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These comments are responses to the Civic Caucus interview with

Jon Voss of ISD287, a cooperative educational service agency
June 26, 2015

More Minnesota schools retooling their classrooms to better meld with online learning

Overview

I

A number of Minnesota schools are innovating by blending online learning with retooled types of classroom learning, says Jon Voss, director of teaching and learning for Intermediate School District 287, a cooperative educational service agency serving school districts in the western suburbs of Minneapolis. One of its programs is Northern Star Online, which offers online courses full-time or part-time for students from its member districts and from around the state.

 

Voss reports that more schools are now using online learning to run "blended" and "flipped" classrooms. Blending incorporates online learning in a variety of different ways with classroom learning. In a flipped classroom, students watch lectures or lessons at home on a digital device. The following day, they attempt to put the concepts into practice in the classroom, as their teacher guides and assists them.

 

According to Voss, digital learning offers teachers the flexibility to think creatively to find a combination of online learning and classroom learning that works. Most students, he says, still want some kind of social experience in learning. He notes that a lot of schools incorporating online learning are innovating by retooling their classrooms to be more like labs, where students can work on their own or in groups.

 

But Voss asserts that online learning options by themselves won't have a great impact on closing the achievement gap or on closing resource gaps among schools.Two things that would help, he says, are expanding broadband access to every home and every school and obtaining digital devices for every student.

 

Full-time enrollment in online classes seems to have reached a plateau, Voss says, but part-time enrollment and other types of digital learning are growing. About one to two percent of Minnesota students are enrolled full-time in online classes. Most students enrolled in Northern Star Online take one or two online courses per year.

 

For the complete interview summary see:  Voss interview

 

Response Summary: Readers rated these statements about the topic and about points discussed during the meeting, on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

  

1. Topic is of value. The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

 

2. Further study warranted. It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

 

3. Offer online experience throughout schooling. Every student should have some online experience in every class, at every grade level, in every school.

 

4. Blended classes better than traditional classes. Carefully structured “blended” or “flipped” classes combining online learning and classroom instruction are more effective than traditional, classroom-only teaching methods.

 

5. Online classes offer greater flexibility to districts. Online classes offer an opportunity to vastly increase the scheduling flexibility and curriculum offerings of all school districts, particularly those in less densely populated areas.

 

6. Online classes free schools to tackle important issues. Moving some routine learning to online coursework would allow schools to attend to important issues now often overlooked, such as social, emotional and mental health and career and technical education.

 

7. Expand broadband to close achievement gap. Expanding broadband access to every home, school and community library would help close the achievement gap between white students and students of color and between rich students and poor students.

 

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Topic is of value.

0%

0%

0%

100%

0%

4

2. Further study warranted.

0%

0%

50%

50%

0%

4

3. Offer online experience throughout schooling.

0%

0%

25%

75%

0%

4

4. Blended classes better than traditional classes.

0%

0%

0%

50%

50%

4

5. Online classes offer greater flexibility to districts.

0%

0%

0%

50%

50%

4

6. Online classes free schools to tackle important issues.

0%

25%

0%

75%

0%

4

7. Expand broadband to close achievement gap.

0%

0%

50%

50%

0%

4

 

Individual Responses:

Ray Ayotte  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (5)

 

Tom Spitznagle  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (5)

 

Bruce Lundeen  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (2.5)  (7.5)

 

Chuck Lutz  (9)  (7)  (8)  (8)  (9)  (8)  (9)

 

To receive these interview summaries as they occur, email civiccaucus@comcast.net         Follow us on Twitter

 

The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje (Executive Director), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie,
Dan Loritz (Chair), Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow, Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman

 

 

 


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The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.  civiccaucus@comcast.net
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.
 

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