Virtual School Meanderings

April 10, 2014

TWO BIG EVENTS DURING The 2014 USDLA Conference: Bill Jackson Memorial Scavenger Walk & Sunrise Run

Another item from Tuesday’s inbox…

 

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KEYNOTES

USDLA Opening Keynote Speaker

Julie Young, President & CEO (Retiring) - Biography
Florida Virtual School
Presentation title:

“Evolution of Distance Learning: From Stone Tablets to Tablet Computers and Beyond”

USDLA Closing Keynote Speakers
Dr. James Martin – Biography
Professor of English and Humanities, Mount Ida College

and Senior Academic Advisor, The Education Alliance

Dr. James E. Samels – Biography
President and CEO, The Education Alliance

Presentation title:

“Back to the Future: Connecting the Dots of Distance Learning”

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Pre-Conference Workshops

 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

2:00PM-5:00PM

Participants can choose one Pre-Conference Workshop at no additional cost!

 

Workshop 1

State Chapter Leadership Workshop

Presented by: Ken Conn (USDLA)

Constituency: ALL

This pre-conference workshop will have value in bringing the state chapter leadership together in a face-to-face format to network, share, plan, and learn with one another. This will provide the participants with information and strategies that they can take with them back to their local teams. Following this session it is expected that the attendee will (1) have knowledge of the active and forming state chapter leadership, (2) resources and strategies that other state chapters are using to maintain and grow their associations, and (3) a stronger network of individuals that they can collaborate with.

 

Workshop 2

Connecting K-12 Schools Through Videoconferencing and Other Mobile Technologies

Presented by: Elaine Shuck (Polycom) and Daryl Diamond (Broward County Public Schools)

Constituency: K-12

In this session we will take a look across the U.S. and globally to see best practices. Alaskan teachers demonstrate Classroom WithOut Walls. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn how students become engaged in a “hate to miss” learning environment, various devices and software are used to collaborate and participate in problem-based learning with peers across globe. We will also hear from Broward County Public Schools and how their long history utilizing videoconferencing and mobile technologies has enhanced teaching and learning. This session will showcase some of these unique learning experiences and demonstrate how its implementation has changed the classroom landscape by exposing students and teachers to content that incorporate a global perspective.

 

Workshop 3

Collaborating in the Cloud

Presented by: Darin E. Poynter (University of Kentucky) and Eric Poynter (Eastern Kentucky

University)

Constituency: ALL

This presentation will introduce and explain various methodologies for connecting and interacting with others through Internet-based “Cloud” services including popular social media sites. Participants will learn about how cloud services are changing work environments, closing loops, and making it easier to communicate. This workshop will provide participants with a framework for leveraging cloud services to achieve key training and development outcomes. Participants will discover how innovative technologies can be used to communicate, engage partners/trainees, reinforce learning and provide opportunities for networking. This workshop will offer real-time demonstrations and opportunities to experience cloud collaboration technologies. Participants do not need to have a strong technical background to attend or understand the material, but will be asked to participate in the creative, thought-provoking seminar.
register
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FULL PROGRAM

 

Time
Day 1 – Sunday, May 4, 2014
1pm – 5pm Registration
2pm – 5pm Pre-Conference Workshops (download program)
5:15pm – 6:30pm Opening Reception
7:00pm Mobile Round Table Dinners (Registration Required)
Time
Day 2 – Monday, May 5, 2014
7:30am – 5pm Registration
8:30am – 9:45am Welcome & Opening Keynote
10:00am – 11:00am Concurrent Sessions 1 (download program)
11:15am – 12:15pm Concurrent Sessions 2 (download program)
12:30pm - 1:15pm Luncheon
1:30pm – 2:30pm Concurrent Sessions 3 (download program)
3:00pm – 4:00pm Concurrent Sessions 4 (download program)
6:00pm – 7:00pm Poster Sessions/Awards Reception
7:00pm – 9:00pm Awards Banquet Dinner
Time
Day 3 – Tuesday, May 6, 2014
7:30am – 5pm Registration
9:00am – 10:00am Concurrent Sessions 5 (download program)
10:15am – 11:15am Concurrent Sessions 6 (download program)
11:30am – 12:30pm Concurrent Sessions 7 (download program)
12:45pm – 1:45pm

