Virtual School Meanderings

April 20, 2014

HD Video Bridge Launched – Old Bridge to be Retired

For my Kiwi readers to begin their week…

Tam made a new blog post.

HD Video Bridge Launched – Old Bridge to be Retired

Over the last 12 months the Ministry of Education in conjunction with Asnet Technologies has improved the quality of VC bridging with the introduction and progressive testing of a high definition bridge. This has included expanding the options for desktop VC, the introduction of continuous presence (Brady bunch) conferencing layouts and assisting individual schools to improve their VC experiences.

What is happening

Effective from the beginning of Term 2, the old standard definition VC bridge will be retired from service – this means that all conferences from this point will be hosted on the high definition bridge.

Please note that all the classroom and conference pins that were set up on the old bridge will remain unchanged on the new bridge. The only aspect that will change is the bridge access number that will change from the existing 0600 Classroom access code to the new access code of 0605 Classroom

Also in anticipation that not all schools or students may get to hear about this in time, we will initially redirect all 0600 Classroom access from the directory to the new bridge.

What this means for my school

The good news is not much will change for individual users. Over the school holidays Asnet Technologies will make individual changes to the directory entries to include0605 Classroom directory options and redirect 0600 Classroom directory options.

All pins on the new bridge will remain unchanged – e.g. if you used the meeting room ID 12345# on the old bridge it will remain the unchanged on the new bridge.

There will be one big improvement – all conferences will now be set to continuous presence allowing (finally) all participants to be seen on the screen at the same time. Some people also call this the Brady Bunch setting.

And finally…

If you require further information on this or any other changes please contact the VC Help Desk team for assistance.

View and comment on the new blog post:

Allied Online High School Blog

Also from Friday’s inbox…

Allied Online High School Blog

Link to Allied Online High School Blog

The Advantages of a Online High School Education

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 03:11 PM PDT

“A Subject A Day Can Be The Best Way”

Are you having a difficult time figuring out a solution for your son or daughter who is not thriving in the traditional school environment?  While there are many wonderful schools throughout the United States, there are instances where a student needs an alternative.

Consider these questions while you are exploring options:

  1. Does your son or daughter have a need to study at different hours than the traditional setting offers?
  2. Does he/she have challenges with peer pressure and could have greater academic success if they could focus entirely on academics?
  3. Is he/she looking for a more challenging environment, but one that allows him/her the opportunity to have a voice in how their schedule unfolds on a daily basis?
  4. Does he/she wish to have the opportunity to get a part-time job, or complete high school earlier than a traditional environment may allow?
  5. Would he/she benefit from a fresh start and an opportunity to enroll throughout the year, rather than just in the fall and spring?

Allied National High School is a fully accredited, 100% online high school with:

  1. Credentialed teachers that are highly experienced with online learning, and who provide specific feedback on every homework assignment.
  2. A high school counselor who provides scheduling support, academic guidance, college /career planning and crisis intervention.
  3. A caring and supportive administrative staff that is here to help you and your son/daughter all the way from enrollment to completion of required credits.
  4. The ability to meet the needs of many types of students!

Some examples of students who thrive at ANHS:

Here are some examples of students who come to ANHS and do extremely well because our program offers them an opportunity to experience flexibility and freedom, and offers both General and College Preparatory Diploma Paths:

  1. Students who enjoy academics but are looking for an environment with less distractions
  2. Students who have to move or travel often
  3. Students who have a need for flexibility and college preparatory studies due to athletic pursuits (our core courses are also NCAA approved)
  4. Students who are performers and need the ability to work at different hours than a traditional setting will allow.
  5. Students who would like to stay at home to complete their diploma.
  6. Students who have learning challenges – we can serve most students with special needs and support them in academic success through curriculum accommodations and modifications to meet their needs.

How Does The ANHS Program Work?  (weave in the message of how a subject a day works versus the traditional environment of 7 periods a day)

We have found that many students benefit from simplicity in structure here at Allied National High School.  While many are accustomed to working on several subjects each day, our program provides an opportunity to take a different approach.  Our suggested “Subject A Day” method works very well within our Regular Grading system, and has been of help to many families!  Here’s a sample schedule:

How does this schedule work?

In a nutshell, a student can work about 5 hours a day, 5 days a week and stay on track to complete each semester course within approximately 4.5 months (less in some cases).  Of course each student is unique, and while one student will complete an English assignment in 4 hours, another may take 5.  Fortunately, our program offers this flexibility, and a student can break up their studies throughout the day.  For example, a student can complete the reading portion of their assignment from 10 am to 12 pm, and take a break, return to their assignment and the online portion from 2-4 pm, and perhaps finish the assignment from 6-7 pm, submit the assignment for grading, and take the quiz.  Since there are no set classroom hours, the parent and student can work with our High School Counselor, Mrs. Nicole Fields, to create their own structure.  A steady and consistent effort to complete 1 assignment in 1 subject each day simplifies the whole process of completing required credits for graduation.

Why does this work well?

Parents, you can monitor progress easily!  You can simply ask your son or daughter if they have completed their homework assignment.  We also provide you with Observer Access so you can monitor progress, view teacher feedback and check grades.

