A number of our local districts expressed a need for assistance with organizing “cyber-courses” for their gifted students, particularly in relation to language courses not readily available to their students. In response to this request, in January 2009, the LIU facilitated the piloting of a Mandarin Chinese Course for gifted students in grades 3-5. This cyber-course was taught live three days a week via Elluminate Live! for gifted students in Hanover Area and Northwest Area School Districts. The IU contracted with Blendedschools to provide the instructor and related technology through its Language Institute division. Classes were offered at district sites and monitored by district staff (e.g. regular education or gifted teachers.) The following year, two additional districts, Pittston Area and Wyoming Area, enrolled gifted students from their districts into the Mandarin Chinese classes.
Local students, who took the classes as an enrichment component of their GIEPs, were exposed to the excitement and challenge of a robust and highly engaging learning environment. The LIU can help any district interested in establishing world language cyber-courses for students from within their gifted and general student populations by:
- Working as a liaison between district schools and our Lighthouse Cyber Services Providers
- Registering students for the second language of their choice
- Providing progress reports and grades to the district