Virtual School Meanderings

October 12, 2012

Just 3 Days Blog Action Day 2012 – Don’t forget to take part

This showed up in my inbox earlier today…  The topic this year lends itself to educational bloggers, so I hope you’ll join me in participating.

Blog Action Day October 15, 2012. Register Now.
EMAIL NOT DISPLAYING – CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS EMAIL ONLINE<
12 October, 2012
Hello
In just three days time, thousands of bloggers from around the globe will come together on October 15 to talk about one topic – The Power of WeWe would love to see your blog, once again be part of Blog Action Day as an official participant. All you need to do is:

What is the Power of We about?

We thought that the “Power of We” highlighted the many incredible efforts we have witnessed of communities coming together, from local groups to global movements.Your Blog Action Day post might be about a group or movement for change from the past who inspired you, or an issue that you have had personal involvement in, or even tips and suggestions about how groups of people can work together for change.

If you are not sure what to write your blog about, our partners ActionAid, Greenpeace, HelpAge International, Oxfam and Heifer International have provided inspiring content and resources that you can use in your posts, including videos, photos and much more.

We can’t wait to read your Blog Action Day posts on October 15, so make sure you register your blog to take part in one of the unique blogging events of the year.

See highlights from Blog Action Day posts from 100 countries by visting our website from Monday, October 15  www.blogactionday.org

If you have any questions please contact us via our website or our Twitter and Facebook profiles.

All the best

Karina and the rest of the  Blog Action Day team
P.S. Do you have friends who blog? Why not take part together and ask them to register their blogs as well.


Follow Blog Action Day on Social Media

 Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Tumblr 

September 21, 2012

Just 26 days until Blog Action Day 2012 – Register you blog today

From yesterday’s inbox…

Blog Action Day October 15, 2012. Register Now.
EMAIL NOT DISPLAYING – CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS EMAIL ONLINE<
19 September, 2012
Hello Bloggers
In just under four weeks time, thousands of bloggers from around the globe will come together on October 15 to talk about one topic – The Power of We

We would love to see your blog, once again be part of Blog Action Day as an official participant.

All you need to do is; register your blog as a participantwrite a blog about the “Power of We” post it onto your site on  October 15 and promote it with the #powerofwe and #bad12 hashtags.

We picked the Power of We as the theme for this year’s Blog Action Day, after past participants strongly favoured “Community and Freedom” in our theme poll.  Also, we thought that the “Power of We” highlighted the many incredible efforts we have witnessed of communities coming together, from local groups to global movements.

Your Blog Action Day post might be about a group or movement who have inspired you or  it might be about something that you have had personal involvement in.

If you are not sure what to write your blog about ,our partners will be providing ideas, content and inspiration that might help you.

Recently, one of our partners Greenpeace, has given access to its archive of 150,000 photos and videos to registered Blog Action Day participants for use in their Blog Action Day posts, and we will have more ideas and content from partners coming soon.

You can also  share ideas and discuss the theme with other participants on our Facebook page.

We can’t wait to read your Blog Action Day posts on October 15, so make sure you register your blog and take part in one of the unique blogging events of the year.

If you have any questions please contact us via our website or our Twitter and Facebook profiles.

All the best

Jason, Karina and Marta, Blog Action Day team
P.S. Don’t forget to register your blog 


Follow Blog Action Day on Social Media

 Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Tumblr 

August 31, 2012

Get Ready for Blog Action Day 2012

A good topic this year, as it is finally general enough to actually legitimately focus on the topic of education.  Regardless, I have participated for the past three or four years and will be participating again this year.

EMAIL NOT DISPLAYING – CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS EMAIL ONLINE
BAD12emailheader.jpg
August 29, 2012
Hello Bloggers

Welcome back to Blog Action Day for 2012. 

As previous participants of Blog Action Day, I am pleased  to share with you three important announcements.

1. Blog Action Day will be held on October 15, 2012,
2. Our theme is “The Power of We” – you can use the #powerofwe hashtag, and
3. Registrations for Blog Action Day are now OPEN

Why did we choose The Power of We?

We choose this theme for a few reasons.

