Virtual School Meanderings

March 4, 2015

SITE 2015 – Bridge to Blended

The fifteenth session (and another one that wasn’t tagged as a Virtual Schooling SIG session, so it went under the radar), which will bring an end to my day two blogging, at the 2015 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education related to K-12 online learning that I am blogging is:

Bridge to Blended

  1. Blaine Helmick, Florida Virtual School, United States

Wednesday, March 4 4:55-5:15 PM in Amazon Q View on map

<Presentation: Paper #45420>
Amazon Q Wednesday, Mar 04 2015 04:15PM-05:15PM
Lucy Green: Amazon Q, 2015-03-04 16:15:00-2015-03-04 17:15:00

Traditional brick-and-mortar schools are increasingly considering “blended” models for their classrooms. With that come many challenges such as finding the right learning platform, whether to buy or build content, and if existing content can be leveraged. Using the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard it is possible to take content and literally put it anywhere. By leveraging LTI, content is created, combined, or consumed in virtually any learning system or potentially no system at all; furthermore, LTI is agnostic to both content vendor and platforms, and is entirely open source.

Blaine’s session was not a research session.  It reminded me of one of those practitioner-focused sessions that SITE experimented with a few years ago.

Anyway, Blaine’s main thesis was that education has always been blended – we just didn’t call it that back then.  He began by using the example of how we used to use calculators (and I guess in some instances still do) in the classroom and this was an example of blended learning – using a technology-enhanced tool in a face-to-face environment.  The challenge today is how we can use virtual learning content in the face-to-face classroom.  In Blaine’s opinion, Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) was the answer.

Blaine then provided an example of how LTI in embedded into most content management system (or learning platform), and then demonstrated an example of a lesson that used FLVS and Khan Academy content housed in Canvas.  And then show how that same lesson was replicated using LTI in Blackboard, Desire2Learn, and three or four other platforms.

Blaine indicated on his title slide that you could download his presentation at:

https://flvs.app.box.com/BridgeToBlendedPDF

Blaine tweets from @blainehelmick.

SITE 2015 – The At-Risk Student’s Journey with Online Course Credit; Looking at Perceptions of Care and Their Lived Experience

The fourteenth session at the 2015 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education related to K-12 online learning that I am blogging is:

The At-Risk Student’s Journey with Online Course Credit; Looking at Perceptions of Care and Their Lived Experience

  1. Karis Barnett, The University of Central Oklahoma, United States

Wednesday, March 4 4:15-4:45 PM in Amazon T View on map

<Presentation: Paper #44619>
Amazon T Wednesday, Mar 04 2015 04:15PM-05:15PM
Miri Shonfeld: Amazon T, 2015-03-04 16:15:00-2015-03-04 17:15:00

Studies addressing at-risk students’ perceptions of valuable caring relationships within their unique online environment are rare. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study is to explore at-risk high school students’ insights regarding their experience with online education, which they undertook in order to meet high school graduation requirements. More specifically, it is the intent of this study to examine the presence of care through the voices of those who journey into the virtual high school classroom.

This session was based on Karis’ dissertation study.  Her research questions focused on:

  1. How do at-risk learners understand the term “care” in their online environment?

Karis began by describing the various factors that are associated with being “at-risk” within the K-12 environment.  Karis did underscore the fact that the label “at-risk” is often used in negative ways, and can often de-value those learners.  One of the common features of “at-risk” students, at least through Karis’ lens, was that they are disengaged from the learning – regardless of environment.

Karis then transitioned to the K-12 online and blended environments, and also looked at what the literature indicates successful students need in the K-12 online and blended learning setting – which stand in contradiction to the characteristics of at-risk students.  However, the growth of online credit recovery is undeniable – so are we creating programs that students can really have success in?

Karis then took us through some quotes from her seven participants – all of whom were at-risk students that had completed their online credit recovery courses successfully.  The quotes were numerous and the font was a bit small, so I was unable to copy any of them word-for-word.

It was interesting that all of the participants had a specific life crisis that generally caused them to disengage from their learning and be labelled at-risk.  Within their lived spaces, they were in one of two extremes – a sense of belonging or a sense of isolation.  Within the online environment, the participants viewed care as help and unconditional regard (this was also true of the face-to-face environment as well).  Unfortunately, they felt a sense of non-care more often than not.  They felt a sense of isolation, being judged, and a real lack of help.

Even more interesting was the fact that they had what Karis described as lifelines outside of the formal schooling and online credit recovery environment.  These included motivation (primarily self-motivation), specific attributes that would have normally led to success (e.g., almost all were “gifted” students in elementary school, independent learners, introvert personalities), and possessed self-regulation and tenacity.

