Virtual School Meanderings

April 19, 2014

Virtual Schooling In The News

InTheNewsBeginning with the EdWeek Update.

Investor Lawsuit Targets K12 Inc. and Former CEO
A federal lawsuit alleges that the online education provider K12 Inc. misled investors, and says that the company’s former CEO benefited by selling off stock before the company’s stock price fell.
(Marketplace K-12)

Next, the semi-regular ASCD SmartBrief.

Fla. school’s blended learning teaches students to work independently
A Florida middle school is piloting a blended-learning history course that has students complete online lessons at their own pace. With the aid of two teachers, students work on online learning modules from the Florida Virtual Learning School and can advance to high-school courses. “If we’re not teaching these kids technology then we are doing them a disservice,” said Jeff Silverman, principal of Christa McAuliffe Middle School.
Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (4/15)

Ala. school pilots advanced online engineering class
Students at a high school in Alabama are honing their engineering skills in a pilot online class, designed to expose them to college-level engineering lessons. Using the MATLAB program, students constructed bridges made of straws, and designed and built gingerbread houses. “By the time they finish this course, the students will have been exposed to what a freshman engineering student learns in college,” teacher Jameria Ogunmakin said. (Alabama) (4/16)

Also, the SmartBrief for EdTech.

Some N.J. schools want to make up snow days through virtual learning
Asbury Park Press (Neptune-Asbury Park, N.J.) (tiered subscription model) (4/14)

Report: States improve digital-learning opportunities
Some states nationwide are showing improvement in digital learning, according to a recent report card released by Digital Learning Now!, a national initiative of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. The report card, which assesses states’ kindergarten through grade 12 digital-education policies, awarded highest marks to Utah and Florida. Nevada, which improved to a B from a D, has worked to remove access restrictions for distance education.District Administration magazine online (4/16)

Back to the regular Google News alert for virtual school.

Online school allows McBride kids to spend time with dad
The Northwest Florida Daily News
Right now, 6,300 students are enrolled fulltime in the K-12 Florida Virtual School, according to Marcie Trombino, who is the elementary principal for …

Say goodbye to snow days as classrooms go virtual
There are major hurdles to overcome before New Jersey schools can consider permitting virtual school days. First, the Department of Education must …

Pharmacy tech training goes online
Watertown Public Opinion
Area high school students in the class of 2015 will participate in DIAL Virtual School’s inaugural online pharmacy technician training course.

Florida Virtual School® Students Outperform State and National Averages on 2013 Advanced …
Students of Florida Virtual School (FLVS®), the statewide public school district in Florida, continued to score well on the Advanced Placement (AP®) …

Virtual education offers options for students, parents
Gainesville Times
Around 20 parents and students attended an information session about the virtual school on Tuesday, with advocates saying this method of learning …

AG: Charter school’s contract with firm illegal
Albuquerque Journal
ALBUQUERQUE — A Farmington-based virtual charter school has broken state law by giving a for-profit company, an online curriculum provider, too …

Bill to reduce funding to virtual charter schools advances in Legislature
Bangor Daily News
AUGUSTA, Maine — A measure that would reduce funding for virtual public charter schools in Maine has gained initial approval in the House and …

VOTE NOW: Should New Jersey allow online classes as make-ups for snow days?
Asbury Park Press
New Jersey’s education statutes must change before state officials agree to recognize virtual school days in the 180-day school year requirements.

UPDATED: Moving into the virtual classroom
Victorville Daily Press
The school has more than 2,000 students enrolled from across Southern … Academy opened its doors, offering a locally-based virtual school option.

Online school allows McBride kids to spend time with dad
The Northwest Florida Daily News
Lisa McBride’s children attended public school, home school and now they’re once again embracing online school with Florida Virtual and …

Another attempt to put a moratorium on virtual charter schools in Maine moving through Legislature
Bangor Daily News
AUGUSTA, Maine — Another attempt to slow down virtual public charter schools in Maine took a step toward enactment on Monday. The House of …

Say goodbye to snow days as classrooms go virtual
Asbury Park Press
“We’re now looking into exploring the possibility of virtual snow days … to overcome before New Jersey schools can consider permitting virtual school …

Pharmacy tech training goes online
Watertown Public Opinion
Area high school students in the class of 2015 will participate in DIAL Virtual School’s inaugural online pharmacy technician training course.