Firstly, the popularity of the subjects Community, Equality, Transparency/Anti-Corruption and Freedom, in the theme poll we ran via Facebook and Twitter, over te last few weeks.

Secondly, we felt that Blog Action Day needed to reflect the ever growing movements of people working together for positive social change.

Whether using digital tools like blogs, social networks and mobiles, or meeting face to face in local community halls, neighbours house, andpublic streets. Greater numbers of people have been coming together to make change, either for their own communities or the world at large.

For the team at Blog Action Day, we see The Power of We as a celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world, and we hope you take part and register your blog for Blog Action Day.

Ideas for how you can discuss “The Power of We”

For Blog Action Day, you might profile a person or a group who inspire you, talk about your own efforts to make change, or highlight a cause that has been successful for using people power to make a difference.

There are hundreds of examples you could choose from such as; fighting for healthier meals for kids in schools, protecting people’s rights in countries far away, stopping practices in industries that hurt the environment and communities, challenging authorities to listen and act for the people.

Or, you may want to focus on historical social change movements such as the Suffragettes movement, campaigns against slavery or civil rights.

If you are active in a movement, you might even want to discuss the strategies and tips of how to organise to encourage other people to make change happen.

Getting ready for Blog Action Day

As Blog Action Day gets closer (just under seven weeks away) we will be sharing thoughts from our NGO partners, previous Blog Action Day participants and interesting individuals about our theme, and ask them to provide suggestions and materials that you can use for your blogs on October 15, 2102.Also, over the next few weeks we will be increasing our communications with a weekly email, as well as regularly updates, content and opportunities via our website and social media channels.

The team at Blog Action Day can’t wait to see what you all blog about and we really hope that you enjoy taking part in Blog Action Day on October 12, 2012.

All the best

Karina and Jason and the rest of the Blog Action Day team
PS. Don’t forget to register for this year’s event via our website


Follow Blog Action Day on Social Media

 Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Tumblr 

April 24, 2012

IT6230 – You Must Learn Online

itlogoAs I mentioned a few weeks ago in IT6230 – Internet In The Classroom, I will be using this blog as a way to provide discussion prompts for students in my IT6230 course (Internet in the Classroom).

For your final blog entry for IT6230 I want you to become familiar with political aspects of virtual schooling by reading the article entitled “Mich. floats online learning requirement: State could be first to insist on virtual instruction as a condition for graduation”, which appeared over three years ago in eSchool News, below.

Then, review the following blog entries that I have posted concerning the recent debate over full-time K-12 online learning in Michigan.

Finally, while much of this has already been decided in Michigan, many other states are still grappling with these issues (see AJC Is Looking At Online Learning In Georgia).

Once you have completed these readings and using them, in addition to what you have recently discovered about virtual schooling, imagine you are a teacher in one of the states deciding whether to make K-12 online learning a graduation requirement for all students and your legislator has contacted you for your thoughts on this legislation as he/she prepares for the debate. Your task is to write a 100-200 word response to your legislator expressing and most importantly, supporting, your view on this legislation.

Your own response to this prompt should be posted by the end of the day on Friday, 27 April 2012. There is no requirement for you to comment on the blog of your fellow students, although it is always encouraged.

If you are not a student in my IT6230 course but would like to participate in this discussion, please leave a comment below.

Mich. floats online learning requirement
State could be first to insist on virtual instruction as a condition for graduation

From eSchool News staff and wire service reports
February 10, 2006

A pioneering proposal now before the Michigan state legislature would make Michigan the first state in the country to require students to experience some sort of online instruction before they graduate from high school.

Advocates for virtual instruction say that if the plan is approved, Michigan likely will set a precedent for other states to follow as more schools begin to experiment with the benefits of online learning.

The online learning mandate is part of larger piece of legislation designed to ratchet up high school graduation requirements across the state. Until now, Michigan students have been required only to take a civics course to graduate. The new proposal would require math, science, and a foreign language in addition to some form of online instruction.

The idea for the virtual learning requirement reportedly came from a report produced by former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins in September. Watkins, who published the report “Exploring E-Learning Reforms for Michigan: The New Education (R)evolution” while on sabbatical from Michigan’s Wayne State University, recommended that every school in the state adopt some form of eLearning as a means of extending course options and providing new ways to engage struggling students. Susan Patrick, executive director of the North American Council for Online Learning and former head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, called Michigan’s proposal “a bold plan” to foster a culture of lifelong learning and more readily prepare students for the challenges of an increasingly global economy.

