The U.S. Department of Education has released an analysis of former studies comparing online and face-to-face instruction, technology use in the classroom, using technology to monitor student data, and the like.
To summarize, the analysis re-affirmed the effectiveness of online learning and "blended learning," which is teaching face-to-face which incorporates some elements of online learning. The best results seem to come from blended learning, but it's interesting to note that if researchers compared purely face-to-face teaching with purely online teaching, the online students showed higher achievement.
US Secretary of Arne Duncan has some things to say about the results:
“This new report reinforces that effective teachers need to incorporate digital content into everyday classes and consider open-source learning management systems, which have proven cost effective in school districts and colleges nationwide,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We must take advantage of this historic opportunity to use American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to bring broadband access and online learning to more communities.
“To avoid being caught short when stimulus money runs out, school officials should use the short-term federal funding to make immediate upgrades to technology to enhance classroom instruction and to improve the tracking of student data,” Duncan added. “Technology presents a huge opportunity that can be leveraged in rural communities and inner-city urban settings, particularly in subjects where there is a shortage of highly qualified teachers. At the same time, good teachers can utilize new technology to accelerate learning and provide extended learning opportunities for students.”
The press release stresses that most of the studies were performed at the college level and that there are few studies comparing online learning to classroom learning in the K-12 arena, so we should not be too quick to take the results of this meta-analysis as gospel.
Original Source: http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/06/06262009.html
The full report can be found at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.html#edtech.