More than 500 ed-tech companies exhibited at this year’s Florida Educational Technology Conference. Here’s a sampling of news from the exhibitors offering virtual schooling:

Connections Academy, a national provider of virtual public schools for students in grades K-8, announced that it will add a ninth-grade program to its offerings this fall. The company operates its virtual schools in partnership with charter schools, school districts, and state departments of education. The new grade 9 program will be offered to all states and school districts the company now serves, though it will be up to these educational partners whether they choose to adopt it. Connections Academy also announced that Minnesota has become the eighth state to open a virtual school with the company. MTS Minnesota Connections Academy, a public charter school operated in conjunction with Minnesota Transitions School (MTS) of Minneapolis, opened Feb. 7 to seventh and eighth graders throughout Minnesota. MTS and Connections Academy hope to expand the program, which is Connections Academy’s 11th school overall, to all K-8 students in Minnesota in September.

Florida Virtual School (FLVS) announced a partnership with Macromedia to give students throughout the country access to online courses for web design using Macromedia’s professional web authoring software. By offering these courses and software, FLVS and Macromedia will enable students–wherever they might be–to build technology skills and knowledge to prepare them for IT careers, FLVS officials said. Students who enroll in the FLVS Web Design courses will be granted a one-year license to Macromedia Studio MX 2004 for their coursework. Founded in 1997 as a pilot project by the Florida Legislature, FLVS now serves nearly 30,000 students in grades 7-12, as well as adults seeking GED alternatives. Some 400 to 500 of the school’s students now come from out of state, school officials said.


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