Virtual School Meanderings

September 18, 2017

Read Whitepapers On Curriculum, Technology, And More

A couple of items here that may be relevant and of interest to some readers.

Week Research Advisor
Access your free copies of Education Week‘s sponsor whitepapers today. Download insights and thought leadership from our sponsors.

The content of the whitepapers is from our sponsors and is not written by
Education Week nor any of its affiliates
7 Keys to Great Growth Measurement 
Provided by NWEA | Read Whitepaper Now
10 Strategies For Safety Success: A Holistic Approach to Student Transportation Safety
Provided by First Student Inc. | Read Whitepaper Now
eBooks: Effectively budget & maximize usage
Provided by OverDrive | Read Whitepaper Now
Top Ideas for Facilitating #ActiveLearning in a STEAM Environment
Provided by Stratasys | Read Whitepaper Now
IoT to Wearables: Top Tech Trends in Education
Provided by Sparkfun | Read Whitepaper Now
How to Start a STEAM Program
Provided by littleBits | Read Whitepaper Now
Executive Brief: Deepening Elementary Teachers’ Content Knowledge in Mathematics
Provided by DreamBox Learning | Read Whitepaper Now
Meeting the ELA Learning Needs of All K-5 Students
Provided by Voyager Sopris | Read Whitepaper Now
Best Practices for Reducing Student Collusion
Provided by Turnitin | Read Whitepaper Now
Simplify OER in the K-12 Classroom
Provided by itslearning| Read Whitepaper Now
Personalized Learning: The Journey to Student-Centered Instruction
Provided by McGraw Hill Education | Read Whitepaper Now
An Educator’s Guide to Teaching the Foundations of Reading
Provided by Curriculum Associates | Read Whitepaper Now
Lessons learned: Making the shift to the NGSS
Provided by Amplify | Read Whitepaper Now

Editorial Projects in Education, Inc., 6935 Arlington Road, Suite 100, Bethesda, MD  20814Copyright © 2017 Editorial Projects in Education.

Final Day for Early Bird Special! – 8th Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit – Exclusive Network Opportunity

Also from the inbox late last week…

Special Early Bird VIP Single Ticket Discount Code –Exlusive to MSL Report Subscribers!

Use code MLS100 for $100.00 off single Education and Industry Leader Tickets

We’re thrilled to invite you to join us for the 8th Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit! Redefining Schools of the Future is our theme for this year’s summit. As we’re in the middle of a digital revolution, it’s never been a more critical time to engage with education and technology leaders to make sense of how to best design and implement successful strategies for your institution to support students success.

We are honored to announced our keynote presenters; Lord Jim Knight – Former Minsiter of Education, UK Government, Randall Fielding – Founder & Editorial Director, Design Share, Sidneyeve Matrix – Associate Professor and Queen’s University National Scholar

Back by popular demand is our Cross Canada Checkup panel that gives deep insights on the national learning & technology landscape, moderated by Dr. Bill Hogarth.

Registration for the Dragons’ Den Startup Challenge is now open & Nominations for the2nd annual Canadian EdTech Awards – Celebrating Excellence and Innovation in Canadian Education.

Watch for our bigger and better Makerspace Showcase to explore the latest EdTech innovations. Limited Sponsorship Opportunities are still available. Please for all inquiries.

Whether you’re a education leader from post-secondary, K12 or a technology partner, our 8th Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit promises to challenge your innovative spirit and design thinking.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly if you have further questions about this year’s Summit! Until next time, keep the learning curve steep!

Until next time, keep the digital learning curve steep!

Robert Martellacci, M.A. EdTech
President, MindShare Learning Technology™
Chief Digital Curator, The MindShare Learning Report™
Co-founder & President C21 Canada™

Follow us on Twitter @MindShareLearn

Master of Ceremonies
Dr. Karen Grose

Vice President, Digital Learning TVO

Karen Grose leads the organization in the development of innovative, evidence-informed content, product and services to improve outcomes and well-being for all ages of learners across the province of Ontario. Karen brings over 27 years of educational experience in the world of teaching and learning to TVO

Keynote Speakers
Lord Jim Knight
Former Minister of Education, UK Government
Jim Knight is Chief Education Adviser at Tes Global. In his previous role at the company he was the Managing Director of Online Learning, where he built an online teacher development platform. He is a member of the House of Lords and a visiting Professor at the London Knowledge Lab of the Institute of Education. As a minister his portfolios included rural affairs, schools, digital and employment.
Randall Fielding
Founder & Editorial Director, DesignShare/ Partner, Fielding Nair International
Randall champions FNI’s mission to transform learning by serving as a thought leader, learning collaborator, and design mentor. His experience extends from early childhood education to the university level and across 47 countries. The common thread throughout his work is the priority of learners, their relationships and needs in school facility design. Learning, not buildings, come first in FNI’s architecture.
Sidneyeve Matrix

Associate Professor,
Queen’s University

Sidneyeve Matrix is an Associate Professor and Queen’s National Scholar. Dr. Matrix teaches Creative EntrepreneurshipInnovation in Practice, and Design Thinking at the graduate, undergraduate, and professional levels for Smith School of Business, Dan School of Drama and Music, and Western University Continuing Education. Dr. Matrix also serves on the Executive for the Dunin Desphande Queen’s Innovation Centre.

