Virtual School Meanderings

July 23, 2009

FLVS Game: Conspiracy Code

Filed under: 360Ed,academia,academic,Achieve3000,administration,administrator,administrators,assistant principals,CASTLE,college,colleges,conferences,Conspiracy Code,cyber school,district,districts,edublog,edublogosphere,edublogs,education,educational administration,educational gaming,educational leadership,educational technology,educational technology leadership,eSchool News,Florida Virtual School,FLVS,games,Games Learning & Society 2009,gaming,GLS 2009,high school,higher education,Hugh Grant,ISTE,Julie Young,leaders,leadership,leadership development,leadership preparation,leadership training,learners,learning,McLeod,NECC,necc09,news,Notting Hill,postsecondary,presentations,principal,principals,professional development,research,school,school administration,school administrator,school administrators,school districts,school leaders,school principals,school superintendents,schools,Scott McLeod,scottmcleod,staff development,student,students,superintendent,superintendents,teacher,teachers,teaching,technology,technology coordinators,technology integration,technology leadership,training,UCEA,universities,university,virtual school,Wisconsin — Michael Barbour @ 1:33 pm
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conspiracy_codeAbout a month ago I first posted an entry about a presentation at the 2009 Games, Learning & Society conference about a game created for the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) called “Conspiracy Code” (see K-12 Online Learning And Games, Learning & Society 2009).

So, a week or two ago, I noticed that Scott McLeod had posted an entry entitled “NECC – My adventures with Horse & Hound magazine: Florida Virtual School, Achieve3000” on his blog Dangerously Irrelevant.  In this entry, he describes his experiences with an interview he conducted with Julie Young and Andy Ross of the FLVS about this US-history game that they use to teach the year long course.

Take a look at Scott’s entry – and the Vimeo video (which you can access by clicking on the image too), and tell me what you think.  In addition to the video, Scott has also posted this printed material:

In my earlier entry about this I mentioned that I thought the Academic ADL Co-Lab at the University of Wisconsin–Madison may be involved in this project – but have later found out that they were approached, but decided they weren’t interested as the project began to move forward (and I’d be interested in hearing some of the reasons why if anyone wanted to comment here or e-mail me privately).

Finally, after posting his original entry Scott has had some additional thoughts about gaming in education – see Do most educational games suck?

Note that I have used both my own tags and all of the tags that Scott used for his original entry as well – which accounts for the higher than usual number of tags and categories.

July 15, 2009

Online Education Technology Degree Opportunities

This showed up in my inbox yesterday and I don’t know much about it, nor do I endorse the specific programs they have listed below.  Having said that,it appears that for those folks who may be interested MindStreams will pay the application fees and graduation fees of any teacher who may be interested in completing a degree programs from one of their partners.  All you have to do is attend one of the two webinars listed below.

As I know that may of my readers are online teachers, I felt that I should pass this opportunity on and let those individuals who are interested and attend the webinar make the decision about quality of the particular degree programs on their own.  Note that I do not endorse any of these programs and caanot speak to the quality (or lack thereof) for any specific program, that is for you to determine!

I just wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on a legitimate opportunity, particularly one that could save them money, because they didn’t know about it.

Online Education Technology Degree Programs for Teachers - Mind Streams

Jump start your Career by taking advantage of specially designed
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Here is an example of some of the newly added online degree programs that can help propel your career in the Education field and emerge you as a leader with K-12 technology integration.

  • Master of Education in e-Learning Technology and Design
  • Master of Education in K-12 Instructional Technology Master of Education in K-12 Instructional Technology: Teacher Licensure
  • Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Technology
  • Master of Science Technology Management

Mind Streams will pay the University Application AND Graduation fees for any person that applies to any one of our University partners!
That’s a $250.00 SAVINGS!!!

Find out more information by attending our Free Web Seminar …

Online Education Technology Degree Programs

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Additional information on Mind Streams and our variety of services can
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Click Here to sign up for more information or if you have any questions

image Mind Streams

January 18, 2009

Certificate In K-12 Online Learning Management

Another item from the iNACOL forums.  I don’t recall if Marla e-mailed this to me directly and I posted it earlier, but I wanted to post the message here and then provide a few comments to get the item out there.

The Master of Distance Education program at XXXXXXXXX is considering the addition of a certificate in K-12 Online Education Management, to be offered in collaboration with the Ed Tech program. If you are currently working in a K-12 school, we’d love to know what courses you think should be included in this certificate, which will seek to meet the professional development needs of managers and administrators in online education, including both certificated positions and leadership of departments such as instructional design, student support, marketing, and other non-certificated positions requiring a business background.

To share your thoughts, please complete this survey—it should take 15 minutes or less, and consists of current offerings from the MDE and Ed Tech departments as well as an opportunity to suggest courses that haven’t been developed yet. We hope you’ll select all the courses that look like they’d help you in your work right now, or any that look like they would cover the things you wish you’d known when you first started out.

