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Marshall, J., Barbour, M. K., Adiguzel, T., Costello, R. & Wood, L. (2010, March). Perspectives on e-learning: A symposium. A paper presented at the annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, San Diego, CA.
Distance education has been around for well over a century. Unknown to many, educators in the K-12 environment have been using distance education for almost as long. The same is true of e-learning, as K-12 educators have been utilizing e-learning for almost as long as educators in the post-secondary environment. The organization of these e-learning opportunities into virtual or cyber schools began around the mid-1990s in North America. However, the literature and research in K-12 e-learning or K-12 online learning has not kept pace. Primarily focused on practitioner reports or addressing the concerns about the ability of online learning to provide the same quality of education (Cavanaugh, Barbour & Clark, 2009), the amount of data-driven research into the design and delivery – as well as how best to support – K-12 online learning has been lacking. This paper focuses on the development of these K-12 online learning programs and discusses some of the challenges faced by researchers.