Luncheon Panel

2:00pm – 3:00pm Concurrent Sessions 8 (download program)
7:15pm Evening Activities (TBD)
Time
Day 4 – Wednesday, May 7, 2014
8am – 10am Registration
8:30pm – 9:30pm Concurrent Sessions 9 (download program)
9:45am – 10:45am Concurrent Sessions 10 (download program)
11:00am -12:15pm Closing Brunch & Keynote
Download Program for all sessions as one PDF

 

  register
**Note that all hotel reservations must be made at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel by 4/10/14 to receive the special room rate.  Please call 1-855-271-36201-855-271-3620 to reserve your hotel room today!
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EXHIBITOR PROSPECTUS

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The United State Distance Learning Association (USDLA) 2014 National Conference is the premier event for professional in the distance learning industry. This conference is an opportunity for exhibitors to share ideas, distance learning programs and products and network with key industry leaders.

Attendees include professionals from preK-12, higher education, corporate, government, military, telehealth and home schooling constituencies.

 For the 2014 conference USDLA is introducing an exhibit hall with focus events that will bring attendees directly to you. Be a part of the new USDLA National Conference exhibits.

If you are interested in displaying your products and services, sharing experiences and successes, or introducing your business to more than 350 decision making attendees in the distance learning field, the 2014 National Conference is where you want to be.

Space is limited so request your booth today!

Exhibit Location: Midway Pegram

Exhibit Dates: May 5-6, 2014

Move in: Monday before 7:30 am

Exhibit Hours:
Monday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
Exhibitors must be present at their booth for the following activities:

7:30 – 8:30 am – Continental breakfast – food placed near hall to promote traffic 2:30 – 3:00 pm – Afternoon break – food placed near hall to promote traffic 4:00-5:30 – Exhibit Hall Open Only (will hold raffle – attendees must be present to win)

Tuesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Exhibitors must be present at their booth for the following activities:
8:00 -9:00 am – Continental breakfast – food placed near all to promote traffic

3:00-5:00 pm – Exhibit Hall Open Only (will hold raffle – attendees must be present to win)

Move out: Tuesday 5-7pm
Booth size: 8X10 Booth Package includes: signage, table and 2 chairs
Fee: $1,500 per 8′X10′ booth

NOTE: The exhibit space is carpeting. You do not need to purchase carpet unless you require a specific color to match your display/booth.

Exhibitor’s descriptions will be sent from USDLA to all registered attendees several times beginning two weeks prior to the conference. Please be sure to include your description on the USDLA Exhibit Agreement form. Exhibitor information will be included on the USDLA website as part of the National Conference Exhibitor Directory and in the final program with two exhibitor listings – an alphabetical and a listing by company/organization.

Floor Plan – note shaded booths are sold.

Any questions or to discuss exhibitor or sponsorship opportunities
please contact:USDLA Exhibits Manager:
Dyanne Hughes, CMP
Phone: 904-206-4417904-206-4417
Email: dyanne.hughes@att.net
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About United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) is a non-profit association formed in 1987 and is located in Boston, Massachusetts. The association reaches 20,000 people globally with sponsors and members operating in and influencing 46% of the $913 billion dollar U.S. education and training market. USDLA promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training and serves the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. Distance learning and training constituencies served include pre-k-12 education, higher and continuing education, home schooling as well as business, corporate, military, government and telehealth markets. The USDLA trademarked logo is the recognized worldwide symbol of dedicated professionals committed to the distance learning industry. http://www.usdla.org

Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn  Find us on Facebook
Send to a Colleague
United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) | 76 Canal Street | Suite 400 | Boston | MA | 02114

April 7, 2014

[CNIE-L] MADLaT April 4th Update

From today’s inbox…

Hello Everyone,

Please have a look at this exciting conference update!

Attached you will find information regarding the Keynote Speaker, as well as workshop and session information.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity so register today.

