Okay, so the first K-12 online learning session that I attended here at the 2009 annual conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) – see K-12 Online Learning At CSSE 2009. The information for the session was:
DAY 2 / JOUR 2 (Sunday, May 24 / Le dimanche 24 mai 2009)
Timeslot 11 / Période 11
3:00 – 4:15 p.m. / 15 h – 16 h 15
206 Tory Building / Pavillon Tory
Multi-paper session / Plusieurs communications
Chair/Prés: Margaret Kovach (Saskatchewan)
Web-based Learning in Aboriginal Schools: The Experience in Coastal Labrador / L’apprentissage au moyen du Web dans les
écoles autochtones : l’expérience sur la côte du Labrador
Rose Neville (MUN), David Philpot (MUN) and Dennis Sharpe (MUN)
While I showed up about 10 minutes into the session, this was supposed to be the second paper in this 75 minute session. Having said that, the presenter was already about half way through her session – apparently the session chair (who was supposed to be the first paper presenter) switched the order for some reason. So I missed the first half of this presentation (and let me tell you, I am none the wiser and quite bored sitting through the other paper – as she is up there now basically giving us her complete academic history, totally unrelated to her presentation – which I should have missed had she not reversed the order).
Anyway, some general background on this presentation… The study was conducted with five Aboriginal schools in the Labrador School District in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. As best I can tell – as I missed this slide – the research was based on surveys and interviews, along with document analysis and statistic analysis of student course and exam scores (although the findings seemed to focus more heavily on survey and/or interview results).
Some of the things that she mentioned that stood out for me.
- Students in these five aboriginal schools in Labrador performed as well in their CDLI courses as they did in their classroom courses. [MKB - This finding doesn't take into account the fact that there is often gate keeping at the school level so only stronger students register in the CDLI courses.]
- The speaker spent a lot of time talking about the school-based support, how the schools were organized in terms of local supervision and the various roles of the individuals involved and the kind of commitment that took. [MKB - And this is the focus of one of my own presentations tomorrow morning.]
- The readiness of the students to take an online course – and the presenter primarily spoke about technical skills, although she did reference the soft skills. [MKB - The speaker referenced the latter in a manner as using these skills as a way to determine whether students were suitable to learn online, which leaves the question what about students that HAVE to learn online?]
There were ten recommendations in total that related to scheduling issues (with the time zone change between Labrador and the island), the role of the school-based support, closing access to online distractions, introducing an online learning readiness course in grade 9 (or take a portion of a course or a full course in grade 9), looking at student characteristics before enrolling them online (particularly independent learning skills), and greater communication between CDLI and school (particularly between online teachers and parents).
If I can get access to the researchers presentation slides I may post something else later.