Virtual School Meanderings

January 7, 2011

HICE 2011 – Motivation In High School Student Success: The Case Of Aboriginal E-Learners In Rural And Remote Canada

The final session that I am able to blog from the 9th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education was:

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 AM 1/7/2011 Room: Iolani 5
Session Topic: Cross-disciplinary Areas of Education
Session Chair: Richardson, Jeanita

Motivation in High School Student Success: The Case of Aboriginal E-Learners in Rural and Remote Canada
Bourgeois, Monique – Memorial University of Newfoundland
Sharpe, Dennis – Memorial University of Newfoundland
Philpott, David – Memorial University of Newfoundland

And you can see all of the K-12 Online Learning presentations that I was able to find in the program.

Monique began with her background of growing up in a small, rural, economically depressed community and how she was not motivated as a high school student, but at some point during her undergraduate studies was “bitten by the bug” and became interested in motivation in education.  She continued with some background about the study itself, which was a part of the larger Killick Centre for e-Learning Research in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, specifically part of the Participation of High School Students in the Isolated Aboriginal Communities of Coastal Labrador in Web-delivered Learning (Aboriginal Study). One of the main issues within this particular line of inquiry was looking for ways to address the 25% drop-out rate among aboriginal youth (and I’m not positive I caught that statistic correctly).

This particular presentation was focused on the second phase of the study.  The first phase explored challenges related to e-learning in aboriginal communities in Labrador (I believe the EDGE 2010 – Where Do We Go From Here? A Canadian Perspective On Aboriginal E‐Learning presentation that I blogged about this past Fall). The main finding from this first phase, was if e-learning projects were to be expanded, obstacles to student learning needed to be removed.

The second phase of the study was a pan-Canadian study that examined whether other e-learning educators were finding similar obstacles to those found in Labrador and what they were doing to overcome those obstacles.  The study used a snowball sample, based on initial recommendations from Ministries of Education and then from study participants.  The data collection methods were primarily interviews, although two participants choose to submit the data via an e-mail questionnaire.

There were three main challenges that were found:

  1. Technological competence
  2. Student Dispositions
  3. Context/Culture

Challenges that were across the board:

  • Technology competence: Limited knowledge of technology – high school
  • Student Dispositions: Lack of focus – high school students

Challenges that seemed to be more focused on programs serving aboriginal populations included:

  • Technology competence: technology not valued culturally – some no experience, students typically tend to be older, less technologically competent
  • Student Dispositions: need for face-to-face interaction, need for greater individual attention, need for intrinsic/self motivation, need for independent learning skills, need for hands-on approach (problem solving), need for extrinsic motivation (“bigger picture)
  • Context/Culture: historical trauma, primacy of community ways of life, limited literacy, other social/emotional issues, culturally insensitive institutions (curriculum/pedagogy), rigid school structure (related to previous)

Some of the strategies for success that were listed:

Technology

  • Early technology integration
  • Orientation packages
  • Integrate technology into the communities

Student Dispositions

  • Screening
  • Special education help/alternative programming
  • Communicate student responsibilities
  • Support systems (e.g., parental, teacher, community, local facilitation, face-to-face)
  • Quick feedback (immediacy
  • Community
  • Instructor-led pedagogy (specifically in mathematics courses)
  • Less text-based course design
  • Structured courses
  • Shorter class period
  • Face-to-face contact with teacher/other students

Cultural/Contextual/Institutional

  • Culturally relevant curriculum
  • Trust/good relationships
  • Community involvement in education
  • Balanced approach to student encouragement
  • Less text (literacy)
  • Flexible course structure with option of synchronous modality
  • Short (modularized courses
  • Skills upgrading (foundation courses)

Based on these strategies, Monique identified four best practices.

  1. Modularized (continuous intake programs in addition to structure one)
  2. Redress contextual factor
  3. Local facilitator is essential
  4. Ultimately “success” needs defining (graduation rates may not be success for many of these aboriginal communities)

I will admit that Monique prepared more material than she was able to share, so had to rush through some of her discussion (which is reflected in my notes).

