Virtual School Meanderings

July 1, 2012

Reminder – Call for Submissions: Themed Issue of the Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning

The Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning is a refereed journal published at least twice annually by the Distance Education Association of New Zealand (www.deanz.org.nz). It publishes articles relating to primary research investigations, literature reviews, the application of distance education innovations, and the experiences of teaching at a distance.

This is a call for submissions for the themed issue to be published in April 2013 on the theme:

Primary and Secondary Distance Education: Expanding the knowledge base in the schools sector.

Focus of the themed issue:

Despite a history of over 90 years, to date there has been little published research on the use of distance education in the primary and secondary environment in New Zealand or other countries in Australasia. Barbour (2011a) examined 262 articles from the main distance education journals for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States (including the Journal of Flexible, Open, and Distance Learning) from 2006 to 2010 and found only 1 of the 262 articles related to distance education in the schools sector in New Zealand. Further, during this five-year period only three of the 21 articles published by the Journal of Flexible, Open, and Distance Learning related to primary and secondary distance education in any country.

Unfortunately, this lack of coverage in the academic literature is not consistent with the level of activity that is occurring. For example, at present:

  • The Correspondence School/Te Kura is making the transition from a primarily correspondence model to incorporating more and more online delivery of their curriculum.
  • The e-learning clusters of the Virtual Learning Network are maturing, becoming sustainable, and expanding in their traditional rural areas, while the development of urban clusters or loops are starting to occur.
  • Over the past two years a cluster focused specifically on providing distance education to primary students have been established.
  • The number of tertiary institutions providing distance education opportunities for secondary students is increasing.

There are many different and diverse models of distance education delivery happening in the schools sector, much of which is going unnoticed by the larger distance education community.

This situation is not specific to New Zealand. With the exception of the published material focused on primary and secondary distance education in the United States and Canada, the same could be said of most countries in Australasia. However systematic research into distance education in the schools sector is needed now. In the last two years, various publications have highlighted the discussion related to the future of the New Zealand schools sector (Barbour, 2011b; Wenmoth, 2011; Davis 2010, 2011; Parkes Zaka and Davis, 2011). It is timely to highlight empirical work into distance education in the primary and secondary settings.

References:

Barbour, M. K. (2011a). The promise and the reality: Exploring virtual schooling in rural jurisdictions. Education in Rural Australia, 21(1), 1-20.

Barbour, M. K. (2011b). Primary and secondary e-learning: Examining the process of achieving maturity. Christchurch, New Zealand: Distance Education Association of New Zealand. Retrieved from http://www.vln.school.nz/mod/file/download.php?file_guid=114023

Davis, N. E. (2010) Canterbury ’quakes and virtual schooling grows to cover the fault. Computers in New Zealand Schools, 22(3). Retrieved from http://education2x.otago.ac.nz/cinzs/mod/resource/view.php?id=124

Davis, N. E. (2011) Online and blended learning rolling into New Zealand schools. Computers in New Zealand Schools: Learning, Teaching, Technology, 23(1). Retrieved from http://education2x.otago.ac.nz/cinzs/mod/resource/view.php?id=139

Parkes, S., Zaka, P., & Davis, N. (2011). The first blended or hybrid online course in a New Zealand secondary school: A case study. Computers in New Zealand Schools: Learning, Teaching, Technology, 23(1). Retrieved from http://education2x.otago.ac.nz/cinzs/mod/resource/view.php?id=149

Wenmoth, D. (2011). Business case: Virtual Learning Network Community (VLN-C). Christchurch, New Zealand: CORE Education Ltd.

Submissions:

The proposed issue of JOFDL seeks to advance understanding of distance education in the schools sector in New Zealand, Australia and other Pacifica countries. Contributors will focus on some aspect of distance education in the schools sector.

As a guide, submissions that address the following areas will be considered for publication in this special issue:

a) the challenges of providing distance education to primary and secondary schools in rural and remote areas;

b) the transition from more traditional methods of distance delivery to methods that take advantage of Internet-based tools in the schools sector;

c) the use of Web 2.0 tools, as opposed to more traditional learning management systems, to deliver distance education in the primary and secondary environment;

d) the actual implementation – including the design, delivery, and support – of primary and secondary distance education;

e) the unique challenges for implementing primary and secondary online learning in urban environments; and

f) the movement of tertiary organisations into distance education for the schools sector.

This list is not exhaustive, and all submissions related to distance education in the schools sector in New Zealand, Australia and other Pacifica countries will be considered.

Ideally, submissions will include a carefully developed argument in response to a single issue. Such responses may include empirical work; critical literature reviews which form scholarly responses to relevant questions related to distance education in the schools sector; or contextualised accounts from the schools sectors that are linked to established theory in distance education. Engagement with recent scholarly publications is expected. All submissions will receive a minimum of two reviewers undertaken following a ‘double blind’ peer review process.

Prospective authors will need to register with JOFDL and make all submissions online:

http://journals.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/index.php/JOFDL/

Articles should be submitted by December 1, 2012 for consideration and review. Please select the “Special issue – Primary and Secondary Education” section during the submission process.

Questions and/or one-page article abstracts for preliminary feedback can be directed to the issue editors Michael Barbour (mkbarbour-at-gmail.com) and Keryn Pratt (keryn.pratt-at-otago.ac.nz).

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