Virtual School Meanderings

March 20, 2014

SITE 2014 – Multiple Roles of the Teacher in the K-12 Online Learning Environment: Cautions for Teacher Education

This is the seventeenth session  I am blogging from the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education 2014 conference. The program details for this session were:

Multiple Roles of the Teacher in the K-12 Online Learning Environment: Cautions for Teacher Education

Michael Barbour, Sacred Heart University, United States

Thursday, March 20 1:45-2:15 PM in St. Johns

While the use of online learning at the K-12 level of growing exponentially, the availability of empirical evidence to help guide this growth is severely lacking. This proposal provides a systematic review of K-12 online learning literature related to the changing role of the teacher in the virtual school environment. A critical examination of the literature supporting the use of K-12 online learning reveals a lack of research, along with substantial methodological issues surrounding the limited existing research. The review ends with a call for researchers in this field to continue to focus on the conditions under which K-12 online learning can be effective.

This is yet another session I am involved in today, so I have again embedded my slides below.

SITE 2014 – Preparing For And Thriving In K-12 Online/Blended Teaching Contexts

This is the sixteenth session  I am blogging from the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education 2014 conference. The program details for this session were:

Preparing for and Thriving in K-12 Online/Blended Teaching Contexts

Leanna Archambault, Arizona State University, United States
Keryn Pratt, University of Otago, New Zealand
Michael Barbour, Sacred Heart University, United States

Thursday, March 20 11:30 AM-12:30 PM in Grand Ballroom 2

This panel will bring together leading experts to explore the research related to teaching roles in K-12 online and blended learning and the policies influencing teacher preparation for online environments. Currently, there is a dire need for teacher education programs to provide training in online pedagogy and instructional design so all teachers are prepared to teach in breakthrough learning environments. Keryn Pratt will present her work on OtagoNet: One region’s model for virtual schooling in New Zealand and the knowledge and skills teachers need to be successful in this environment. Michael Barbour will focus on roles of online and blended teachers, while Leanna Archambault will examine state-level educational policy pertaining to the preparation of teachers for online and blended settings, offering policy recommendations based on an analysis of existing statutes.

This is another session that I am involved in, so the slides are embedded below.

SITE 2014 – Supporting Virtual Schooling: A Framework For Reflection

This is the fifteenth session  I am blogging from the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education 2014 conference. The program details for this session were:

Supporting virtual schooling: A framework for reflection

Keryn Pratt, University of Otago, New Zealand

Thursday, March 20 3:00-4:00 PM in River Terrace 3

This roundtable will explore a framework for reflection being developed to be used by learners, teachers, and those involved in providing support to students involved in virtual schooling in New Zealand. This framework is designed to be a tool for reflection that asks those using it to reflect on where they are, celebrate what they have done, and identify where they would like to go. The framework is supported by tools designed to help those using it be aware of possibilities, and provide ways for them to move forward.

As this roundtable was scheduled at the same time as one of my presentations, I am relying upon Jered Borup who was good enough to send me his notes from the session.

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Supporting virtual schooling: A framework for reflection

Context 
New Zealand has a narrow curriculum but schools can choose how to adapt it so there is a wide variation of what is taught in schools. There is also big depopulation of rural schools–especially on the south island. Schools also have students with diverse needs. They upped the school leaving age from 15 to 16 and more and more students are staying until 18. As a result schools turned a blended model where students received one hour video conference per week supplemented with traditional and digital materials.  Online classes start on the hour and are prioritized over other classes.  They also have a face-to-face day at the start of the year so that students can meet their online teacher  but this is becoming more difficult.
The Research
Approached by an OtagoNet ePrincipal who wanted a tool that empowers those involved, look honestly at what is happening, celebrate the achievements, and identify areas in which improvements should be made.  Existing frameworks and standards didn’t seem to help in this context and the stakeholders wanted something more specific to their needs.
They wanted a reflective tool for students, teachers, and support providers with three domains:
1. practical/logistical support
2. teaching/learning support
3. social/psychological support
While Keryn has made good progress on the framework, it is currently a work in progress and she is open to conversations and collaboration.

SITE 2014 – Applying The ESPRI To K-12 Blended Learning

This is the fourteenth session I am blogging from the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education 2014 conference. The program details for this session were:

Applying the ESPRI to K-12 Blended Learning

Jason Siko, Grand Valley State University, United States

Thursday, March 20 10:15-10:45 AM in Orlando

Blended learning in K-12 classrooms is growing at an enormous rate. While the Educational Success Prediction Instrument (ESPRI) has been used to predict the success of students in online courses, it has yet to be applied to blended courses. This study examined the use of the ESPRI to predict the success of students enrolled in a secondary advanced biology course where the first half of the course was offered in a traditional format and the second half was offered in a blended format. Differences in student performance between the two portions of the course were not statistically significant (p = .35). The ESPRI correctly predicted approximately 88% of the outcomes. Limitations of the study included a small sample size (N = 43) relative to the number of items in the instrument. Additional research should examine the effectiveness of the instrument on students from across the achievement spectrum and not what is considered the ideal online learner.