SITE 2015 – Information Literacy, Libraries, and Virtual Schools: New Standards for New Modalities

The thirteenth session at the 2015 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education related to K-12 online learning that I am blogging is:

Information Literacy, Libraries, and Virtual Schools: New Standards for New Modalities

  1. Alex Hodges, American University, United States
  2. Marilyn Ochoa, State University of New York at Oswego, United States

Wednesday, March 4 3:00-4:00 PM in Tango View on map

<Presentation: Paper #45633>
Tango Wednesday, Mar 04 2015 03:00PM-04:00PM

This roundtable will focus conversation on how the emerging draft information literacy standards (ACRL, 2014) impact libraries in virtual schooling environments. Participants will discuss K-12 and higher education students’ development of information literacy as a series of threshold concepts and metaliteracies (Mackey & Jacobson, 2011, 2014; Townsend, Brunetti, & Hofer, 2011). Participants will also examine what the evolving information literacy standards mean for virtual schools, libraries, teachers and librarians.

Alex and Marilyn spend most of their roundtable focusing on the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education and how that would influence the K-12 environment, and specifically those that ended up teaching in virtual school environments.  Instead of describing each of the six strands – and I’m probably using the wrong terms of describe the parts of the framework – I’ve included the link above to the full framework so that you can examine it on your own.

At this stage the discussion is still largely theoretical or conceptual, but Alex and Marilyn did have some questions related to this framework that needed to be explored through this virtual schooling lens:

  1. In what ways can the threshold concepts help us generate conversations with other school colleagues who are also stakeholders in information literacy learning?
  2. How must teacher education prepare teacher candidates to work with this framework in face-to-face and virtual environments? Should the preparation be different?  Why or why not?
  3. What should librarians and media/teacher educators do to work across boundaries of PK-12 and higher education?

This was another great example of poor SITE scheduling.  There was a Virtual Schooling SIG research panel at the same time – so other than another roundtable presenter that didn’t have anyone show up at her table, I was the only audience person that Alex and Marilyn had.

SITE 2015 – Recruiting, hiring, training, supporting, and evaluating teachers: A Cross-case analysis of teaching infrastructure across K-12 virtual schools

The twelfth session at the 2015 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education related to K-12 online learning that I am blogging is:

Recruiting, hiring, training, supporting, and evaluating teachers: A Cross-case analysis of teaching infrastructure across K-12 virtual schools

  1. Kathryn Kennedy, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  2. Joseph Freidhoff, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  3. Amy Michalowski, Virtual High School, United States
  4. Joe Cozart, Georgia Virtual School, United States

Wednesday, March 4 3:00-4:00 PM in Amazon Q View on map

<Presentation: Paper #45081>
Amazon Q Wednesday, Mar 04 2015 03:00PM-04:00PM

This panel will delve into research conducted by the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute, a division of Michigan Virtual University. The research focused on similarities and differences across K-12 virtual schools with focus on teacher recruitment, hiring, training, support, evaluation, and retention. Included on this panel are three of the eight virtual schools that participated in this study, including Michigan Virtual School, Virtual High School, and Georgia Virtual School.

Once again, SITE has done a stellar job and scheduled two Virtual Schooling SIG sessions at the same time – this panel and a roundtable (and I’m sitting in the session with the roundtable).  So, I am unable to blog about it, but I did want to pass along the information in case anyone who was at the session wanted to post their notes in the comments.

SITE 2015 – Explorations and Evolution within the Handbook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning

The eleventh session at the 2015 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education related to K-12 online learning that I am blogging is:

Explorations and Evolution within the Handbook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning

  1. Richard E. Ferdig, Kent State University, United States
  2. Kathryn Kennedy, Michigan Virtual University, United States

Wednesday, March 4 1:45-2:45 PM in Amazon H View on map

<Presentation: Paper #44668>
Amazon H Wednesday, Mar 04 2015 01:45PM-02:45PM

The Handbook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning was released by ETC Press in late fall, 2014. It is an open access and freely available tool. The Handbook contains six sections of research, policy, and practice related to online and blended instruction, including a section that is focused on technology and teacher education. This panel will begin with an overview by the Handbook’s editors. It will then feature authors from the Handbook describing research, policy, and practice in their areas ranging from content focus to mentoring and from leadership to future technologies. The Handbook was created as an evolving collection of existing research; as such, the panel will conclude with a discussion of the 2015 version. This will include new authors, new research, and a continued focus on building the relationship between K-12 online/blended learning and teacher education.

I was one of the panelists in this session, which was essentially focused on the handbook (see http://press.etc.cmu.edu/files/Handbook-Blended-Learning_Ferdig-Kennedy-etal_web.pdf ) and there were six chapter authors that were here to talk about their contributions.

If I can get the slides – beyond my own – I’ll post them to Slideshare and embed them below.

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