Virtual School Meanderings

November 24, 2014

The Pulse Newsletter: November Edition

From Friday’s inbox…

Florida Virtual School
The Pulse. A newsletter for FLVS Parents and Students
The Pulse Newsletter: November Edition
Dear Michael,


Want to make a 26-second PSA for the Florida Department of Education Celebrate Literacy Contest? Ready to try an Hour of Code?

Then be sure to read this issue of The Pulse, our newsletter for FLVS parents and students!

Click here to view the November newsletter.

In this edition:



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News from the NEPC: Report Urges Caution on Personalized Learning

From the inbox this morning…

Research and analysis to inform education policy
and promote democratic deliberation
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Report Urges Caution on Approaches Equating Technology in Schools with Personalized Learning

Citing the absence of research showing clear benefits for expanding computer use in education, policy brief recommends incremental approach


William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058,

Noel Enyedy, (310) 206-6271,

URL for this press release:

BOULDER, CO CO (Nov. 24, 2014) – The use of computers in the classroom – or even instead of classrooms – has generated renewed enthusiasm in influential circles. Advocates of significantly advancing the practice often refer to greater reliance on computer-based learning as “Personalized Instruction.”

Yet while its potential merits thoughtful small-scale adoption, there is little evidence that marrying digital technology to education has changed schooling for the better, according to a new policy brief published today by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC).

The reasons for such lackluster results are many, according to the report’s author, Noel Enyedy, associate professor of education and information studies at the University of California-Los Angeles. Chief among them is the absence of a clear model for what actually constitutes “Personalized Instruction”; advocates of the practice apply the term to a wide range of approaches to teaching that rely heavily on online or other digital resources.

“Computers are now commonplace in the classroom, but teaching practices often look similar, as do learning outcomes,” Enyedy writes in his policy brief, Personalized Instruction: New Interest, Old Rhetoric, Limited Results, and the Need for a New Direction for Computer-Mediated Learning. The brief is published today by the NEPC, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.

“After more than 30 years, Personalized Instruction is still producing incremental change,” Enyedy writes. Large-scale studies, including meta-analyses, of Personalized Instruction programs “show mixed results ranging from modest impacts to no impact.”

Additionally, Enyedy points out, the highest potential for benefits appears to reside principally with so-called blended instruction programs, which make use of traditional classroom teaching in close alignment with elements that might be delivered via computer, including online. Blended learning done well, he notes, is more expensive than traditional education – undermining the frequent claim that computerized instruction can help achieve significant fiscal savings.

In light of the growing interest – yet lack of evidence to support – sweeping changes in schooling that would rely on digital media, Enyedy offers a series of recommendations for policymakers and researchers:

  • While continuing to invest in technology, policymakers should do so incrementally. They should view skeptically claims and promotion of computerized learning that oversteps what can be concluded from available research evidence.
  • Policymakers and researchers should clearly distinguish among the key features of technologies being used in education so that research and discussions can revolve around shared ideas and concretely defined practices.
  • Much more research is needed in the K-12 education context, because the evidence primarily cited is extrapolated from research involving undergraduate students and in the professions, “where developmental and motivational factors differ,” Enyedy observes.
  • Policymakers should encourage developers of educational technologies to work with researchers and teachers in testing and validating particular software and hardware tools: “We cannot trust market forces alone to sort out which systems are effective.”
  • When investing in technology to be used in education, school administrators must ensure that there is “substantial professional development for teachers” to go with it.
  • Everyone involved with schools must understand that Personalized Instruction is just one of several models for using computers in the classroom, and all need to be open to considering alternative approaches to making greater use of technology in the learning process.

“It may be that we need to turn to new ways of conceptualizing the role of technology in the classroom—conceptualizations that do not assume the computer will provide direct instruction to students, but instead will serve to create new opportunities for both learning and teaching,” Enyedy concludes.

Find Noel Enyedy’s report,Personalized Instruction: New Interest, Old Rhetoric, Limited Results, and the Need for a New Direction for Computer-Mediated Learning, on the web at:
The mission of theNational Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on NEPC, please visit

This policy brief was made possible in part by the support of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (

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The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. Its mission is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information about the NEPC, please visit


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AERA15 Insider – November 2014

From last week’s inbox…

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AERA15 Insider
November 2014

The AERA Annual Meeting is the largest gathering of scholars in the field of education research and a showcase for ground-breaking, innovative studies in a diverse array of areas. It is where to encounter ideas and data that will shape tomorrow’s education practices and policies, and where to connect with leading thinkers from the U.S. and around the world. Leading up to the 2015 Annual Meeting, AERA15 Insider will provide a monthly glance at meeting highlights and features. Join us April 16-20 for five rewarding days of ideas, engagement, networking, and professional advancement.

In this Issue:

New at the Annual Meeting

Onsite AERA Career Center

Welcoming Orientation

Discover Chicago

April 16–20, 2015


Registration and housing will open

Online program available in mid-February.

About the Theme
The 2015 Annual Meeting theme is intended to focus our attention on justice—locally as well as globally—in a spirit of mutually respectful collaborative engagement with our disciplines and modes of inquiry in the context of the world around us. Read more

New at the 2015 AERA Annual Meeting
Education Research-to-Performance Youth Apprentice Program Research Festival

Participants in the AERA Education Research-to-Performance Youth Apprentice Program will exhibit their developing and ongoing work during a Research Festival at the Annual Meeting. Under the guidance of senior education researchers, high school students will participate in a series of activities—performances, exhibits, and paper and poster presentations—designed to enhance their appreciation of education research, deepen their engagement in it, and inspire them to recognize just how powerful and persuasive knowledge production can be.

