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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Sari Factor, CEO of Edgenuity (Part 4)

Posted on Saturday, Aug 23rd 2014

Sramana Mitra: Your system maintains the personalized skill gap data for every student that is on your platform?

Sari Factor: Correct.

Sramana Mitra: Can different teachers, as they progress through the grade, access that data?

Sari Factor: It’s up to the school to determine if they want to share data beyond the individual teacher. They could provide historical data to the next teacher if they choose to do that.

Sramana Mitra: Who pays for your solution?

Sari Factor: The school district pays. They license the software.

Sramana Mitra: One of the trends that you’re seeing in the space is that even though you have come at the problem from two extremes, you are starting to see more of hybrid learning models in the mainstream at various school districts. That’s one trend that I’ve already picked up based on our conversation. Are there other trends that you would like to highlight?

Sari Factor: Another trend is using technology to provide access to students who might not have had access. An example of that are rural schools that have a difficult time staffing for upper level Math and Science, and providing students those advance placement opportunities. I mentioned the word languages before. When we had the economic downturn, schools were hit hard. Budgets got pulled back. A lot of schools said they cannot offer as many electives as they used to. They pulled back and they might have been offering three foreign languages, but now they’re just offering Spanish.

Sramana Mitra: If you were to do a financial analysis of how much it costs to roll-out your solution versus hiring new teachers, what would that look like?

Sari Factor: I think they would find that we are an economical solution to meet the needs of a broad range of students. All schools have to teach the core four – Science, Social Studies, Math, and English Language Arts. In some states or districts, foreign languages are mandatory. There are other specific courses like consumer economics or government that are mandatory. Students have a wide range of interests and needs.

As kids think about getting into careers and wanting to pursue their passion, there’s a lot here around allowing students to pursue their passions. Why am I going to school in the first place? I think there’s an opportunity to provide kids with access to courses that they might not be able to get in their local school. Career education is a good example. We offer lots of different career courses beginning with career exploration for middle school students where they study the different career clusters and opportunities. They get an opportunity to think about what they might want to pursue when they finish high school, which I think is an important trend. It’s helping kids see a purpose for learning.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Online Education: Sari Factor, CEO of Edgenuity
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