Friday, August 27, 2010

A quick history lesson

I know, this is supposed to be all about math. But who doesn't love a little cross-curricular learning? I thought you should know a little about TRECA and TDA so you can see how this new program we're starting fits in.

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A History of TRECA Digital Academy (according to the TDA Training Course)

TRECA Digital Academy (TDA), a branch of Tri-Rivers Educational Computer Association (TRECA), began in 2001 with about 400 students. Currently, TDA has on its roster over 2500 students. The school persevered through many changes of curriculum and content delivery system, evolving in 2004 to a radical concept of continuous progress that proclaims, in contrast to the traditional philosophy of education, that knowledge is the constant and time is the variable. TDA is also unique in that it partners with other public school systems in Ohio to collaborate rather than compete in providing students with needed alternatives.

Through years of experience, TDA teachers have discovered that we cannot, nor should we, attempt to recreate the traditional brick-and-mortar school, simply putting it online. Teaching online is a very different situation than being in a classroom in front of your students. While there are advantages to teaching online, it does take a different mindset. For example, if you are teaching in a school that is totally online, like TDA, you work alone the majority of the time, without benefit of colleagues right next door, but you are also free to concentrate on the work, without distractions and without having to devote energy to classroom management.

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If you want to learn more about TRECA, I would really suggest spending some time looking around the site. TDA is only part of how they work with education. They partner with Ohio schools for a huge variety of services, like online courses, technology services, teacher professional development, and a whole lot I probably don't know about yet!

They have a new schooling option opening soon, too, called Learning Without Limits. I don't know too much about it yet, but it sounds really amazing. It's nontraditional like TDA, but it's an in-person school with a campus and everything (which happens to be in a outdoors shopping center...why wasn't that an option when I was in high school?) Hopefully I'll be able to share more about that in the future.

On a side note, here's the history of virtual learning environments. If you read all of it, you have more patience than me. It was interesting though!

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