I haven’t included the link to the survey, as I believe that they have finished collecting their data (Marla Coffey, if you’re reading this and that isn’t the case let me know and I’ll post the link to the survey so you can get more responses).

While I’m not posting the link to the survey, there are bits of information from the document that I wanted to re-produce here:


January 14, 2009

Telelearning And Rural School Teaching

So, two days ago I brought up the former Diploma in Telelearning and Rural School Teaching that was offered the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland (see Teaching And Learning Online).  Specifically I said:

I would go a step further and say that while there are a number of courses and even programs that focus upon distance education or online learning, that none are specifically focused upon K-12 distance education or K-12 online learning.  The closest that I can think of, may be a Diploma in Telelearning and Rural School Teaching that was offered by the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland from around 2000-01 until at least 2003-04 – however, a view of the current calendar indicates that the program is no longer on the books (I’ll post another entry last this week that looks at this lost program).

Seeing as this is a new year, I’m trying to keep up with these promises to post follow-up messages – that way I don’t get too far behind.  Anyway, what can I saw about this program.  Well, it appears that the diploma program came about as the result of external funding obtained by Ken Stevens and Harvey Weir in 1998.  A year earlier was when Memorial created the now defunct Centre for Telelearning and Rural Education (link via the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive) and hired Ken Stevens as the New Chair in TeleLearning for Memorial University (note that Ken still maintains an appointment at Memorial, even if the Centre no longer exists).  The general purpose and vision of the Centre were described in an article that Ken wrote fo Prospects magazine entitled “The Place of Telelearning in the Development of Rural Schools in Newfoundland and Labrador“.

The diploma program itself required that students complete six courses:

Education 4900: TeleLearning in a Rural School Intranet
Education 4901: Effective Teaching Strategies for Multi-grade/Multi-age Classrooms
Education 4902: Special Needs in the Context of Rural Schools
Education 4903: Leadership Perspectives in Rural Schools
Education 4904: Contemporary Educational Issues in Rural Schools
Education 4905: Resource-based Learning in the Context of Rural Schools

And take another four courses from the following list:

Education 4906: Career Development in the Context of Rural Schools
Education 4907: Curriculum Connections in Multi-grade/Multi-age Classrooms
Education 4908: Rural Schools and Community Relationships
Education 4909: Rural Schools as Community Learning Centres
Education 4910: Curriculum Implementation in All-grade Rural Schools
Education 4911: TeleTeaching in a Virtual Classroom
Education 4912: Student Assessment in the Context of Rural Schools
Education 4916: General Classroom Music
Education 4920-4930:   Special Topics in TeleLearning and Rural School Teaching
• Education 4920: Literacy in Small Rural Schools
• Education 4921: The teaching of Art in Small Rural Schools

Students were also responsible for or had the option to take (and I’m not clear on exactly how this worked):

Education 4913: Field-based Experience in a Rural School  (TeleLearning) – 3 weeks
Education 4914: Field-based Experience in a Rural School  (TeleTeaching) – 6 weeks
Education 4915: Field-based Experience in a Rural School  (Multi-grade/Multi-age Classroom) – 9 weeks

I’d like to be able to tell you a little more about each of the courses, but according to the most recent course catalog the only course that is still offered is:

4901 Effective Teaching Strategies for Multi-grade/Multi-age Classrooms begins with a critical examination of traditional approaches to multi-grading. The main focus of the course will be to introduce teachers to the potential of adopting a multi-age approach in small schools which have of necessity grouped children of more than one age group and grade level together for instruction. This course will also examine the implications of implementing a philosophy of multi-age pedagogy in the primary, elementary and intermediate grades (K-9).

Interestingly, the only place that I was able to find all of the original course names is from an ad on page 17 of the December 2000 edition ofthe Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association monthly Bulletin.  However, courses with titles like “TeleLearning in a Rural School Intranet,” “TeleTeaching in a Virtual Classroom” and “Special Topics in TeleLearning and Rural School Teaching” – not to mention “Field-based Experience in a Rural School  (TeleLearning)” – lead one to envision the kinds of content that I described existing in many of today’s courses about K-12 online learning (see Teacher Education and K-12 Online Learning).

It appears that the program ceased to exist around or before 2002 (even though it was still listed in the university calendar in 2003-04).  In a 2002 self-study document, the Faculty wrote:

“The Diploma in TeleLearning and Rural School Teaching has recently been internally reviewed in light of lack of enrolment and the resource drain relative to delivery. It has been recommended that this Diploma be discontinued in its present form, but that its content be used both to develop a graduate thrust in this area and to enhance undergraduate program courses where possible.” (p. 10).

Also interesting to note that Memorial still includes the Diploma under its list of programs, but the Faculty of Education does not include it on their list.  Personally, I think that it is too bad that this program had to end as I believe that it was ahead of its time.

