile,
comparable percentages of middle school students (7 percent) and high school
students (4 percent) have instead pursued opportunities outside their school
to take online courses, underscoring the disconnect between the supply and
demand of online learning in today's classrooms.
At the same time, a majority of school principals, 58 percent, say that
online classes currently offered in their districts are primarily for
teachers; just 31 percent say the classes are primarily for students.
Additionally, while a full one-third of teachers have taken an online course
for professional development - a 57 percent increase from 2007 - only 3
percent of teachers surveyed say they have taught a class online, a number
that has not changed in three years. Just 13 percent are interested in
teaching online, a considerable mismatch with the growing student desire to
The findings are included in the report Learning in the 21st Century: 2009
Trends Update, which offers an analysis of data from Project Tomorrow's Speak
Up project, an annual survey which has collected and reported on the views of
more than 335,000 U.S. K-12 students, parents and educators about online
education and 21st century learning.
"While many of our nation's K-12 schools clearly recognize the advantages
of online learning and instruction in teacher professional development, there
remains a lag in utilizing this technology for student achievement," said
Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. "Educators must embrace these emerging
technologies to enhance student learning and fully prepare today's students
for future success."
"Today's students are eager to embrace technology in school but there is
still a wide gap between the way they live and the way they learn," said
Jessie Woolley-Wilson, president, Blackboard Learn K-12. "As schools and
districts look to complement traditional learning methods with digital and
online tools, teachers and principals must learn how to effectively use
technology in a way that gives students more control of the learning process
and contributes to student achievement."
The report revealed that K-12 students want to pursue online learning to
gain more control of their own learning experience, have access to more
courses and work at their own pace. When asked why learning through an online
class might make school more interesting, 47 percent of 9-12th graders, 39
percent of 6-8th graders and one in four 3-5th grade students said they want
to learn online to "be in control of my learning." Students do not expect
courses to be easier online, but they do expect the online format to make it
easier to succeed because they can review materials when they want and are
more comfortable asking teachers for help.
The desire for online opportunities is best expressed through the words of
students themselves. When asked, "What is the one thing that you would do to
improve schools to ensure that all students had the skills they needed to be
successful in life," a 10th-grade student from Alcoa High School in Tennessee
responded, "I would provide personal laptops for each student and provide
online classes. Every school does not have all the classes a student is
interested in and online classes (provide) another option."
Teachers who have experience teaching online overwhelmingly agree: 76
percent believe that online learning benefits students by giving them greater
control of their learning, compared to just 10 percent of all teachers
School principals cited funding and teacher preparation as key barriers to
offering expanded access to online courses, with 22 percent reporting that
online learning was not a funding priority in their district. Specific to
teachers, principals felt that teachers are not comfortable using the tools
(18 percent) or teaching online (17 percent), are reluctant to try (14
percent), or their school does not have the expertise to create online courses
To view the report Learning in the 21st Century: 2009 Trends Update,
released at the National Education Computing Conference (NECC) in Washington,
D.C., please visit www.blackboard.com/k12/education21c. To learn more about
Blackboard K-12 solutions, please visit www.blackboard.com/k12.
About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) 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(R)
Speak Up is a national initiative of Project Tomorrow(R) (formerly known
as NetDay), the nation's leading education nonprofit organization dedicated to
ensuring that today's students are well prepared to be tomorrow's innovators,
leaders and engaged citizens. Since fall 2003, the annual Speak Up project
has collected and reported on the views of over 1.5 million K-12 students,
teachers, administrators and parents representing over 18,000 schools in all
50 states. The Speak Up data represents the largest collection of authentic,
unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, 21st century skills,
schools of the future and science instruction. Education, business and policy
leaders report using the data regularly to inform federal, state and local
education programs. For additional information, visit www.tomorrow.org.
Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and
prospects for Blackboard and other statements containing the words "believes,"
"anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute
forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those
indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important
factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of our
Form 10-Q filed on May 7, 2009 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking
statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of
June 29, 2009. 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 forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the
Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking
statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of
any date subsequent to June 29, 2009.
SOURCE Blackboard Inc.
CONTACT: Matthew Maurer of Blackboard Inc., 1-202-463-4860, ext. 2637,
Web Site: http://www.blackboard.com