Applications are now being accepted for the ‘Dragons’ Den Startup Challenge’ & Nominations for the ‘Canadian EdTech Awards’

EdTech Startup Challenge – Dragons’ Den Style

Rules & Guidelines here

This year we are accepting FIVE startup’s to compete – Each EdTech startup company entered in this contest will be given five minutes to pitch their companies platform/approach/achievements during the 8th EdTech Leadership Summit to a panel of judges, made up of esteemed industry leaders and past winners, in a bid to win top prize.

For more information on entry guidelines and eligibility please go to this link for more information. Please send all applications to

This year’s prize for the Top Startup company is FREE booth space at the startup pavilion at FETC 2017!

2nd Annual Canadian EdTech Awards

We are pleased to announce the 2nd Annual Canadian Edtech Awards – Celebrating Excellence in Canadian Innovation & Education.

Voting will take place in the following four categories:

  1. K12 Educator of the Year
  2. K12 Administrator of the Year
  3. Post Secondary Professor of the Year
  4. EdTech Partner of the Year

Click here to submit you vote!

Call for Special Issue: Journal of Technology and Teacher Education (JTATE)

From the inbox late last week…

Call for Special Issue Proposals on:
Technological Supports for
Practice-Based Teacher Education
With this special issue, we are interested in how technology can support efforts to make practice of skills embedded in teaching practices a focus in university-based teacher education.
This special issue is open to a range
of manuscripts including those that:
  • Explicate and illustrate the design and purposes involved in  creating and/or curating digital video or audio files, using cartoon characters to make storyboards, and animating images made with cartoon characters for use in practice-based teacher education.
  • Assess learning/thinking of teacher candidates or inservice teachers in the context of a technological environment aimed at supporting examination of their practice of skills embedded in specific teaching practices.
  • Examine how technology can support teacher educators in cross-institutional collaboration focused on practice-based teacher education.
Submissions Due: Oct. 15, 2017
Authors Notified: Nov. 15, 2017
Expected Publication: January 2018
Questions? Contact the guest editors:

For Call for Papers & list of topics, click here.
JTATE is a Publication of AACE.

* Subscribe: Individuals & Libraries

Forward this email
 Questions? Please contact AACE Publications at
AACE,, 757-366-5606, P.O. Box 1545, Chesapeake, VA 23327-1545

Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance Blog Posts

I received this last week and began to post some of the VLLA items (see From the Alliance Directors – Computer Science For All).

Dear Michael,

Thank you for your continued publishing of Virtual School Meanderings. Very useful website and great information.

The Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance is continuing to post a weekly blog on online and blended learning topics that you might interesting. The Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance (VLLA) is an association of the chiefs of some of the most innovative virtual programs in the US. Consisting largely of leading state virtual schools, and several outstanding consortia ( The member organizations serve well over a quarter of a million online course enrollments annually.

The latest blog is “Making Computer Science Accessible to All,” from Idaho Digital Learning. Last week’s blog on “Successful online credit recovery…” is below. If you would like to subscribe to the blog, go to and provide your name and email. We’ll do the rest.

Thanks again.

Butch Gemin

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Successful online credit recovery requires planning, support and attention

August 30, 2017 By Bob Currie, Executive Director, Montana Digital Academy

The use of online learning for credit recovery has become an easy target for media pundits criticizing the online approach as a “quick fix” or “shortcut” intended simply to generate meaningless credits used by districts to pump up graduation rates.

A Washington Post column earlier this year pointed to online credit recovery courses as a mirage leading to inflated graduation rates (January 8, 2017). It shuns the idea of a self-paced approach to learning, as if seat-time somehow ensures success. Another article (The New Diploma Mills, Slate, May, 2017) highlights a district that bought into an online credit recovery approach that “promised a radical turnaround in student performance. It was cheaper than any other option; it was easier …” The reporter criticizes the program’s resulting increased graduation rates without any data to support the claim that online credit recovery courses have been “meaningless.”

Well meaning writers in the education media sometimes fail to dig deeply or broadly enough to understand the complexities and importance of the implementation of online credit recovery. Nor do they have the time to explore the many instances where an online approach is well-implemented and finding success.

