Online School Trends For Search Marketers

Online ClassWith the 2011/2012 school year beginning across the United States (at least in Southern California), most search marketers continue to focus on back to physical school campaigns. But the Internet -- the portal to knowledge -- seems to have caught the attention of parents who choose to home school their kids, as well as school districts jumping on the trend to provide online options. But who are the teachers guiding these kids, and do marketers have an opportunity to reach out and connect with them?

Females represent the majority of online teachers nationwide. In fact, based on a sample of nearly 2,500 online teachers, this group is even more heavily female than the nationwide teaching population in general. The study -- published Monday, from David B. Glick & Associates -- suggests one possible explanation that women with children can more easily fit teaching online classes into raising a family.

In the third consecutive yearly study, the David B. Glick & Associates and iNACOL study surveys iNACOL members with the goal of gathering information regarding the demographics of students and teachers participating in online programs. The data allows Pew to draw conclusions on the current demographic makeup of online students and teachers.

Similar to gender, the ethnicity of online teachers follows national trends closely. Inconsistencies in how teacher ethnicity is reported, however, complicate the count for non-Caucasian teachers, causing the category "other" to capture many of the minority populations. This data suggests that Black, Hispanic/Latino and Other represent the majority of online searchers, followed by Asian, Native American and White.

The study finds that about 200,000 students are schooled online. Females comprise more than 55% of online students in grades kindergarten through 12. White and Native American students outweigh Black, Hispanic and Asian students. The report suggests that underrepresentation of Hispanic/Latino and Asian students is likely related to the lack of participation of English-language learners in online programs. Nationally, approximately 14,000 or 19% of Hispanic/Latino and Asian students are English-language learners. This demographic comprises the vast majority of ethnic minorities in the United States.

Special needs learning programs continue to gain attention. Based on program data representing more than 97,000 students, just 2.3% of online students are English-language learners, compared with 11% in all schools nationwide.


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