 

***Messages are posted in the language received.***
***Les messages sont affichés dans la langue dans laquelle nous les avons reçus.***
CNIE | RCIÉ www.cnie-rcie.ca
Twitter = @cnie_rcie
Facebook = CNIE-RCIÉ

Attachment: MADLAT 2014 April 4

AERA 2014 – Examining Variation in Achievement Impacts Across California’s Full-Time Virtual Schools

This is the twenty-fourth session – and final one for Monday (and the conference) – that I am blogging from the 2014 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) in Philadelphia.  This session was a part of a symposium that was described as:

Virtual Schools in the United States 2014: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence

In the past decade, virtual education has moved quickly to the top of the K-12 public education reform agenda. Though little is known about the efficacy of online education generally or about individual approaches specifically, states are moving quickly to expand taxpayer-funded virtual education programs. The main purpose of this session is to understand the specificities of today’s virtual school movement as it moves from novelty to mainstream. Drawing from a rich array of theoretical perspectives and content disciplines, we will examine the performance of full-time, publicly funded K-12 virtual schools, describe the policy issues raised by the available evidence, assess the research evidence that bears on K-12 virtual teaching and learning, and offer research-based recommendations to help guide policymaking.

The actual session is described in the online program as:

Examining Variation in Achievement Impacts Across California’s Full-Time Virtual Schools
Charisse Atibagos Gulosino, University of Memphis; Jonah Liebert, Teachers College, Columbia University

Perhaps the most significant current trend in education reform is the growth of virtual (online) schools (Watson et al., 2011, 2012). While these schools offer the potential to radically restructure the way that teaching and learning happens, they also present challenges for researchers and policymakers who want to know whether they work. Specifically, the extent to which virtual schools depart from traditional brick-and-mortar schools creates difficulties with respect to assessing what these schools are doing in terms of teaching and learning and how well they are doing it.

This study uses longitudinal student-level data covering all full-time virtual schools (thirty-two total) in California from 2010-2012 to study the effect of virtual schools on student performance. Based on our web-based research, all full-time virtual schools in California are contracted to run as charter schools. Full-time virtual schools are defined as those schools in which instruction is delivered entirely or primarily through online methods (Watson et al., 2012). However, students self-select into virtual schools, making it difficult to estimate the effects of these schools on achievement. This study addresses this challenge using propensity score matching (PSM). Following the counterfactual framework (Rosenbaum & Rubin 1983; Rubin 1974), PSM matches virtual school students (“treatment” group) to those who are non-virtual school students but similar in all other preexisting observed characteristics (“control” group), based on a propensity to attend a full-time virtual school. In addition, this study addresses selection bias due to both observed and unobserved covariates. Previous studies employing the PSM approach have focused mainly on selection bias due to observed covariates (Chevalier & Viitanen, 2003). Using the Rosenbaum bounds method (Rosenbaum 2002), we evaluate the extent to which selection bias on unobserved covariates would nullify propensity score matching estimates of the effects of virtual schools.

The data for this study come from the California Department of Education (CDOE). The Department maintains longitudinal records on all public school teachers and students, including test scores (CALPADS), demographic data, enrollment and attendance information. This study supports our larger project’s focus on heterogeneity in the achievement effects of charter school attendance across demographic groups in California. We focus on the difference in impact between virtual school students and non-virtual school students in our sample, primarily because of the finding of large positive impacts in urban charters and non-significant or negative impacts in non-urban charters has been noted in our prior analysis.

Although virtual schooling is gaining ground in the K-12 classroom (Molnar et al., 2013), its impact on academic performance remains largely unexplored. Considered one of the largest markets of virtual school programs in the United States, California offers a fertile context for the study of virtual school impacts and thus serves as the focus of our study. Ultimately, our study focuses on discovering which policy-amenable aspects of virtual schools—their characteristics and conditions— are related to their ability to maximize student learning and close the achievement gap.

While a part of our symposium, this portion was not part of the National Education Policy Center’s report Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2014: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence.

