When the grant was fully expended, the AEA Chief Administrators decided to continue the services, rolling the work into the efforts of AEA PD Online. This transition took place in July of 2012, and the effort was renamed AEA K-12 Online.
Just like the original grant, AEA K-12 Online builds capacity within Iowa's K-12 schools to deliver their own online and blended learning content. Since there are many definitions of what is "online" or "blended", we work with a common definition:
Online learning is learning and instruction involving the use of technology that takes place outside the 4 walls of the classroom or outside the class period. It is different than digital learning, which is the integration of technology and digital resources in the classroom, whether in a face-to-face environment or online. Blended learning is the combination of both online learning and face-to-face learning in a class. The percentage mix of this blend may vary, but a common mix is 50/50.
AEA K-12 Online has four core products that it offers districts.
- Hosting of online technologies for districts (specifically Moodle and Soft Chalk)
- Catalog of high quality free content
- Professional development (through AEA PD Online) on how to teach online
- Consultation for schools to assist with their own local online learning plans
Consultation for SchoolsAEA K-12 Online offers consultation for school leaders preparing a local vision for online learning within their districts. This includes understanding the spectrum of offerings, establishing local policy, budgeting, communicating with stakeholders and the public, and evaluating your program.
Speaking of a spectrum of offerings, districts in Iowa are using online learning in several different ways:
- Students can take accelerated and more challenging classes when a school normally can't offer a section
- Students at risk of not graduating can take credit recovery courses, starting mid-semester or during the summer, to catch up
- Students with special needs can take online courses at their own pace, including slower or faster than a traditionally-paced classroom
- Students can have access to enrichment and elective courses not offered in their own schools
- Students with special needs can take advantage of assistive technology, such as screen readers, large print, or graphical organizers
- Students in transition between programs such as detention centers, shelters, and alternative programs can receive continuous instruction despite the transition
- Students who feel unsafe in a traditional setting can benefit from the anonymity an online environment provide
- Students can earn college credit with a wider variety of courses
High Quality Free ContentAEA K-12 Online facilitates the development of free content for schools to use. This content includes full online- or blended-courses, instructional units, and individual learning objects.
Full online courses:
Science 1 (physical/biology)
Anatomy and Physiology
Credit recovery courses:
Student Orientation to Online Learning
Preferential Voting Module
In addition to these courses, the AEAs are members of the National Repository for Online Courses (NROC), which gains Iowa schools access to Hippocampus.
Professional DevelopmentAEA PD Online (on behalf of AEA K-12 Online) offers several professional development opportunities for teachers, helping them to enhance online- or blended-learning in their own classroom.
- Online Learning for Iowa Educators (OLLIE) - a five-course sequence in online pedagogy
- AEA PD Online: Blended Learning communities - a multi-disciplinary online community of teachers across the state, working collaboratively to improve their practice through community discussion and sharing
- AEA PD Online: Live! - a series of short online webinars focusing on techniques in the online classroom