Certainly there may be instances where online credit recovery may be poorly executed, often in situations where district administrators, desperate for a new approach to a vexing problem, are sold promises from providers without considering the critical support and structure required to ensure student success. In some districts, online credit recovery options are seen as a simple alternative for running students through a classroom a second time, or even worse, selected as a less expensive option. Administrators making the purchasing decision for online credit recovery may be inexperienced in online learning and may fall prey to claims of easy success from providers. As with schools in general, some online credit options are quality and effective while others fall short in giving students a meaningful learning experience.

An online credit recovery course is a tool, a very effective and efficient tool, designed to support an approach that provides students with an alternative to the traditional classroom experience. It allows them to move past content they might have mastered the first time through the course. The online format allows them to work at a comfortable pace and to work on their studies when and where time permits. Successful digital approaches to credit recovery start with an understanding that the student that has failed once in the classroom almost certainly needs additional support regardless of the pathway.

Credit recovery students have a wide array of challenges that in one way or another has interfered with their learning and led to failure in a class or classes. Montana Digital Academy (MTDA), Montana’s state supported online program, has offered self-paced credit recovery courses within a semester deadline since 2011. An online MTDA Academic Coach, a licensed Montana teacher who is the teacher of record, is paired with local school district personnel to support students online and on-campus. Students may move at an accelerated pace, but the on-site support requirement provides the additional support that MTDA believes gives online credit recovery students the best opportunity for successful completion.

Through MTDA’s Student Connect credit recovery program nearly 9,000 Montana high school students successfully completed 14,000 credit recovery courses between 2011-2016. Despite this level of student success, and what many in our state saw as an already effective credit recovery program, the MTDA team felt more could be done to enhance student achievement. Therefore, the program was redesigned for the 2015–16 SY with a focus on creating a more personalized, linear learning path in the courses for students. In the new version all credit recovery courses embed an advanced notification system that fosters communication between the MTDA academic coach (teacher), local school support and administrative staff, parents and the student with information regarding the student’s progress and areas on which they need to focus. Using an adaptive release model, students are presented the course content in a linear manner designed to keep them focused on their learning path with one task needing to be completed before the next task appears. This redesign has resulted in enhanced communication to all stakeholders and a clear, focused pathway to meaningful recovery of credit for students.

The MTDA credit recovery model is a flexible, mastery learning based approach where students are able to work at their own pace taking up to a semester to complete a course. Most students enroll in one course and when they complete it move to the next. Experience gained during the first four years of the program has provided clear information that many credit recovery students who attempted to take multiple classes were unable to complete all or most of them. Based on this another new feature of the retooled program requires that the local school commit to providing additional in-person assistance to these students from their support staff. MTDA has also combined its work with the EdReady math readiness assessment and remediation program and students enrolled in credit recovery algebra must take a readiness assessment and complete the related remedial learning content before moving into the credit recovery course.

We agree with critics that more needs to be learned from the study of successful online credit recovery programs, as well as those that appear to fall short of giving students a meaningful learning experience. In 2016, REL Northwest, a branch of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences completed a study that evaluated 2013-14 enrollment and passing rate data from MTDA. The findings were also based on interviews with school leaders from eight districts across Montana, representing both urban and rural districts and varying in size. The REL study found MTDA’s passing rate falls at the high end of the range found in prior studies, indicating that MTDA online credit recovery students do at least as well as students in other online classes.

Los Angeles County School District just received a grant of $3.256 million from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) for a five-year study of the efficacy of online credit recovery classes for high school students.

Our hope is that these studies will eventually help critics provide a more balanced and complete view of what is becoming an essential online alternative for students to reach graduation.

Note: Credit recovery refers to “a wide variety of educational strategies and programs that give high school students who have failed a class the opportunity to redo coursework or retake a course through alternate means, and thereby avoid failure and earn academic credit.” (Glossary of Educational Reform)

Webinar: 9/20 at 2pm EDT – Special Education Policies & Services in Fully Online Schools

Note this webinar on Monday.

Plus new publications, blog posts, and podcasts!
View this email in your browser
This presentation will highlight the state-to-state variation in the funding and responsibilities for providing students with disabilities their special education instruction when they are enrolled in full-time schools and live in a different location than the school.

Kelsey Ortiz, University of Kansas
Mary Rice, University of Kansas
Mark Deschaine, Central Michigan University
Sean Lancaster, Grand Valley State University
Daryl Mellard, University of Kansas

Login at at the time of the session to participate!

The latest Michigan Virtual publication, the Teacher Guide to Online Learning, is intended to support those teachers who are new to K-12 online learning. The full guide, along with our other guides on online learning, is available on our website.
MVLRI researchers, with the support of Education Development Center, are documenting an 18-month project underway in Rhode Island with a goal to more deeply understand the needs around high school redesign for the 21st century. The project, led by the Highlander Institute and funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, is aimed at designing and piloting technology systems that promote student-centered learning. Documentation from the project, including podcasts, webinars, and blog posts, are available at the Fuse Architect project website.
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