Whether to provide a more vibrant and relevant educational experience or to save money on text books, it looks like online education is making some headway. 

Connecticut District Tosses Algebra Textbooks and Goes Online, that's what I read last week in the New York Times .  Connecticut teachers were frustrated by rushing students "through their Algebra I textbooks only to spend the first few months of
Algebra II relearning everything they forgot or failed to grasp the
first time."

They rewrote the curriculum to focus on fewer topics at greater depth in Algebra I, thus better preparing students for the more advanced concepts and eliminating much of the review time in Algebra II (which could now be spent learning concepts that were cut from Algebra I).

The results?

"…school officials say their less-is-more approach has already resulted
in less review in math classes, higher standardized test scores and
more students taking advanced math classes."

The costs?

…they spent about $70,000 to develop the new math curriculum…[and] the district will soon save at least $25,000 a year on textbooks.

That's interesting.

Not only did they seem to come up with a more effective approach to learning, but they're going to save money.

Two days ago, BBC News published the article, Online Push in California Schools.

"From the beginning of the next school year in August, math and science
students in California's high schools will have access to online texts
that have passed an academic standards review."

Questioning the true motivation for the change, the BBC News article noted that "Last year California spent $350m on textbooks and can no longer afford it."

Today David Worlock, Chief Research Fellow at Outsell, published The Online Cost of Education is "Cheaper" (Insights subscription required).

As David observes, "School infrastructure in the developed world has now reached the point where the implementation of a fully digital curriculum is very possible…even if the real underlying reasons have more to do with budget cuts than education." 

Could technological advances, changing learning habits, the growing irrelevance of current curriculum, and financial woes finally add up to a wholesale movement of education toward more online learning options?

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