Lawrence would lose $1.7 million from school finance changes
Lawrence Journal World
Under the bill passed by the Legislature, virtual school students would no longer count as part of a district’s total enrollment when calculating LOB …

VOTE NOW: Should New Jersey allow online classes as make-ups for snow days?
Asbury Park Press
New Jersey’s education statutes must change before state officials agree to recognize virtual school days in the 180-day school year requirements.

Report Spotlights Problems with Virtual School Data
T.H.E. Journal
Report Spotlights Problems with Virtual School Data. By David Nagel; 04/16/14. Virtual K-12 enrollments in Michigan have surged in the last three …

Harry Potter fans open online Hogwarts school
The Malay Mail Online
Hogwarts Is Here, a fan-made virtual school for Harry Potter fans. ― AFP picNEW YORK, April 17 ― Hogwarts is Here, an online educational website …

Finally, the Google News alert for cyber school.

PA Cyber teachers vote to unionize
PA Cyber founder Nick Trombetta is facing trial on multiple counts of federal tax evasion involving offshoots from the Midland-based cyber school, and …

PA Cyber teachers vote to unionize
MIDLAND — In a move that will make them the only unionized cyber instructors in the state, Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School virtual classroom …

PA Cyber Charter School teachers to join PSEA
Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School teachers voted 71-34 to join the state’s largest school employee labor union, officials announced Monday.

District pleased with online school
The Review
LISBON – Lisbon school officials are still pleased with the online school created two years ago to compete with other cyber schools. Online school …

Haverford School Board opposes charter school reform bill
Delaware County Daily Times
And, the current bill fails to adequately address the need to change funding formulas for cyber charter schools, even though costs of operating cyber …

Teachers unionize at Pennsylvania’s largest cyber school
York Dispatch
MIDLAND, Pa. – Teachers at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, the largest of its kind in the state, have voted to unionize. The teachers voted …

Teachers unionize at Pennsylvania’s largest online charter school, say they’re underpaid
The Republic
… paid far less than people at a bricks-and-mortar school,” said Tom Strauman, of Pittsburgh, who teaches second graders through the cyber school.

Franklin Virtual Academy recognized as exemplary program
Chambersburg Public Opinion
SHIPPENSBURG >> Franklin Virtual Academy, a cyber school serving several local school districts, has been recognized as an Exemplary Program …

Mark Schauer outlines education plan, calls school funding ‘top economic priority’
Michigan Business Review –
Rick Snyder’s education policy during a media roundtable at the Michigan Democratic Party headquarters, calling cyber school expansion and the …

April 18, 2014

Plugged In | 04.18.14 | (powered by iNACOL)

A final word from the neo-liberals…

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PLUGGED IN  04.18.14
powered by iNACOL…


