Virtual School Meanderings

August 26, 2014

Create, Manage and Share eLearning Content – Free Webinar

From Friday’s inbox…

Register Now for Free Demo of SoftChalk Cloud

See what’s up in SoftChalk Cloud!

Learn how you can easily meet the needs of your 21st century learners with SoftChalk Cloud.

  • Create your own lessons with mobile-friendly activities, quizzes and media that engage the digital learner and improve learning outcomes.
  • Manage your learning content and track student learning.
  • Share content with your students or with the world—anytime, anywhere on any device, and collaborate on content development with colleagues… all from the Cloud.

Register for a free demo today and learn how you can use SoftChalk Create with SoftChalk Cloud’s award-winning learning object repository to create portable, interoperable content that works with any learning management system.

Monday, August 25, 2014 3:00 PM EDT Register Now
Thursday, September 4, 2014 12:00 PM EDT Register Now
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:00 PM EDT Register Now

no imageUsing SoftChalk Cloud with Canvas

In this webinar you will see how to take a lesson created with SoftChalk Create and, using SoftChalk Cloud, place it easily and seamlessly into Canvas.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 3:00 PM EDT Register Now

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The SoftChalk Team

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K-12 Online Learning and Accessibility

Ray Rose recently delivered a TxVSN Speaks Volume Keynote session on K-12 online learning and accessibility.

Interestingly, he posted some Post Conference Impact thoughts as well.

Michigan And Charter School Authorizers

Last week – or the week before – this came across my electronic desk.

Michigan charter school authorizers face suspension

LANSING, Mich. – State Superintendent Mike Flanagan is putting 11 of Michigan’s 40 charter school authorizers on notice of possible suspension.

If suspended, the public universities, community colleges and school districts couldn’t open more charter schools. Their current schools could stay open.

Flanagan said Monday the authorizers are deficient in transparency, accountability and fiscal governance. Their schools as a whole rank in the bottom 10 percent academically.

Authorizers at risk of suspension have until Oct. 22 to remediate their deficiencies. Flanagan will decide in November whether to suspend them.

Authorizers at risk are Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan, Kellogg Community College and school districts in Detroit, Highland Park and Muskegon Heights. The state-run Education Achievement Authority and Macomb Intermediate School District also are in jeopardy.

I should note that Ferris State are the authorizers for the Connections Academy cyber charters in the state, and Grand Valley are the authorizers for the K12, Inc. cyber charters.

At about the same time, these entries came across Diane Ravitch’s blog:

Interesting read, with K-12 online learning overtones…

Plugged In | 08.25.14 | (powered by iNACOL)

This would normally have been posted last night, but due to the guest blog entry it is delayed by about 10-12 hours.  So, starting the day with news from the neo-liberals in yesterday’s inbox…

To view this email as a web page, go here.
International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)
The Telegraph
Not so long ago, the back to school season was marked by a dash to Woolworths for exercise books and colouring pencils. Today it’s not just the shop that’s gone; books and pencils are joined by Chromebook laptops and tablet computers as educational…
The MetroWest Daily News
As students return to the classroom, they have more avenues for online education that help prepare them for college and the workforce, provide opportunities to take classes they otherwise could not and offer an alternative way to learn, officials say. While some…
On August 11, 2014, leaders from our four NH PACE-implementing school districts gathered, along with our partners, Dan French and staff from the Center for Collaborative Education and Scott Marion of the Center for Assessment. PACE stands for…
The New York Times
When it comes to books on public education, we crave a diet of meat as red as a teacher’s cruel pen. In case you plan to write one, here’s a brief primer: 1) Pick a contentious and complex topic, like charter schools, teacher evaluations or standardized…
The Frederick News-Post
When Middletown High School social studies teacher Jen Brennan first heard what the Common Core State Standards would entail, she panicked. “How do you get ninth-graders to read only nonfiction?” she said. The privately developed, federally supported…
The Greenville News
As thousands of Upstate children hopped in big yellow school buses and headed off to big brick schoolhouses last week, the state’s virtual schools hit the “on” button and booted up another year of cyber education. South Carolina was ahead of the curve six years ago…
Many teachers are excited about trying games in the classroom but don’t know where to begin. The landscape of learning games is vast and confusing – and it’s growing and changing rapidly. Moving at the pace of the software industry, games are often…
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Grit – it’s been a hot term in education. To succeed, students need grit, meaning determination, persistence, the capacity to deal with challenges, and resilience when something doesn’t go right. Schools need grit, too. That’s true in any circumstance, but…
The Denver Post
The technological breakthroughs of the Information Age have been impacting education at both the K-12 and college level. This has caused many debates about the value of online education, and criticism of newer online programs with open and free resources. But…
Getting Smart
It is outrageous that the NCAA is deciding what constitutes good instruction – specifically effective student-teacher interaction – and becoming a de facto national regulator of online learning. Thousands of student athletes are ineligible to compete in college because…
The Salt Lake Tribune
Last school year, teacher Pam Loveridge faced her toughest group of students yet. Within a few months, nearly 40 of her 200 middle school math students were failing – much higher than the normal two. She knew she had to do something dramatic. So she flipped her…
Rumors were circulating on Twitter that a teen pop sensation was dead, and it was my job to get the story. Of course, eyewitness accounts varied, the facts were shifting quickly and I had an editor texting me every few minutes, asking me where the story was. I was…
2014 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium


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August 25, 2014

Guest Blogger: Teach Young People About The Gaps In Access To Education With This Free Online Game!

This is a guest post by Sarah Hutchison, an educational consultant with SPARK Global Learning, who is working on behalf of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

mind-the-gapAs the deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals looms (September 2015), the world is looking closely at whether we will reach the aim of providing universal access to primary education. Although significant gains have been made since the goal was set, progress in recent years has slowed. At the time of the World Education Forum in 2000, there were 102 million children out of school. That number had dropped to 58 million by 2012. Yet data show that the world is still unlikely to achieve universal access by 2015. Watch this for more: Video: Data Tell Us

As the new school year approaches turn your focus to a resource that examines these gaps and inequities in access to education around the world. Explore the online game Mind the Gap: Gender and Education.

mindthegapStatistics come alive with a click of a button allowing users to easily compare and contrast the education of children, adolescents, students and adults living in different countries around the world. Access to education for girls versus boys is explored along with some of the reasons why gaps still exist. Online learning is bolstered by engaging facilitated activities found in the accompanying Facilitator Guide.

This guide provides an introduction to the topic of gender and education, gives a framework for exploring the online data tool, and suggests further ways to extend learning. The activities are most suitable for young people in grades 5 through 10 participating in classroom settings, clubs and youth groups, and homeschools that are exploring global citizenships and education themes.

Neat idea! Explore this topic with young people on International Literacy Day, September 8.

Note: The tool is available in English, French and Spanish. The guide is available in English and French.

This is a guest post by Sarah Hutchison, an educational consultant with SPARK Global Learning, who is working on behalf of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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