November 13, 2008 09:39 ET

SETDA Releases the Final Report in Class of 2020: Action Plan for Education Series -- "Learning Virtually: Expanding Opportunities"

Identifies Virtual Learning as Key Component of 21st Century School Reform

ARLINGTON, VA--(Marketwire - November 13, 2008) - The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), representing all 50 states and DC, today released the "Learning Virtually: Expanding Opportunities" report focused on current trends in virtual learning and policy recommendations for enhancing virtual learning opportunities for all students.

According to Dr. Mary Ann Wolf, Executive Director of SETDA, "Virtual learning can provide each student with access to age and ability appropriate curriculum, rich and extensive resources and accurate and up-to-date assessments regardless of location, economic situation or time." The report goes on to say that virtual learning is not a "silver bullet" nor a "one size fits all" for students. Instead, virtual learning can supplement the traditional bricks and mortar classroom to enhance teaching and learning by creating opportunities for students.

According to the report, virtual learning supports students' access to:

--  Online Courses for all students to take honors and Advanced Placement
--  Highly Qualified Teachers certified in critical areas -- science,
    technology, engineering, mathematics, and foreign language even in places
    with teacher shortages.
--  Flexible Learning Opportunities to allow students to get beyond their
    physical location and/or limitations to access a variety of courses and
    teachers, encouraging self-directed, self-paced learning.
--  Credit Recovery/Remediation for students who did not pass a particular
    class required for graduation.

"Virtual learning also has the potential to engage students in ways that traditional learning does not. In the 21st Century, students utilize technology on a daily basis and expect to use it in the learning environment," said Dr. Wolf.

The report also highlights current trends in virtual learning, including increasing access and enrollments, and provides numerous examples of virtual learning models. In some models, students are enrolled in full-time virtual learning programs -- in many other instances, students take courses to supplement their traditional learning.

The Report's Key Recommendations Include:

--  States and school districts should create innovative funding models
    that meet the needs of both traditional schools and virtual schools.
--  Encourage states to recognize teacher licenses and certifications from
    other states.
--  Provide high quality professional development for educators teaching
    virtual learning courses.
--  Provide students with online resource as well as access to local
    teacher support for non-content issues like time management, collaboration
    and self-editing.
--  Encourage states and school districts to conduct research
    demonstrating effective online teaching strategies and methodologies and
    delivery of instruction.
--  States and schools districts should provide the necessary resources so
    that students have the infrastructure necessary to access virtual learning
--  As virtual learning programs continue to grow, states and school
    districts need to provide the appropriate level of oversight and
    transparency necessary to assure the general public that virtual learning
    provides a rigorous, viable learning option for all our students.

Go to to view the "Learning Virtually: Expanding Opportunities" report, the fifth and final report in SETDA's Class of 2020 Action Plan series.


The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal association for state directors of technology and their staff members providing professional development and leadership around the effective use of technology in education to enhance competitiveness in the global workforce.

Contact Information

    Mary Ann Wolf, PhD
    Executive Director
    Email Contact