Update: I have since found that through using the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive I am again able to pull up some of the course descriptions for the Core, Elective, Special Topics, and Field Experience courses. Take a look at the descriptions and I think you’ll find courses like Education 4900, Education 4911, Education 4920-4930, and the Education 4913/4914 field experiences would be quite useful for people interested in teacher education and K-12 online learning today.

January 12, 2009

Teaching And Learning Online

Okay, about a month ago I posted a message about several teacher education courses and/or programs that were focused upon K-12 online learning in the United States and Canada (see Teacher Education and K-12 Online Learning).  At the time I promised a more in depth post on the only Canadian course that I knew of:

On the Canadian front, the only course that I am aware of that focuses upon K-12 online learning is a course entitled Teaching and Learning Online that is taught by Geoff Roulet at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.  Geoff has been good enough to send me additional information about his course, and I’ll post a separate entry in the next day or two about this course.

And while these days it seems that it takes me a while to get around to following up on these entries, I eventually get around to them.

In my conversations with Geoff, he indicated:

“When the course was first initiated in 2006 I did check the calendars of all the other faculties of education in Ontario.  Some do offer a course focusing on applications of ICT in teaching and learning, but I could not find any others that had a focus on online education.”

And I have no reason to believe otherwise.  I would go a step further and say that while there are a number of courses and even programs that focus upon distance education or online learning, that none are specifically focused upon K-12 distance education or K-12 online learning.  The closest that I can think of, may be a Diploma in Telelearning and Rural School Teaching that was offered by the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland from around 2000-01 until at least 2003-04 – however, a view of the current calendar indicates that the program is no longer on the books (I’ll post another entry last this week that looks at this lost program).

Anyway, Geoff introduces the course (via his syllabus) in this manner:

The use of the Internet/Web within education is increasing, both as a means of delivering full courses online and by  teachers to supplement regular classroom activities.  In Ontario the Ministry of Education through e-Learning Ontario  ( during the 2008-09 academic year will provide 27 online credit courses that may be  accessed by any school board in the province.  In parallel activities, individual school boards and consortia of boards  (see the Ontario Virtual Academy, are mounting their own online programs.  This is not  just an Ontario initiative.  Other provinces and countries are providing secondary and elementary school programs  online (see: Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (, the Arizona Virtual Academy (, and Insight Schools (

Within regular physical schools, teachers are making use of the Web to supplement classroom instruction.  For more  than a decade, beginning in the early 1990s Canada’s SchoolNet helped to connect Canada’s schools and  communities to the Internet, provided incentives for online learning and published Web-based content and activities for all grade levels.  Learning objects for all grades and subjects are becoming freely accessible via the Web (See the Math-Tools site at:  The Ontario Ministry of Education, through the Ontario Educational Resource Bank, is providing access to online content linked to the province’s school curriculum (  Teachers can employ these resources within their lessons by using school computer labs or single classroom computers and projection units.  In addition, teachers can assemble learning objects on course websites and thus make these resources available beyond class time.

The development and delivery of school programs have become significant economic enterprises.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Learning Technology (, an American corporation, delivers its programs to more than 45,000 schools in over 20 countries, including publicly funded elementary schools in Ontario.

Increasingly sophisticated software is making it easier for teachers to construct learning objects and websites. Innovative teachers are developing course sites that provide online assistance to students beyond regular class time and allow pupils to publicly display the products of their learning (See the student art gallery at Moira Secondary School in Belleville:  Schools and teachers are using wikis, and blogs to provide information to students, parents and the community at large (See Ms. Zwart’s Math Page a wiki hosted by Wetpaint:, belonging to Jodie Zwart a teacher at Glebe Collegiate Institute in Ottawa)

With these developments in mind the Faculty of Education introduced this course beginning in the 2006-07 academic year.  This is the third year for FOCI 291.  Thus it is still relatively new and this, along with the ever changing nature of the Web, means that the course is to some extent an experiment and in development.

The aims or objectives of the course are:

  • to critically examine present and proposed uses of the Internet/Web in teaching and learning
  • to collaboratively construct images of what effective online learning could be
  • for each class member, to increase understanding and skills related to the development, presentation, and delivery of online content and learning resources

In looking at the assignments, there is a good mix of opportunities to get involved with and experience K-12 online learning (via an alternate practicum), to speculate about the benefits and challenges of K-12 online learning, and to build an online resource that students could use in an online or blended format in their own teaching.

I understand that the course is due to be taught again during the Winter 2009 semester, and I would welcome Geoff (or any of his students) to draft a guest blogger entry about how things are going in the course and I would be happy to post it here.

<soapbox>Also, if any students at Queen’s are reading this blog, I would highly recommend this course as I think it would be very useful for you’re future teaching careers even if you never teaching in a K-12 online learning program.  Understanding the nature of this method of delivery and being able to support those students at your school who may be engaged in someone else’s online learning program will only help to serve these students better than if you had no concept of what they were doing.  Also, many of the skills and tools related to K-12 online learning can also be used as technology integration projects in your own face-to-face classes, giving you the potential to extend your classroom beyond the confines of the walls of the school.</soapbox>

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