While the iSchool firmly believes that online learning will never replace the power of a teacher and classroom setting for the development of collaborative learning skills and social experience, learning online is - and will continue to be - a reality for the world in which students are growing up. Learning to make sense of online texts and resources is a critical skill for students' academic success as well as their ability to be literate citizens of the 21st century workplace and global community.
In addition to helping students to develop the skills of learning online, the iSchool leaders believe that online learning provides three solutions to common school challenges: to provide a more individualized, self-paced way for students to learn lower level content in preparation for required exams; to broaden the curricular options available for students; and to offer students opportunities to study independently to move at an advanced pace or to recover missed credit.
The iSchool has developed online courses using a combination of purchased content and teacher-created questions and activities, to teach students foundational content and vocabulary required to pass New York State's mandated subject-area Regents exams. Using an online format enables students to move at the pace most appropriate for them, to prepare for tests in a more individualized way by focusing on mastering the material they haven't yet mastered, and gives teachers direct, immediate and specific feedback on where each student struggles.