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SXSWedu 2014

Online Education as a Passport for Learning

From underprivileged teens who have dropped out of traditional high schools to middle-skilled baby boomers working well beyond retirement, all students deserve the opportunity to pursue an education that offers them a passport for learning at any stage of their lives. Once limited by geography and income, online education gives nontraditional students the chance to further their education, providing them with the training they need to advance their careers. This panel will discuss how online technology, including social and mobile technologies, is helping to close the achievement gap in America’s education system by giving students the flexibility they need to complete their education on their own time, at their own pace. The panel’s moderator Frank Britt, CEO of Penn Foster and an online education expert, will be joined by a panel of three Penn Foster students who will be able to share their experiences and provide their perspective on the importance of online learning.

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  1. Who is the “nontraditional student?" Online education is nothing new, but it is shaping a new breed of students. No longer bound by the four walls of a traditional classroom, these students study when and where they choose. How is this flexible approach to education helping to narrow the achievement gap found in the American school system? What online tools and technologies have been most influential in shaping the quality and quantity of education for students of all ages and backgrounds?
  2. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports people change careers about every 5 years. How can online education provide people with the tools they need to change careers or advance within their career? How does online technology enhance traditional training efforts and make it easier for nontraditional students to reach career goals? What hesitations do these students have about getting career training, and how can online education help them to overcome these?
  3. Fifty-six percent of American adults now have a smartphone, and 67 percent of all Internet users use social media sites, according to the Pew Research Center. As social and mobile technologies continue to evolve, how can these technologies be used to help reduce the achievement and skills gaps still present in the American education system? How will the definition of the nontraditional student change as technology continues to enhance the online learning experience?



Frank Britt, CEO, Penn Foster

Meta Information:

  • Event: EDU
  • Format: Panel Discussion
  • Track: Achievement Gaps & Educational Equality
  • Level: Beginning
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