Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Online School Just for Girls

When two teachers at Westridge School in Pasadena decided to create a course based on pairing music and English together, they decided to turn to online education after their school became part of Online School for Girls, a nonprofit dedicated to educating girls. Paid by the online school, the teachers were able to build the course on their own time; now, Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition: The Music of Literature will hold its first lessons this fall.

Westridge is just one of eight schools in Los Angeles County that offers online classes through Online School for Girls. Despite the extra costs, the schools say the price is worth it and that they choose the nonprofit over other online options because it emphasizes teaching girls through creativity, practical lessons, and connection and collaboration. Furthermore, the schools found that it was time to join the edtech world or risk falling behind.

Through Online School for Girls, students are able to enroll in online courses that don't fit into their regular school schedules or are of a special interest not on campus. These courses are taught by teachers from around the world who provide lecture videos, homework assignments, and even feedback through video chat. Due to the program's emphasis on convenience outside of school, several students take courses to go beyond and prepare them for challenges outside of school.

Despite the nonprofit's praises for its convenient and relevant courses, some critics of Online School for Girls note that its single-gender model can reinforce stereotypes, and that gender has very little to do with academic performance. However, the students don't seem to mind the single-gender structure of Online School for Girls; since its establishment five years ago, the program has grown to over 80 schools and over 1,000 middle and high school students. In addition, Online School for Boys will launch this fall and pair with independent boys schools.


What are your thoughts on online learning and online classes? Check out the original article,"Online School for Girls puts focus on connection, collaboration" and check out Online School for Girls' website to learn more about the nonprofit.

Our Speak Up survey features questions regarding online learning and online classes. An example question is:
If you could take an online class in whatever subject you wanted, what would be the advantages to you?

Speak Up provides an easy way for students, parents and educators to participate in local decisions about technology, as well as contribute to the state and national dialogue about educational technology. Data from the surveys - including data regarding online classes - will be released in February 2015. Click here to register for Speak Up 2014 and mark your calendars for the survey's launch date on October 6!