Virtual School Meanderings

January 9, 2012

ONLINE EDUCA News Service – 7th Edition

From today’s inbox…

ONLINE EDUCA News Service – 7th Edition
January 9,
1.   An overview of OEB 2011
2.   Five big ideas that have shaped online learning
3.   Showtime at OEB: the exhibition in review
4.   The push for new learning cultures in higher education
5.   Igniting the future of workplace learning
6.   Cultivating the imagination and developing new cultures of learning
7.   The student becomes the teacher: Young scholars take to the stage
8.   Planning ahead for a new learning culture
9.   Seen & heard at OEB 2011
1. An overview of OEB 2011
The 17th annual ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN, the world’s largest e-learning conference for the corporate, education and public service sectors took place from November 30th to December 2nd, 2011, and with the theme of New Learning Cultures, the conference was fruitful ground for discussing, debating and exploring the technologies and trends that are driving formal and informal learning and training. With 2154 participants from 96 countries in attendance, the event featured scores of dynamic presentations and interactive sessions led by international e-learning experts, educators and corporate trainers.More
2. Five big ideas that have shaped online learning
The evolution of e-learning over the past few decades has transformed teaching practices at universities to the extent that the humble online communities of the early 1990s are almost unrecognisable in today’s cloud of social media and Internet access on demand. Keynote speaker Professor Huw Morris, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Salford in the UK, gave a speech entitled “Managed Learning Environments, Web 2.0, Cloud Nine and the Fantasy Palaces”, and he spoke of the radical and subtle ways in which learning cultures have evolved over the past twenty-five years.More
3. Showtime at OEB: the exhibition in review
The backdrop to each ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN is a bustling exhibition where participants are given a taste of new developments to come in the technology and e-learning arena. At OEB 2011, 89 exhibitors from 29 countries presented an assortment of new products and services including software for managed learning environments; language learning applications; tools for corporate learning and development; e-learning trends in higher education and everything in between. The exhibition complemented the conference sessions by bringing to life the multimedia innovations that are defining modern-day education and training in all spheres of society.More
4. The push for new learning cultures in higher education
At Security & Defence Learning, a forum run alongside ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN on November 30th, 2011, dozens of participants gathered to hear researchers, security experts and military top brass expound on the developments in security training aimed at countering the emerging cyber threats brought on by today’s new security environment. Alan Bruce, the director of Universal Learning Systems, a Dublin-based education, research and management consultancy, presented a paper entitled “Innovative Learning and the Impact of Crisis: threat, opportunity, and demographic time bombs”. We later caught up with him for further insight into what it will take for universities to adapt to the times and how his company approaches workplace training.More
5. Igniting the future of workplace learning
OEB 2011 saw the introduction of a new session format: Ignite. Part of the Business EDUCA programme, the Ignite session, entitled Preparing for the future of learning at work, brought participants together to talk about business issues in an innovative, energising and fun way.Developed in 2006 by Brady Forrest of O’Reilly Media, and Bre Pettis of, the Ignite session allows speakers just 5 minutes to deliver their presentation accompanied by 20 slides, each of which is automatically advanced after 15 seconds. This challenging format requires speakers to clarify their thinking and to present their arguments concisely and effectively.


6. Cultivating the imagination and developing new cultures of learning
At OEB 2011, Douglas Thomas, author of “A New Culture of Learning” and professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, delivered a keynote speech about cultivating the imagination and the developing new cultures of learning. Prior to delivering his keynote speech, Douglas Thomas spoke to OEB about his view of new cultures of learning, the relationship between technology and our behaviour, and the move towards a participatory culture.More
7. The student becomes the teacher: Young scholars take to the stage
One of the sessions generating lively discussion and divergent views was Student Perspectives. The format was introduced in 2005, and it has proved popular for its style, substance and focus on youth voices. Chaired by Gunnar Brückner of coachingplatform Inc, last year’s session looked at how university students around Europe are using technology to enhance their education experience. Having grown up in a wireless world, the use of technological tools is second nature to many students. So while the use of ICTs in education retains a sense of novelty for older users, the youth know of no other learning environment.More
8. Planning ahead for a new learning culture
Saudi Arabia has embarked on a twenty-year strategic plan to increase the citizenry’s participation in higher education and to turn the country into a knowledge-based society. Making this migration necessarily entails an overhaul of dated educational paradigms and the adoption of e-learning practices in formal and informal training. Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister for Educational Affairs, Dr Mohammad Al-Ohali, spoke to OEB about the country’s vision and the specific strides they are taking to build their expertise from the ground up.More
9. Seen & heard at OEB 2011
Our picture library has now been updated with photos capturing the moods and moments that defined the OEB 2011 experience, from the pre-conference events and workshops to the sessions and exhibitions. If you missed any of the opening, academic or corporate plenary speeches, you can watch the videos of our distinguished speakers addressing the theme of new learning cultures from multiple perspectives. A short film on participants’ and speakers’ overall impressions of OEB 2011 is also available in our media library and on our YouTube channel.


The ONLINE EDUCA News Service is compiled by E³ Communications. Please send any feedback, comments or suggestions to the OEB newsletter team at more detailed information on ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN, please contact:
Andrea Gruenler
Leibnizstrasse 32
10625 Berlin, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)30 310 18 18-0
Fax: +49 (0)30 324 98 33

Your Scholarship Is Now Available

I received this message about a week or so ago.  See below for the relevance…

Dear Professor Barbour,

Greetings! I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to you today with exciting news! We have just received copies from the initial print run of Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs in our warehouse, and orders are now being filled! We are excitedly anticipating the book’s success and anxiously awaiting its positive response in the academic community.