Online and Classroom Learning Blended in New Metro Area School
KSTP | St. Paul, MN
Nearly 14,000 Minnesota students go to school virtually from the comforts of their own home using online curriculum. But a new school, set to open this fall, believes independent learning often leaves students missing out on a part of growing up. The school (read)
Libraries Seek High-Speed Broadband
New York Times
The federal E-Rate program has been a boon for schools and public libraries across the country, helping them acquire Internet access and telecommunications products at affordable or vastly discounted rates. But the sleek new computers, laptops and (read)
Choices and Decisions: Top Down or Bottom Up?
Blend My Learning
In late January I wrote a post about how to scale or grow pilot programs into something more impactful and possibly more sustainable. Since January, I have been working closely with our Director of Technology, our VP of Teaching and Learning, our Development (read)
Data Privacy Policies from Major Ed-Tech Players Draw Scrutiny
Government Technology
Growing public concern about student-data privacy is prompting fresh scrutiny of the ways technology vendors handle children’s educational information – and opening the gates for a flood of new questions and worries from advocates and school officials. Take (read)
Blended Learning Energizes Washington
Getting Smart
We spent the day at the BlendEd Learning & Leadership Symposium in our home state of Washington (#PSESDBlendEd). Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) collaborated with Pacific Lutheran University to host a one day blended learning (read)
Will It Play in Emporia?
When we talk about the future of higher education in the United States, let’s please focus our attention on where most higher ed happens. It’s not in Cambridge or South Bend or Ann Arbor. It’s in Kirksville, Mo.; Emporia, Kan.; Lafayette, La.; and Bridgewater (read)
The One Room Schoolhouse Goes High Tech
In the heart of the tech boom, where new innovations always hold the promise of the perfect solution, a new private school in San Francisco is prototyping its first class this year. Armed with a team of engineers ready to build the necessary tech tools, the (read)
Why the World’s Larget Provider of Online Courses Thinks It’s the Answer to Getting Ahead in the New Economy
Fast Company
Two years out of college, Andy was working for a think tank in Washington, D.C. He had graduated from Amherst College with a political science degree and had also completed a prestigious Fulbright research fellowship. He was smart and had strong qualitative (read)
Big Data for Poor Students
Project Syndicate
Countries need skilled and talented people to generate the innovations that underpin long-term economic growth. This is as true in developed as it is in developing economies. But it will not happen without investment in education and training. If we are to end poverty (read)
Palm Beach County Upgrades Wi-Fi To Support Digital Learning
THE Journal
Palm Beach County School District has implemented a new wireless network across all 185 schools and 13 other facilities to support 1-to-1 learning initiatives and the state’s mandated switch to e-textbooks. The State of Florida requires all K-12 schools to (read)
The rise of big data brings tremendous possibilities and frightening perils
Washington Post | Washington, DC
Debates are raging about whether big data still holds the promise that was expected or whether it was just a big bust. The failure of the much-hyped Google Flu Trends to accurately predict peak flu levels since August 2011 has heightened the concerns. (read)
What You Can Learn About Adaptability from Sylvan Learning
Fast Company
When W. Berry Fowler decided to give up his formal teaching career to open a tutoring business in 1979, he had no idea he was at the forefront of a revolution. His single location center at the Sylvan Hill Medical Center in Portland, Ore., eventually grew into ( read)
Getting Smart Releases Assessing Deeper Learning: A Survey of Performance Assessment and Mastery Tracking Tools Report
Press Release
Getting Smart, with support from the Deeper Learning Student Assessment Initiative (DLSAI), comprised of Envision Education, the Asia Society, ConnectEd, and New Tech Network, released the “Assessing Deeper Learning: A Survey of Performance (read)
BloomBoard Catapults Education Reform in Arkansas
Press Release
With the Teacher Excellence and Support System and the Leader Excellence and Development System already in place, Arkansas begins its next push to improve its educational initiatives for the 2014-15 school year. Arkansas is collaborating with (read)

ICYMI: Top 3 stories from Thursday’s Plugged In… (read)

2014 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium


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Pass It Along: Support Broadband in Schools!

From the neo-liberals…

Take One Minute…

Tell the FCC how important adequate broadband connectivity is to the future success of America’s schools.  Please also “click forward” and send this request to friends and colleagues who may agree!

Digital learning’s potential to improve learning will not be realized without robust and reliable internet connection in schools and classrooms. We have an opportunity to tell policymakers at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) how important broadband access is to realizing this potential for all students. Please sign our petition TODAY and ask your friends and colleagues to do the same!  The more people who show their support, the stronger our message will be.

All submissions received by noon on Friday, April 18th will be included. It only takes a minute to add your support.

It will make a very big difference!

Sara Hall
Alliance for Excellent Education

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Improve Access to Online Learning

A final item – I hope – from Wednesday’s inbox…

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Learn how to improve
access to Online learning

2014 Accessibility Workshops


Are your online courses ADA compliant? What steps can you take to make online learning more accessible?

Accessibility is a key component to online teaching and learning. Sloan-C recognizes this and has made a commitment to provide the knowledge and tools for educators to ensure their online courses are fully accessible.

The following programs will help you identify types of disabilities, form strategies to improve courses and develop accomodations for learners of all kinds.

Best Regards,

Sandra Coswatte
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Sandra Coswatte | Director | Sloan-C Institute of Learning
The Sloan Consortium
Individuals, Institutions and Organizations Committed to Quality Online Education

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The Sloan Consortium, Inc. – PO Box 1238 – Newburyport, MA 01950-8238

Spring Into What’s New With EdITLib!

Yet another item from Wednesday’s inbox…


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