In the last year, school districts nationwide have offered more online classes, virtual field trips and classes that explore technology-supported careers — three of five major trends that emerged on the 2010 Digital School Districts Survey.
The Center for Digital Education conducted the survey in partnership with the National School Boards Association and Converge online. Microsoft underwrote the survey.
Keep reading to find out what digital technology the districts in this survey use to improve communication and education.
Trend 1: Online board instructions
Sixty-nine percent of school districts post clear instructions online for participation in board meetings. That's a 19 percent increase since 2009.
Trend 2: Online classes
Eighty-eight percent of districts have one or more online classes approved for credit — a 16 percent increase since last year.
In Nevada's Clark County School District, students can enroll in Virtual High School and earn a diploma from the district. And they can also take classes part-time through a hybrid learning approach, said Jhone Ebert, chief technology officer for the Las Vegas district. In the survey, the district earned first place in the large student population category.
If one high school doesn't have an AP calculus or physics teacher, it can send students to the Virtual High School classes in those subjects. In the students' physical high school, they'll go to a lab during one period.
In the same lab, one student may take Algebra I for credit recovery, another student may take physics and another one may take Spanish. They're taking a course online, but they also have a licensed teacher and fellow students in the lab.
Trend 3: Virtual field trips
Through video conferencing, 69 percent of school districts take students on virtual field trips — a 14 percent increase since 2009.
In the Clark County School District, students have talked with Nevada Sen. Harry Reid over the years, Ebert said.
“He will have video conferencing sessions with our students," she said, "and to think that our students can directly access ... and have a conversation with him is just amazing.”
The performing arts magnet school in the district has also collaborated through video conferencing with the Kennedy Center.
Trend 4: Technology-supported careers
At 75 percent of the districts, students can take an introductory class that explores technology-supported careers — that's a 13 percent increase since last year.
Trend 5: Strategic planning
In 2010, 63 percent of districts posted annual progress on their strategic plan or board goals — a 12 percent increase since 2009.
What technology does your district use?
Five major trends from last year to this year include online board instructions, online classes, virtual field trips, technology-supported careers and strategic planning.
If you would like to share what technology your district is using on the next survey, check our website in October 2011 for the entry form.