WHRO Serves Young and Adult Learners By Way of its Top Notch Education Programs
WHRO is dedicated to providing citizens of the Hampton Roads community with access to local programming. Established in 1961 by the School Board Chairs of Hampton and Norfolk as an educational organization designed to support the efforts of teachers in the classroom, WHRO offers education services for teachers, students and adult learners.
The Hampton Roads Virtual Learning Center
The Hampton Roads Virtual Learning Center is built upon a centralized eLearning Management System, through which WHRO maintains individual, locally branded virtual schools for each of the 18 public school divisions WHRO serves. These 18 virtual schools, co-located on a single set of servers residing at WHRO, are not only helping educators reach more students, it’s also saving Virginia’s schools and taxpayers significant sums of money.
Since 2007, WHRO has also developed core-curriculum, online student courses that are modular, instructor led, textbook-independent, media-rich and cover all of the Virginia Standards of Learning for the particular subject. Completed courses are delivered to each of the 18 divisions and can be further localized if desired. The cost savings is substantial. For example, it is much more efficient to create Algebra I once and let the divisions add additional local content if desired than to develop Algebra I 18 different times.
To date, WHRO has developed and delivered English 9, 10, 11, and 12; U.S./VA Government; Earth Science; Algebra I; and Financial Literacy. They are currently developing Biology, Geometry, Math Analysis, U.S. History, and Algebra II/Trigonometry and will deliver these courses by June 2010. An additional nine courses including Astronomy; Chemistry; World Geography; World History; Oceanography; Physics; and Health are slated for development and delivery over the next two years.
In recognition of the impact the Virtual Learning Center is having, WHRO was awarded a $2.5 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Enhancing Education Through Technology grant to accelerate and complete the course development described above. The grant also includes significant funding for WHRO and a number of its partners to develop a variety of rich-media elements including mobile device applications, interactive Flash elements, podcasts, and audio/video segments for use in the courses.
Other tools for teachers developed by WHRO:
• Leading-Edge Instructional Resources—these tools allow teachers to search and stream tens of thousands of standards of learning (SOL) correlated video clips “on-demand,” to view broadcast instructional television schedules and related materials, to find high-quality lesson plans, to explore online curriculum, to link to educational resources from area cultural institutions, and to learn about K-12 Internet services.
• Professional Development—WHRO’s education portal allows teachers to find and register for training in all subjects at all grade levels delivered by broadcast video, online, via two-way videoconferencing, or “blended”- incorporating a combination of delivery modes.
• Student Activities—WHRO’s education portal allows teachers to motivate their students by getting them involved in The Great Computer Challenge, The Reading Rainbow Contest, First Lego League, or Magic.
• Homework Helpers—a list of educational websites that students can utilize in order to gain a better understanding of their school work.
Opportunities for adult learners provided through WHRO:
• The GED Connection—helps adults prepare to take the GED test. WHRO gives users access to 39 half-hour lessons that cover every area of the GED test including: Reading, Math and Writing with an emphasis on critical thinking skills.
• Workplace Essential Skills—these resources are designed to show students what skills are needed to find a job and how they use those skills in realistic workplace settings. The accompanying workbooks and online component are designed to teach and strengthen critical skills presented in the tapes and to give learners a chance to practice and apply what they have learned.