HICE 2011 – Together@Distance: Online Learning In The Pan Arctic

The second session that I am able to blog from the 9th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education was:

Time: 1:15 – 2:45 PM 1/6/2011 Room: Nautilus 2
Session Topic: Education Technology
Session Chair: Rubrecht, Brian

Together@Distance – Online Learning in the Pan Arctic

Childs, Elizabeth – Government of Nunavut
Armstrong, Collene – Government of Nunavut

And you can see all of the K-12 Online Learning And The 9th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education that I was able to find in the program.

The session itself wasn’t about K-12 online learning in the end, it was focused on adult basic education (i.e., literacy) at a distance for Inuit communities, primarily in the territory of Nunavut.

The territory of Nunavut includes 25 communities spread out over 20% of Canada’s landmass.  There is a population of about 30,000 and 80%+ speak Inuktitut as a first language (which is also the official language of the territory).  On the K-12 front, there are 43 schools, 650 teachers and 8800 students.  Internet access is provided through satellite, largely by a number of different territorial and federal Government programs.  There is now at least one commercial provider operating in some portions of the territory (although the cost is prohibitive for the vast majority of residents to have home access).

The education in the territory is based upon the aboriginal or Inuit belief of Inunnguiniq – making a human being.

What We Know

  • “Surprisingly large number of Inuit and non-Inuit are seeking out distance learning opportunities at the secondary and post-secondary level.”
  • “Southern distance education courses rarely meet the needs of Nunavut students in context, cultural, relevance, and pedagogy.”

Together @ a Distance is the name of the actual project and it is available at:

Moodle Site – http://ndlp.ca
Portal Site – http://togetheratadistance.ca/portal

The project has created five freely available courses that may be of interest to VSM readers:

  1. What is e-learning
  2. How to adapt an e-course
  3. How to teach an e-course
  4. How to design an e-course
  5. How to facilitate an e-course

The presenters then went through the actual online adult literacy research project (which I didn’t get many notes from).  Both presenters were quite friendly after the session ended, and if you have any questions beyond what my notes have provided I would suggest contacting them at:

Collene Armstrong – collene-dot-armstrong-at-pointsnorth-dot-ca
Dr. Elizabeth Childs – echilds-at-telus-dot-net

January 6, 2011

HICE 2011 – Two Poster Sessions

This week I have been attending the 9th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education (and after scanning the program I posted the entry K-12 Online Learning And The 9th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education – as is my usual practice). Thus far, it has been difficult to do much conference blogging – both because I’ve had to step out of sessions to work on the two NSF proposals that were due today and because the conference does not provide wifi in any of the conference session rooms (only in the main registration area). Having said that, I did take some notes and images from one of the poster sessions yesterday, so I am able to post an entry about that session.

There were actually two posters that were focused on K-12 online learning in the room:

Poster Session: Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM 1/5/2011 Room: Coral 3

Using Instant Messaging to Improve Student Engagement in Online Courses

Kiekel, Jean – VHS, Inc and University of Houston

Going Virtual! 2010:  Status of Professional Development for K-12 Online Teachers

Rice, Kerry – Boise State University
Dawley, Lisa – Boise State University
Hinck, Glori – Boise State University

Beginning with the first one, I spoke with Jean Kiekel for a short period – primarily about herself and her background in K-12 online learning, and less about her individual poster (see images below).


Click on the images for a larger version

Jean told me that she has been with the Virtual High School since 2001, when she first created the Advanced Placement Economics (I didn’t catch if it was macro or micro). From a research standpoint, her interest in examining K-12 online learning came during her attendance at an AP exam reading, when she had a chance to chat with someone who had taught the same course with APEX (and this individual indicated that he didn’t recommend to his students to take the AP exam because he didn’t think the online course adequately prepared them for the exam).  This led her to eventually complete her dissertation examining quality online course design with VHS (international), Michigan Virtual School (statewide), and a district-based program (and I didn’t catch the name or geographic location – but I vaguely recall Kentucky or Kansas).

Her current line of research focuses upon examining her own online teaching and how she can use a variety of tools to improve the student experience.  In the case of this particular study, the tool was instant messaging and then looked at the student perceptions. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t catch whether the advantages and disadvantages were from systematically collected data or simply from her perceptions and the unsystematic, informal feedback from the students.

