Short-circuiting e-learning

Government red tape and inertia, coupled with union opposition, have limited K-12 students’ access to online learning argues Short-Circuited: The Challenges Facing the Online Learning Revolution in California, released by the Pacific Research Institute.

“Of all the states, one would expect that the impact of technology on the delivery of education services would be greatest in California, home to Silicon Valley, Facebook, EBay, and other tech companies – but that’s not the case,” said co-author Lance Izumi. “Irrational regulations burden online learning and virtual charter schools,” he said. In addition, teachers’ union contracts limit the use of online learning technologies to protect jobs.

The book urges deregulating “virtual” charter schools, allowing multiple charter school authorizers, lifting the cap on new charters and allowing star teachers in other states to teach California students online. In addition, the book calls for attaching portable funding to each student.

India unveils $10 laptop

India’s new 500-rupee ($10) laptop, the world’s cheapest computer, will be the centerpiece of an e-learning program to link 18,000 colleges and 400 universities.  “A number of publishers have reportedly agreed to upload portions of their textbooks on to the system,” reports The Guardian.

Will the computer really cost only $10? So far, the cheapest computers cost $200.