This was a difficult one for me to follow, as it was highly statistical.  The other difficulty was that the presenter was not able to present the results.  Basically, the California Department of Education has indicated that they are unable to verify the data that Charisse and her team have collected – even though the data has come from the California DoE’s own website – they have forbidden her from presenting the data (something I was led to believe came about after she submitted her AERA proposal).  She – and others in the room – were hopeful that this might be worked out at some stage.

Some notes that I was able to capture.  Her data was from the 2010-11 school year to the 2012-13 school year.  It used a PMS feeder school model to address selection bias (a technique commonly used by CREDO in their studies of charter schools and cyber charters).  She used a multivariate analysis strategies, that had three matching procedures, as a way to try and compare apples to apples.  That’s about all I was able to get from the procedure – and, as I mentioned, she was unable to present the actual data.

A couple of resources that she did mention that helped inform her work included:

Cassandra Guarino, Ron Zimmer, Cathy Krop, and Derrick Chau. Nonclassroom-based Charter Schools in California and the Impact of SB 740. RAND: MG-323-EDU, February 2005.

Ron Zimmer , Richard Buddin, Derrick Chau, Brian Gill, Cassie Guarino, Laura Hamilton, Cathy Krop, Dan McCaffrey, Melinda Sandler, and Dominic Brewer. Charter School Operation and Performance: Evidence from California. RAND: MR-1700, July 2003.

So I wanted to share those as well.

This is me officially signing off from AERA 2014…

AERA 2014 – What Do We Actually Know? Examining the Research Into Virtual Schools for Useful Models

This is the twenty-third session that I am blogging from the 2014 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) in Philadelphia.  This session was a part of a symposium that was described as:

Virtual Schools in the United States 2014: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence

In the past decade, virtual education has moved quickly to the top of the K-12 public education reform agenda. Though little is known about the efficacy of online education generally or about individual approaches specifically, states are moving quickly to expand taxpayer-funded virtual education programs. The main purpose of this session is to understand the specificities of today’s virtual school movement as it moves from novelty to mainstream. Drawing from a rich array of theoretical perspectives and content disciplines, we will examine the performance of full-time, publicly funded K-12 virtual schools, describe the policy issues raised by the available evidence, assess the research evidence that bears on K-12 virtual teaching and learning, and offer research-based recommendations to help guide policymaking.

The actual session is described in the online program as:

What Do We Actually Know? Examining the Research Into Virtual Schools for Useful Models
Michael Kristopher Barbour, Sacred Heart University

The purpose of this systematic review of the literature is to identify trends in the research regarding K-12 online learning related to the delivery of virtual schooling.

While the use of K-12 online learning at the K-12 level has been practiced for approximately two decades, the availability of published research to inform that practice has not kept pace. Barbour (2011) reviewed 262 articles from the main distance education from 2005 to 2009, only 24 articles related to K-12 distance education. Further, Cavanaugh et al. (2009) stated that the literature was “based upon the personal experiences of those involved in the practice of virtual schooling” (p. 5). Finally, Rice (2006) lamented that “a paucity of research exists when examining high school students enrolled in virtual schools, and the research base is smaller still when the population of students is further narrowed to the elementary grades” (p. 430).

There is general agreement about the themes that have been dominant in the limited amount of research conducted on K-12 online learning to date. Rice (2006) described the research into K-12 online learning as either being comparisons of student performance between those enrolled in online and face-to-face environments or examinations of the qualities and characteristics of the online learning experience. An examination of the findings related to comparison of student performance in K-12 online learning environments and the traditional classroom has been mixed (Cavanaugh et al., 2004; Means et al., 2009). Further, Cavanaugh et al. (2005) speculated virtual school students took their assessment were more academically motivated and naturally higher achieving students.

There is no shortage of issues within the realm of K-12 online learning that need to be examined. For example, Cavanaugh et al. (2009) recommended researchers establish best practices for online teaching, improve the identification and remediation of factors related to success for online learners, investigate the nature of support provided to online learners by how school-based teachers. However, Barbour and Reeves (2009) went even further on how future research should be conducted, recommending a design-based research approach.