As I’m presenting during this session, Jason was good enough to upload his slides to Slideshare and I have embedded them below.

Additional, the SIG chair – Leanna Archambault – also took some notes from the session, which I have included below.

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Blended learning in K-12 classrooms is growing at an enormous rate. While the Educational Success Prediction Instrument (ESPRI) has been used to predict the success of students in online courses, it has yet to be applied to blended courses. This study examined the use of the ESPRI to predict the success of students enrolled in a secondary advanced biology course where the first half of the course was offered in a traditional format and the second half was offered in a blended format. Differences in student performance between the two portions of the course were not statistically significant (p = .35). The ESPRI correctly predicted approximately 88% of the outcomes. Limitations of the study included a small sample size (N = 43) relative to the number of items in the instrument. Additional research should examine the effectiveness of the instrument on students from across the achievement spectrum and not what is considered the ideal online learner.

Jason started off by discussion the attrition problem in online courses (Barbour & Reeves, 2009), along with the characteristics of successful online learners (Kim, Park, Cozart, 2013), including their levels of self-efficacy, their reasons for taking a course, their achievement benefits, and the cycle of failure when isolation, difficulty and low level of perseverance lead to frustration. He then got into  the definition of blended learning  using  Staker (2011)’s definition in which part of the instruction takes place online and part off-site,  where students have control over pace, access, timing. He asserted that this is fastest growing section of online learning and research is lacking.

Jason then described the Educational Success Prediction Instrument (ESPRI) developed by Roblyer & Marshall (2003). The instrument asks questions pertaining to four areas: self-efficacy, achievement beliefs, academic risk-taking beliefs (i.e.,  willing to be wrong, take a guess) and organization beliefs.

Using this instrument, Jason’s research questions were as follows:

  • Is there any difference in student performance between the traditional vs. blended portions of the course?
  • How well does the ESPRI survey accurately predict the performance of students in a blended course?

The context of his study was a high school serving 1800 students in grades 10-12,  in a  suburban area that was homogeneous with respect to race/ethnicity (93% Caucasian), but diverse in terms of student SES status.

The course was an IB –Biology, Higher level class with 43 students in 11th grade. Jason was the teacher of the class. The 1st half of course face-to-face and the 2nd half blended (consisting of, among other activities, online assignments, blog posts and discussion, flipped model with lectures, simulation, and discussion board activities)

Jason used Paired t-test to compare student outcomes. Not surprisingly, he found no significant difference t(42) =.95; p =.35. This was important for district and parents to see that blended is as valid as the traditional education model.  He acknowledged that different content was covered and it may not be equal in difficulty.

He also used multiple discriminant analysis to examine use of the ESPRI in a blended learning setting. Using 70% as a cut off score, he found that the ESPRI – predicted 38/43 cases (~88%), and it was better at predicting pass rates as opposed to fail rates. However, the low sample size is a limitation to conducting multiple discriminant analysis. Another constraint of the study was the fact that the students in the IB program are likely predisposed to be a good online learner. Jason emphasized that the ESPRI is not a selection tool – if students score low, we should examine in what areas they score low, where can we help, and what does that help look like? Modules in the areas the ESPRI covers could be developed to help students be successful in online/blended settings, and this is an area Jason looks forward to exploring.

SITE 2014 – iPads For Teachers? The Challenges Of Integrating Technology In The Classroom

This is the thirteenth session I am blogging from the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education 2014 conference. The program details for this session were:

iPads for teachers? The challenges of integrating technology in the classroom

Michael Barbour, Sacred Heart University, United States
Tamme Quinn Grzebyk, Wayne State University, United States

Thursday, March 20 10:45-11:15 AM in St. Johns

The iPad is a tool that could change the way in which teachers prepare and deliver instruction in the K-12 environment. But, while proponents tout its capabilities, school administrators run the risk of purchasing yet another tool without understanding its potential impacts on the teacher, students and classroom environment. This study used iPads to implement a four-month professional development program aimed at helping teachers integrate technology into their classrooms. The iPads were deployed to classroom teachers in the science department at a suburban high school. Professional development was tailored to the teachers’ interests, followed by individual interviews by the project leader. Results of the study showed that while teachers are open to new technologies, their focus is more on teaching considerations than on professional development. The study also indicated that teachers have difficulty considering incorporating a single device into a classroom of multiple students.

As this was my session, I’ll just embed my slides below.

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