Looking for a New Opportunity?
Take Advantage of the Onsite AERA Career Center

The AERA Career Center is an onsite space at the Annual Meeting where employers and job seekers meet for prescheduled interviews. Job seekers have the chance to meet with recruiters and hiring employers. Employers have the rare opportunity to meet with multiple job candidates of the highest caliber all in one location. Registration opens in December.

New to AERA or the Annual Meeting?
Get Your Bearings at the Welcoming Orientation

New members and first-time meeting attendees are encourage to attend an hour-long orientation session the morning of April 17. Chaired by AERA President Joyce E. King, President-Elect Jeannie Oakes, and Executive Director Felice J. Levine, the session will offer an opportunity to learn more about AERA, the benefits of membership, and how to navigate the Annual Meeting.

Discover Chicago
An American Treasure

Chicago is more than just a big city. Besides its striking downtown, which includes some of the tallest buildings in the world, Chicago has a distinctive coastline, hundreds of vibrant parks and more than 200 unique neighborhoods. It’s this truly distinctive mix of global attractions and local charm that make this city second to none. Visit the AERA Chicago Tourism website for information on attractions, tours, museums, dining, getting around, and more.

2015 Annual Meeting PageTheme | General Info | Program Info | Registration | 
Meeting Services | Housing & Travel | Visiting Chicago | Exhibitor Info | Contact AERA
2015 Annual Meeting
“Toward Justice: Culture, Language, and Heritage in
Education Research and Praxis”
Thursday, April 16Monday, April 20, 2015
Chicago, Illinois


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November 23, 2014

Worth A Read

From Friday’s inbox…

Worth A Read

The Perils of Edutourism

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 09:00 PM PST

Tom Loveless discusses edutourism – traveling the world to look for educational solutions. He sees three “perils” in this endeavor: (1) selecting on the dependent variable; (2) small, non-random sampling; (3) and confirmation bias. “The critique above is not meant to discourage edutourism, but to identify its vulnerability to misuse.”

Does Better Observation Make Better Teachers?

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 09:00 PM PST

Matthew P. Steinberg and Lauren Sartain look into the Excellence in Teaching Project (EITP), a teacher evaluation system in the Chicago Public Schools.

State education board [Michigan] urges Legislature to transform how schools are funded

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 09:00 PM PST

Teaching Residency Programs: A Multisite Look at a New Model to Prepare Teachers for High-Need Schools

Posted: 18 Nov 2014 09:00 PM PST

A recent report prepared by IES by Mathematica Policy Research looked at teacher residency programs that received funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

Site to Help Researchers and Practitioners Build Partnerships

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 09:00 PM PST

Sarah Sparks shares information about a new website, developed to share information supported by research partnerships. “The site was developed in part to help those developing partnerships understand ‘they don’t have to reinvent the wheel,’ said Vivian Tseng, the vice president for programs at the Grant Foundation. ‘There’s a lot of resources and tacit knowledge that are available, regardless of the type of partnership they are developing.'”

Educational Management Turned on Its Head: Exploring a Professional Ethic for Educational Leadership

Posted: 13 Nov 2014 09:00 PM PST

Marla Susman Israel reviews William C. Frick’s new book: “Educational Management Turned on Its Head: Exploring a Professional Ethic for Educational Leadership.”

ProQuest/EBSCO Alerts

proquestBeginning with the ProQuest Alert for virtual school.

Commission OKs contract talks for virtual charter schoolRussell, Eric. Kennebec Journal [Augusta, Me] 14 Nov 2014: 1.A.

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Second virtual charter school approved in MaineGluckman, Nell. McClatchy – Tribune Business News [Washington] 14 Nov 2014.

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Commission OKs contract talks for virtual charter schoolRussell, Eric. Morning Sentinel [Waterville, Me] 14 Nov 2014: 1.A.

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AUGUSTA — The Maine Charter School Commission voted Thursday to… [Derived headline]Russell, Eric. Morning Sentinel[Waterville, Me] 14 Nov 2014: 1.A.

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Maine panel supports second virtual school, to start contract talksRussell, Eric. Portland Press Herald [Portland, Me] 14 Nov 2014: A.1.

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Second virtual charter school approved in MaineGluckman, Nell. Bangor Daily News [Bangor, Me] 13 Nov 2014.

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State-run virtual school meritsKennebec Journal [Augusta, Me] 13 Nov 2014: 1.A.

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EDITORIAL: State-run virtual school should get second chance in AugustaMcClatchy – Tribune Business News [Washington] 13 Nov 2014.

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State authorizes contract talks for Maine’s second virtual charter schoolRussell, Eric. McClatchy – Tribune Business News[Washington] 13 Nov 2014.

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Virtual school offers choiceKathy Ryan Cole. Ocala Star – Banner [Ocala, Fla] 13 Nov 2014.

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City controller blasts charter school fundingWilliams, Damon C. Philadelphia Tribune [Philadelphia, Pa] 24 Oct 2014: 7A.

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Why AT&T Is Investing in Virtual SchoolKitroeff, Natalie. Business Week (Oct 20-Oct 26, 2014): 1.

Link to full text

Next, I did not receive the ProQuest alert for cyber school.

ebscoMoving on to the EBSCO alerts for both the virtual school and cyber school, which I did receive but there were not relevant items.

Finally, I did not receive a copy of the EBSCO alert for K-12 online learning.

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