To date, the only exception to this pattern is the Virtual High School (VHS). SRI International, based upon seven goals identified in conjunction with their VHS partners, conducted several annual evaluations, content-specific investigations in focus areas where VHS was not meeting their initial goals, and a final evaluation. VHS were full participants in this research process: assisting in the identification of issues to be examined, the design of the research, the implementation of the recommendations, and then beginning the process again to ensure that recommendations actually addressed the original problem. This cyclical research process that the VHS and SRI International engaged in was able to resolve many of the initial issues in the implementation of what was then a new model of educational delivery. The findings from this design research approach should form the starting point for additional research into similar K-12 online learning settings.

For those that aren’t aware, this session was based on the National Education Policy Center’s report Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2014: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence, and my section was Section II.

Since this was a session that I am involved in, I’ll just post the slides below.

AERA 2014 – Key Policy Issues in Virtual Schools: Finance, Instructional Quality, and Teacher Quality

This is the twenty-second session that I am blogging from the 2014 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) in Philadelphia.  This session was a part of a symposium that was described as:

Virtual Schools in the United States 2014: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence

In the past decade, virtual education has moved quickly to the top of the K-12 public education reform agenda. Though little is known about the efficacy of online education generally or about individual approaches specifically, states are moving quickly to expand taxpayer-funded virtual education programs. The main purpose of this session is to understand the specificities of today’s virtual school movement as it moves from novelty to mainstream. Drawing from a rich array of theoretical perspectives and content disciplines, we will examine the performance of full-time, publicly funded K-12 virtual schools, describe the policy issues raised by the available evidence, assess the research evidence that bears on K-12 virtual teaching and learning, and offer research-based recommendations to help guide policymaking.

The actual session is described in the online program as:

Key Policy Issues in Virtual Schools: Finance, Instructional Quality, and Teacher Quality
Luis Alberto Huerta, Teachers College, Columbia University

Scaling up virtual school reform presents significant implementation and accountability challenges, as several recent research and technical reports on virtual schools have illustrated. Although there have been some recent legislative efforts to clarify expectations in such areas as accountability and standards, states are struggling to establish accountability mechanisms appropriate for both guiding and auditing virtual schools—even as they allow them to expand. In 2011, for example, Wisconsin, Oregon, Louisiana and Michigan either increased or eliminated enrollment caps for full-time virtual schools; however, none of those states passed legislation strengthening accountability and oversight mechanisms. A continuing challenge for states will be to reconcile traditional funding mechanisms, governance structures, and accountability demands with the unique organiza¬tional models and instructional methods found in virtual schools.
Drawing on recent reports and our own research on virtual charter schools, we consider relevant policy issues in the following critical areas:

• Finance : Much of the debate over virtual schools focuses on appropriate funding levels compared to traditional brick-and-mortar schools. Funding formulas for virtual schools must be reconsidered and adjusted to account for the actual costs associated with the new instructional delivery model. In addition, given the potential of virtual schools to expand access beyond the traditional geographic boundaries associated with brick-and-mortar schools, governance systems must be structured to address the challenges associated with extended attendance boundaries.
• Instructional program quality: Accountability mechanisms for virtual schools must address not only their unique organizational models but also their instructional methodologies. Quality of content, quality and quantity of instruction, and quality of student achievement are all important aspects of program quality that have yet to be addressed by accountability models linked to unique delivery models of virtual schooling.
• High quality teachers : The common assumption that effective teachers will wholeheartedly embrace digital tools and be motivated to teach in a one-dimensional virtual environment must be carefully examined. Factors that support teachers and promote effective teaching include strong leadership, peers, professional development, books, materials and a myriad of other resources. Policymakers must ensure that such support, or other types of support necessary in a digital environment, is available to professionals teaching online. Effective recruitment, professional development, assessment, and retention of high quality teachers are all critical components of a strong virtual environment in which both teachers and students thrive.

This section will identify relevant common assumptions; and, related but unanswered key empirical questions linked to the policy issues outlined above. And lastly, we advance a set of policy recommendations intended to help policymakers and practitioners address the challenges identified.

For those that aren’t aware, this session was based on the National Education Policy Center’s report Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2014: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence, and Luis’ section was Section I.

Unfortunately Luis had to go back to New York unexpectedly, so he was not available to do his portion.

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