The other poster was from the Boise State University team.  While all three folks were there, Lisa’s and Kerry’s doctoral student Glori was the one who carried most of the “presenting” load (in good doctoral mentoring fashion, as I’m sure Glori appreciated the experience with Kerry and Lisa only an arms length away in case she did run into questions she couldn’t answer).

Click on the image for a larger version

I didn’t take much in the way of notes from this session (in fact I sat back and chatted with Kerry and Lisa for the most part). The poster was focused on the third report in the Going Virtual! Series.  If you aren’t familiar with this series, you can visit the following:

And those were all of my notes from this poster session.

January 2, 2011

K-12 Online Learning And The 9th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education

This week I will be attending the 9th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education.  As is my practice, I have scanned the program looking for terms like virtual, cyber, online, blended, web-based, e-learning, etc.; along with the usual presenters, to find a list of all of the K-12 online learning sessions.  I present that list below.

Tuesday

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 AM 1/4/2011 Room: Nautilus 1
Session Topic: Distance Education
Session Chair: Barbour, Michael

Examining the Development and Challenges of K-12 Online Learning
Barbour, Michael – Wayne State University

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 AM 1/4/2011 Room: Nautilus 2
Session Topic: Education Technology
Session Chair: Raby, Carole

The Impact of an Online Homework Assistance Program for Elementary School Students: Five Years of Results
Raby, Carole – University of Quebec in Montreal
Plante, Isabelle – New York University
Boegner-Page, Sarah – University of Quebec in Montreal
Jean, Marie-Noelle – Montreal School Board
Tourigny, Roxane – University of Quebec in Montreal

Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM 1/4/2011 Room: Nautilus 2
Session Topic: Education Technology
Session Chair: Penny, Chris

The Community Building Process among Young Learners in a Virtual Collaborative Environment
Sigler, Sharyn – Oswalt Academy, Rowland Unified School District
Lotfipour, Shahnaz – California State Polytechnic U.

Wednesday

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 AM 1/5/2011 Room: Nautilus 1
Session Topic: Distance Education
Session Chair: Mumford, Vincent

Preparing 20th Century Teachers to Engage the 21st Century Learner
Mumford, Vincent – Virginia Union University
Fuller, David – Macon State College
Evans, W. Franklin – Virginia Union University

Online Teaching Needs Assessment
Davis, Lacy – University of Louisiana Monroe
Absher, Ashley – University of Louisiana Monroe
Choi, Jessica Yung – University of Louisiana Monroe
Jones, Quinton – University of Louisiana Monroe
Sivakumaran, Thillainatarajan – University of Louisiana Monroe

Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM 1/5/2011 Room: Coral 3
Poster Session

Using Instant Messaging to Improve Student Engagement in Online Courses
Kiekel, Jean – VHS, Inc and University of Houston

Going Virtual! 2010:  Status of Professional Development for K-12 Online Teachers
Rice, Kerry – Boise State University
Dawley, Lisa – Boise State University
Hinck, Glori – Boise State University

Thursday

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 AM 1/6/2011 Room: Nautilus 1
Session Topic: Distance Education
Session Chair: Chen, Yu-Jung

Examining the Effects of Virtual Schooling Curriculum on Preparing Teachers to Support Virtual Schooling
Barbour, Michael – Wayne State University
Unger, Kelly – Wayne State University

Time: 1:15 – 2:45 PM 1/6/2011 Room: Nautilus 2
Session Topic: Education Technology
Session Chair: Rubrecht, Brian

Together@Distance – Online Learning in the Pan Arctic
Childs, Elizabeth – Government of Nunavut
Armstrong, Collene – Government of Nunavut

Friday

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 AM 1/7/2011 Room: Iolani 5
Session Topic: Cross-disciplinary Areas of Education
Session Chair: Richardson, Jeanita

Motivation in High School Student Success: The Case of Aboriginal E-Learners in Rural and Remote Canada
Bourgeois, Monique – Memorial University of Newfoundland
Sharpe, Dennis – Memorial University of Newfoundland
Philpott, David – Memorial University of Newfoundland

Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM 1/7/2011 Room: Coral 3
Poster Session

The George Washington university Online High School: A new Collaborative Venture
Ianacone, Robert – George Washington University

I’ll do my best to blog some of these sessions (and maybe remember to record my own for later podcasts).

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