Virtual School Meanderings

November 17, 2011

Visiting Kiwi – Lambton Kent District School Board E-Learning

This guest post is part of a series that is being contributed by Jan Galloway, a secondary science teacher at Burnside Secondary School. This entry is part of the series Series – A Visiting Kiwi.

Sarnia Education Centre – This centre co-ordinates e-learning of the district board.

http://www.lkdsb.net/program1/Secondary/e-learning/index.htm

Observations

  • This board has been involved in e-learning longer than the Ontario Ministry.
  • They work to the Ontario provincial curricula.
  • The need arose mostly because of declining rolls in rural school which meant it was becoming increasingly difficult for these schools to offer the necessary courses.
  • Different boards within the Ontario Consortium developed their own courses but they do share and there is a web site that allows for commonality between boards and allows students to be tracked. The web site has an automated email system that sends out an email to the relevant people if a students status changes.
  • Google Educator is used.
  • Students have pages on Google Educator where they display their work and it can be critiqued by other students. This is a type of e-portfolio
  • The centre co-ordinator indicated that students missed the human contact if there was none.
  • At the beginning of a course, students have to navigate their way through an orientation page before they can begin the course. This page will get them to do various tasks e.g. sending an email to the teacher, sharing a page.
  • The centre has alternative programs for others e.g. adult students, at risk students.
  • The blended courses use the Ministry courses but within the classroom and in this situation, they do not work at their own pace but at the pace common to the class.
  • The Ontario Ministry provides the LMS free to the schools and will also provide the courses free.
  • Teachers have the freedom to develop their own resources on the LMS
  • All students are in traditional high schools.
  • Students who do the course at a distance have to have it as part of their normal school timetable, as they would any subject that they do on campus.

This guest post is part of a series that is being contributed by Jan Galloway, a secondary science teacher at Burnside Secondary School. This entry is part of the series Series – A Visiting Kiwi.

July 5, 2009

Online Education – In Ontario

I received this e-mail a few days ago and I wanted to share it with folks and see if any others had feedback.

Thank-you very much for your many and varied contributions to online learning!! I have been reading some of your reviews, specifically geared to the K12 audience, and have also listened to some of your audio recordings currently online! Your contributions and vision in this area are greatly appreciated by parents such as myself who are currently choosing to homeschool our children. The many resources and sites of information you have led me to through your discussions and papers have made my job tremendously more successful, so thank-you for your work thus far!

I am writing as I have been researching online schools for our son, who is soon to be starting. We have found one school in particular that has a very engaging format for young children in the form of video teaching and wondered if you wouldn’t mind providing some feedback on our tentative choice, based on your overview and insight as to what is available to us. We have focused in on http://www.bjupress.com after having viewed the samples of their video content lessons. However, we reside in Guelph, Ontario and are concerned about the American focus of some of the areas of study. We have been able to compensate for this through http://www.donnaward.net website for the geography and social studies aspects. The imperial versus metric, and the spelling components will be something we will also need to address. So as a result of these conflicts in curriculum, we wondered if you knew of something in Canada which is able to provide video teaching in a similarly engaging and detailed format. So far, we are drawing a blank in that regard and would appreciate your guidance in providing us with some insight as to where to search.

Again, I thank-you for your many contributions to the development of online education in Canada!!! It is truly exciting to see the many directions of your past and current work.

I responded by thanking them for the comments and then suggesting:

There are several options that may be available to you.

One is that you could enroll in one or more courses offered by the private virtual schools in the province. One is Virtual High School (Ontario) (see http://www.virtualhighschool.com/ ) and the other is the Ottawa-Carleton eSchool (see http://www.ottawacarletone-school.ca/ ).

Another would be public school options in your area. The Ontario eLearning Consortium (see http://oelc.ca/ ) is a group of school districts that have partnered together to share their online course resources with each other to allow each of them to increase their course offerings. The Ministry of Education changed the regulations in the past few years to allow for schools to allow districts to receive funding for students enrolled in their online courses, even if the students weren’t enrolled in the school for any face-to-face courses.

There are also some fee-based options in the United States that are also worth exploring. If your child is old enough to be considering Advanced Placement courses, I would recommend any of the courses offered by APEX Learning (see http://www.apexlearning.com/ ). None of the state-wide or even the cyber charter options would be available, as they can’t accept students beyond the borders of their own states (at least I don’t think they can).

I’m not sure if there are other Canadian private options outside of Ontario that would accept a student from Ontario. Or if a student from Ontario could avail themselves of public online options available in other provinces.

So, any one have any additional suggestions for a student in this position in Ontario?

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