“Michigan [officials have] realized that they have an industrial economy–they spawned the auto industry–but they face many of the challenges that other states face in making the transition to a more knowledge-based economy,” Patrick said She added, “I think the recommendation is terrific–and I think you are going to see more states following suit.” There already is strong support for online instruction in Michigan. At the Michigan Virtual University, enrollment in its Michigan Virtual High School program has grown from 100 students in 1999, the program’s first year, to 5,959 students during the 2004-05 school year, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The state’s online learning proposal is “probably one of the most forward-thinking educational strategies I’ve seen in a long time,” said Jamey Fitzpatrick, president of the nonprofit Michigan Virtual University. “It’s very exciting to see our policy makers engaged in the debate.”

Even if the measure doesn’t pass, he said, the fact that lawmakers were at least willing to entertain the idea proves that virtual instruction is growing in importance. The new graduation requirements were ratified by the state board of education in December and now stand before the state legislature.

Although no deadline has been set for approval, the measure so far has met with little opposition and appears to be on a “fast track” through the legislature, Fitzpatrick said. One item of concern is whether Michigan’s schools have the necessary infrastructure to support the online learning requirement.

In January, state House Republicans introduced a bill that would delay the start of the online mandate until the state board of education has determined that all high school students have equal access to computers and the internet, the Free Press reported.

But flexibility written into the plan’s requirement could ease lawmakers’ concerns. The measure says students can fulfill the mandate by having at least one “online learning experience.” This could include enrolling in an online course through the Michigan Virtual High School program, or simply taking an online test-preparation course or using electronic career-development software.

Supporters of the plan say this flexibility is one of its strengths.

“The last thing anyone wants to see is a cookie-cutter approach to education,” Fitzpatrick said.
Proponents are optimistic the bill will be approved by March so the new requirements can be in place for the graduating class of 2010, Fitzpatrick added.

Links:

Michigan Virtual University
http://www.mivu.org

North American Council for Online Learning
http://www.nacol.org
(note: now International Council for K-12 Online Learning – http://www.inacol.org)

Watkins’ report
http://www.coe.wayne.edu/e-learningreport.pdf

In case you are wondering, the readings for this week are:

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

Barbour, M. K., & Reeves, T. C. (2009). The reality of virtual schools: A review of the literature. Computers and Education, 52(2), 402-416.

April 17, 2012

IT6230 – Supporting Virtual Schooling

itlogoAs I mentioned a few weeks ago in IT6230 – Internet In The Classroom, I will be using this blog as a way to provide discussion prompts for students in my IT6230 course (Internet in the Classroom).

The five TEGIVS scenarios, as well as the three Michigan-based scenarios, were designed to introduce you to virtual schooling though which K-12 students learn via technology from a teacher who is at a distance. Because the teacher is only present virtually there is a need for local facilitation by the K-12 school. This rapidly increasing application of technology brings new challenges and opportunities to K-12 education. More specifically, the were three objectives:

  1. To understand Virtual Schooling
  2. To appreciate three main aspects of Virtual Schooling:
    • technology,
    • distant collaboration, and
    • local facilitation
  3. To start to become competent to facilitate and plan for Virtual Schooling

In this regard, based on the material in these scenarios, the content we have covered in class, and the course readings; how comfortable do you feel in being able to support a student or group of students at your school how might take an online course? What is the source of that confidence (or lack of confidence)?

You should post your response as an entry to your own blog by the end of the day on Friday, 20 April 2012. In addition to the entry that you post on your own blog this week, make sure that you comment on at least THREE other students’ blogs by the end of the day on Monday, 23 April 2012.

If you are not a student in my IT6230 course but would like to participate in this discussion, please leave a comment below. In case you are wondering, the readings for this week are:

Barbour, M. K. (2012). Training teachers for a virtual school system: A call to action. In D. Polly, C. Mims, & K. Persichitte (Eds)., Creating technology-rich teacher education programs: Key issues (pp. 499-517). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

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