Susan Patrick, president of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, discusses the future of virtual learning.
extensive use of texting and internet access during class is often seen as
disruptive to learning. Many experts, however, see new technology as a
promising way to improve education. On Sept. 16, the Mackinac Center held an
Issues & Ideas forum to explore the potential of “virtual learning” to
revolutionize the way students learn. This well-attended event demonstrates
that there’s a growing desire in Michigan to find better ways to expand
learning opportunities and reduce school costs.
learning includes computer-based instructional software, online lectures
accessed remotely or another medium delivered over the Internet.
Mackinac Center event featured two of the nation’s leading experts on virtual
learning: Michael B. Horn and Susan Patrick. Horn is the co-founder and
executive director of Innosight Institute and co-author of “Disrupting Class:
How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns,” one of the
most influential books on online learning. Patrick is the president and CEO of
the International Association for K-12 Online Learning and former director of
the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. Both
speakers shared their insights into how Michigan could take full advantage of
new technologies to enhance education.
people attended the event in Lansing. The make-up of the crowd reflected
virtual learning’s wide appeal: There were school teachers, administrators,
parents, policymakers, and representatives from both for-profit and nonprofit companies.
Appropriately, the event was also streamed live online, where another 120
people tuned in. The archived video of the forum is available at
event was part of the Mackinac Center’s effort to examine the possibilities for
virtual schooling in Michigan. Michael Van Beek, the Center’s education policy
director, will soon release a study documenting current online learning
opportunities in Michigan and suggest ways the state can unlock the full
potential of virtual schooling.