Students, if you work steadily each day, 4-5 hours a day, you can stay right on track to complete your required credits.  Also, when you have completed your subject assignment on that particular day, you can rest easy and know that you have completed your work and feel a sense of accomplishment.

This isn’t to say it will be easy!  Our program is academically designed to help students learn, grow and ultimately prepare them for their future, whether it is a vocation, career or attending college/university.  However, this approach can keep things simple – so you can focus on one task, break it up into parts, and achieve your end result.  One Subject Each Day…

A Few Opportunities To Learn More!

  1. Mrs. Nicole Fields, our High School Counselor, will be featured on our site and through our media campaigns over the next few weeks.  Take advantage of this opportunity and return to our site to hear more about how to write an effective essay! (link here or perhaps to where Nicole is featured on ANHS site).
  2. Schedule a Virtual Open House Tour and join us for a live online session and demonstration of our program and online learning management system.  This is a great chance for you and your son or daughter to get to know ANHS.

Worth A Read

From Friday’s inbox…

Worth A Read

At Shanker: Are Americans (and Texans) as Stupid as the Media Tells Us We Are?

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 09:00 PM PDT

Julian Vasquez Heilig was a participant in a “Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education” conversation at the Albert Shanker Institute. His blog post includes video conversations with Leo Casey (Shanker Institute), Tom Loveless (Brookings Institution), Richard Rothstein (EPI), and Heilig (University of Texas).

The Mind Shift in Teacher Evaluation: Where We Stand – and Where We Need to Go

Posted: 14 Apr 2014 09:00 PM PDT

Angela Minnici shares common missteps to avoid in planning and implementing teacher evaluations.

Speaking Out: Changing the Poverty to Prison Paradigm

Posted: 14 Apr 2014 09:00 PM PDT

Melissa Nixon discusses the poverty to prison paradigm and the role that schools and school leaders play in the system. “Making courageous decisions and believing that all children can learn are the tasks for today’s forward-thinking leaders who see a future defined by equal opportunities for all.”

D.C. are you listening?: A New Local, Community-Based Approach for Accountability

Posted: 13 Apr 2014 09:00 PM PDT

Julian Vasquez Heilig discusses the idea of “Community-based Accountability” – this new form of accountability would allow for a district to drive a locally based approach that focuses on the process of education for its one-year, five-year, and ten-year goals.

Delaware’s Teacher Preparation is Setting a Higher Bar

Posted: 13 Apr 2014 09:00 PM PDT

This blog from the U.S. department of education shares information on Delaware Senate Bill 51, which raises the bar for teacher preparation programs.

Katherine Bassett on ‘Banning Hope’

Posted: 10 Apr 2014 09:00 PM PDT

Rick Hess shares a piece by Katherine Bassett, CEO of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Regarding a new leadership initiative outlined by Arne Duncan, Basset says: “We do not hope this will happen – we intend that it shall. We will hold Secretary Duncan and his team accountable for making teacher leadership a reality, rather than an idea. We will act and we will expect that action will result in real roles for teacher leaders. We will work zealously to make this happen – but we will not hope.”

Almost 70% of teachers are not engaged. Here’s why that matters so much

Posted: 08 Apr 2014 09:00 PM PDT

Anya Kamenetz covers the Gallup report on the State of the American Schools. “Gallup’s study found that principal talent had a powerful impact on teacher engagement, which in turn affects student engagement.  They recommend that principals adopt a more collaborative management style and help new teachers acclimate by putting them together to form partnerships with more experienced teachers.”

ProQuest/EBSCO Alerts

proquestSo we have the ProQuest Alerts figured out and working now.  Beginning with the ProQuest Alert for virtual school.

1.Mapping the Terrain: Educational Leadership Field Experiences in K-12 Virtual SchoolsLaFrance, Jason A; Beck, Dennis. Educational Administration Quarterly50.1 (Feb 2014): 160.

360 Link

Next, the ProQuest Alert for cyber school.

1.Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School Teachers Vote for PSEA RepresentationTargeted News Service [Washington, D.C] 14 Apr 2014.

Full text

2.Christiana Seeking to Reform Payment to Cyber Charter SchoolsTargeted News Service [Washington, D.C] 09 Apr 2014.

Full text

ebscoMoving on, the EBSCO alert for virtual school.

1. TI- Factors influencing student academic performance in online high school algebra.
AU- Liu, Feng1 Email Address:
AU- Cavanaugh, Cathy1
JN- Open Learning
PD- Jun2012, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p149-167
PG- 19p
IL- 4 Charts
DT- 20120601
PT- Article
AB- This paper describes the effect of teacher comments, students’ demographic information and learning management system utilisation on student final scores in algebra courses in a K–12 virtual learning environment. Students taking algebra courses in a state virtual school in the Midwestern US region during 2007–2008 participated in this study. Student final scores on these courses were collected using tests administered at the end of semester in the virtual school courses. The hierarchical linear modelling technique was used for data analysis to account for the influence of school characteristics on student final scores. The results show these factors have different influences on student final scores in different algebra courses. The discussion of the findings addresses the implications for teaching. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
AB- Copyright of Open Learning is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should
refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
DE- VIRTUAL schools
DE- CURRICULA (Courses of study)
SU- ALGEBRA — Study & teaching
SU- ACADEMIC achievement
KW- learning management systems
KW- virtual learning
AD- 1School of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida, USA
IS- 02680513
DI- 10.1080/02680513.2012.678613
AN- 74751031

