Today begins AERA and I’ll be blogging the K-12 online learning sessions. However, the conference is in California (i.e., three hours behind my regular posting time) and in between the AERA sessions.
From Thursday’s inbox…
|The Importance of NetiquettePosted: 24 Apr 2013 08:26 AM PDT
As more learners transition to using technology to communicate with peers and teachers, it is becoming imperative that all learners are well-versed in the acceptable communication techniques and norms that are commonly known as netiquette. Most of us know not to type an email using caps unless we intend to yell at the recipient. However, as the worlds of online learning and social media expand, the rules of conversing and collaborating are also becoming more complex. The new Common Core Standards include aspects of netiquette within the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing, which means it now needs to be prioritized as a required skill for students to learn and for educators to teach.
At Allied National High School students participate in discussion board forums with classmates on subject specific topics in each course. As a participant in this collaborative online environment, students are expected to be respectful of one another, use proper grammar in posts, and provide original and constructive responses to one another. These norms are expected of all students and each forum has netiquette rules posted. In addition, the Allied National High School student handbook has a code of conduct that sets expectations for students to interact with their instructors in a respectful manner during all correspondence, which includes email, phone, Blackboard comments, and in real-time sessions. These are good examples of netiquette in action.
Have you ever read the comments section of an article posted online, and been bothered by the disregard for grammar, respect, or purpose in some of the posts? Many of us have. This is an example of what a lack of netiquette looks and feels like. Those that do not exhibit proper netiquette may have difficulty communicating their perspective to others, which is why it is such an important skill to teach.
The difficulty in describing and teaching netiquette is the fact that it is a gray area. It is not always a written rule, and proper netiquette changes with the setting. For example, you might write a funny quick comment to a friend on Facebook that you would never send in an email to your boss. Another aspect of this invisible norm set is how familiarity with the audience changes your netiquette. For example, many people send emails to family members of co-workers without proofreading the email. How many of us would do the same if we were emailing a Senator or a company with a complaint? This is our natural netiquette instincts at work.
The task for educators is to take make the unwritten rules written for our students and teach them to communicate efficiently and effectively, both online and in-person. They will need these skills to be heard in the future.
Also from Friday’s inbox…
Take Your Online High School Courses With You on Your Adventures
Posted: 21 Mar 2013 11:22 AM PDT
Learning online has many benefits that are well documented—in countless articles, blogs, academic studies, and the like. The list of benefits usually includes learning from home, working at your own pace, fostering independence, and more individualized instruction, among other things. These are all wonderful benefits that online learning offers. But there is one great benefit that is often overlooked: the ability to travel.
Online schools, such as Allied National High School, allow students to create their own schedule for accomplishing their unique academic goals. This means that students and their families are now free to travel during the school year! Students can take advantage of this opportunity in a few different ways.
- Some students may want to bring their studies with them, which simply means packing a laptop and making sure you have access to the internet at your destination.
- Another opportunity to travel presents itself to students that create a rigorous schedule. If students finish their studies early they can leave plenty of time for a vacation before moving on to the next semester of studies, and leave the laptop behind as well.
- If speeding through your courses is too much pressure, don’t worry about that then, because you can often take a couple of weeks off in the middle of your studies. At ANHS this is as simple as sending an email to let us know when you will be gone.
So, now that you have made the time to travel, where are you going to go? We have had students travel the world by boat with their families while attending our program. The opportunities are endless! Just think: wouldn’t it be nice to study the Renaissance in Italy, or Earth Science from the Grand Canyon? Once you get to these destinations, there are many learning experiences to be had, which are just a bit different from learning at your laptop.