2. TI- the virtual teacher-librarian: establishing and maintaining an effective web presence.
AU- Lamb, Annette
AU- Johnson, Larry
JN- Teacher Librarian
PD- Apr2008, Vol. 35 Issue 4, p69-71
PG- 3p
DT- 20080401
PT- Article
AB- The article discusses the development and maintenance of virtual school libraries. The concept of a web presence is contrasted with static library web pages. The article suggests beginning with a selection of services that can be provided digitally, such as general library orientation, and examining which services could be made available continuously, such as tutorials covering frequently asked questions and common problems. Encouraging communication and interaction, coordinating collaborative projects, and modeling innovation is also advised. The article provides technology considerations and practical considerations for librarians as they develop effective web presences.
DE- DIGITAL libraries
DE- LIBRARY websites
DE- SCHOOL libraries — Computer network resources
DE- LIBRARY media specialists
DE- LIBRARY public services
DE- WEB design
DE- WEB librarianship
DE- WEB 2.0
DE- LIBRARY orientation for students
DE- ONLINE information services
SU- WEBSITE usability
FT- 2026
IS- 14811782
AN- 31956622

AU- Church, Audrey P.1 Email Address:
JN- MultiMedia & Internet@Schools
PD- Mar/Apr2005, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p8-12
PG- 5p
IL- 6 Color Photographs
DT- 20050301
PT- Article
AB- Provides information on several school-maintained virtual libraries used by several high schools in the U.S. as of March 2005. Thomas Dale High School Library Media Center Virtual Library Web page from Thomas Dale High School in Chesterfield County, Virginia; Springfield High School Virtual Library Web page from Springfield Township School District in Pennsylvania; MHS Library Home Page from Murray High School in Albemarle County, Virginia.
DE- DIGITAL libraries
DE- ELECTRONIC information resources
SU- HIGH schools
AD- 1Instructor and Coordinator, School Library Media Graduate Program Longwood University, Farmville, VA
FT- 1573
IS- 15464636
AN- 16503898

There were no relevant items in the EBSCO alert for cyber school.

Finaly, the EBSCO alert for K-12 online learning.

1. TI- Learning Outcomes and Student Perceptions in Using of Blended Learning in History
AU- BakarNordin, Abu (a)
AU- Alias, Norlidah (b, ⁎)
JN- Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences
PD- In 13th International Educational Technology Conference2013-11-26 103:577-585
PG- 9p.
DT- 20131126
PT- Article
AB- This paper examines the effectiveness of blended learning among students in form four (grade 9) in learning of history. A survey of literature on the subject found that although a number of studies were devoted to the use of blended learning (Bonk & Graham, 2006; Duhaney, 2004; Garrison & Kanuka,2004; Singh & Reed, 2001), in the teaching of history in school there seemed to be very little evidence of detailed examination to determine learning outcomes and an account or mechanism of how the subject is learnt. In the present study reflective and collaborative learning supported by scaffolding provides an attractive glimpse of blended learning – the employment of face-to-face teaching approach and the use of blogs by groups of students on the Twitter platform, in the teaching-learning interaction throughout the lessons. A mixed-method approach was employed with survey, interview, and text analysis for data gathering. Qualitative text analysis of the interview script analysis clarified the different merits students perceived from each activity. The variations provided by the blended course design served well in meeting challenges set in the learning outcomes and learning standard, and the learning environment was found to be enjoyable for the students. We also discovered that students had positive perceptions of the blended course design.
NT- Selection and peer-review under responsibility of The Association of Science, Education and Technology-TASET, Sakarya Universitesi, Turkey.
NT- Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
NT- Copyright © 2013 The Authors Published by Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.
AD- (a) Faculty of Education,University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
AD- (b) Faculty of Education,University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
IS- 1877-0428
DI- 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.375
AN- S1877042813038202

April 19, 2014

Pass It Along: Support Broadband in Schools!

From the neo-liberals on Thursday…

Take One Minute…

Tell the FCC how important adequate broadband connectivity is to the future success of America’s schools.  Please also forward this request to friends and colleagues who may agree!

Digital learning’s potential to improve learning will not be realized without robust and reliable internet connections in schools and classrooms. We have an opportunity to tell policymakers at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) how important broadband access is to realizing this potential for all students. Please sign our petition TODAY and ask your friends and colleagues to do the same!  The more people who show their support, the stronger our message will be.

All submissions received by noon on Friday, April 18th will be included. It only takes a minute to add your support.

It will make a very big difference!


Gov. Bob Wise
Alliance for Excellent Education

If you receive this message via forwarding and would like to be added to the Alliance’s mailing list, visit and enter your information.

Alliance for Excellent Education
1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 901
Washington, DC 20036

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