If you have contributed a full-length chapter in Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs you should have received an email from with instructions on how to access a complimentary PDF of your scholarship. If you did not receive this email, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Since the book is now in print, we also have the final citation information for your scholarship. If you visit the Web page for your chapter, you can access the citation data in several formats. The Table of Contents for Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs can be viewed at:

Now that Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs is available, this is a vital time to promote your research. Share the news of your excellent contribution with your peers, colleagues, and students by encouraging them to visit the book’s Web page at Remind them to recommend the book to their librarian using our librarian recommendation form at, or offer them the opportunity to purchase their own copy of the book and other related publications using our exclusive discount offer located at! You can also use the official IGI Global press release, located below, to inform your network about the book.

I would also like to remind you that if you will be attending any conferences, you may want to consider promoting the book among your colleagues there.

Please also keep in mind that as a valuable stakeholder to IGI Global, we love to hear about your upcoming projects and research activities. Currently, we are in the process of forming a News Room where we will be promoting the activities of all of our contributing authors. If you have news you would like to share, please contact Ms. Christine Bufton, Director of Promotions and Communications at

***As an IGI Global contributor, we’re sure that you’ll want to stay up-to-date with news about our latest and most exciting publications and other interesting information. Because of this, you have been automatically subscribed to IGI Global’s monthly newsletter and course adoption newsletter. To UNSUBSCRIBE from these e-mails, please click here: To stay even more up-to-date with IGI Global news, sign up for additional updates by clicking here:***

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New Release: Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs

Hershey, PA – January 2, 2012 – Though technology is expanding at a rate that is alarming to many skilled laborers concerned for the welfare of their industry and jobs, teachers should feel safe in their position; however, teachers who refuse to adapt to technology will be left behind.

Edited by Drew Polly, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA; Clif Mims, University of Memphis, USA; Kay A. Persichitte, University of Wyoming, USA, IGI Global’s newest release, Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs: Key Issues offers professional teacher educators a rare opportunity to harvest the thinking of pioneering colleagues spanning dozens of universities, and to benefit from the creativity, scholarship, hard work, and reflection that led them to the models they describe. Contributors from 32 universities from around the world came together as authors of case studies, methodologies, research, and modeling to produce the work that went into this reference work. The target audience for this book includes faculty, leaders, teacher educators, and administrators within higher institution and every level of education.

Topics covered in Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs: Key Issues include, but are not limited to:


Content Area and Methods Knowledge and Technology

Content Specific Experiences


Foundational Knowledge and Technology

Higher Order Thinking Skills


Social Networking

Technology Acceptance Model

Web 2.0 for Collaboration

To learn more about IGI Global’s newest release, please visit

About the Editors

Drew Polly is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His research agenda focuses on examining how to support the implementation of technology and standards-based pedagogies. More information can be found at:

Clif Mims ( is an Associate Professor in the Department of Instructional Design and Technology at the University of Memphis and is the Executive Director of the Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence in Memphis, Tennessee. Mims is a teacher, researcher, author, speaker and educational consultant specializing in the effective integration of technology with teaching and learning.

Kay Persichitte is the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Wyoming. Persichitte has extensive experience and background in curriculum and program development, accreditation, standards-based instruction, telecommunications systems and distance instruction and preservice teacher technology integration.

About IGI Global

Since 1988, IGI Global has provided comprehensive research materials on computer science and information technology management, focusing on the ways in which information technology affects human activities and interactions across disciplines. With offices in Hershey, PA, and New York City, IGI Global is a leading multimedia publisher of books, reference works, journals, encyclopedias, teaching cases, proceedings, and databases covering the areas of education, social science, library science, healthcare, business management, public administration, and computer science. More in-depth information about IGI Global’s mission and resources is available at

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I have a chapter in this book entitled “Training Teachers For A Virtual School System” with an abstract that reads:

Online learning at the K-12 level is growing at exponential rates. Students learning in supplemental virtual schools and full-time cyber schools, using a variety of delivery models that include and sometimes combine independent, asynchronous and synchronous instruction, in almost every state in the U.S.. In some instances the knowledge, skills and abilities required by teachers in this technology-mediated environment is consistent with what they learned about face-to-face teaching in their teacher education programs; while in many instances the two are quite different. Presently the lack of empirical research into effective K-12 online teaching limits teacher education programs. However, teacher education programs still need to better prepare pre-service and in-service teachers to design, deliver and support students engaged virtual schooling.

Check it out…

Review of iPhone/iPad App – meStudying: AP Art History

Note that the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) provided me with a promotional code to download this app for free in order to write this review.

I had thought that I had already posted this review, but in looking through mu files it appears that I overlooked it before the holidays. I apologise to my colleagues at the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) for this oversight. The iPhone/iPad app in question is meStudying: AP Art History (which is one of about ten current FLVS apps, and is one of eight that were created by gWhiz).


When you begin the app, you get this welcome screen and then this menu.  If you select the GALLERIES option, you see:


This is actually quite a nice menu structure, and kind of appropriate for an art history app, as you don’t have a single list but a selection of galleries that you can access by scrolling your finger across the screen.  It almost gives the sense of walking along a hallway, trying to decide which gallery to walk into.  Once you select a gallery…

Essentially, the galleries are a selection of artwork.  If you touch the image you are presented with additional information about the piece.  In previous reviews, I’ve been a bit critical of these apps as being little more than test prep items (which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I believe limits the potential of the app).  These galleries and the information provided about each of the pieces of art – while very flash card like in its approach (which still denotes test preparation) – it is a step in the direction of providing an instructional aspect to the app.

If you go back and select the PRACTICE TEST option, you get the option to select the size of your practice test.

Once you have decided on your size, you are presented with the first question.

After you select a response, you are provided with immediate feedback (at least in terms of whether you are correct or incorrect).  One of my pet peeves with this app was the fact that you had to slide your finger to move to the next question (which took me a minute to figure out, as I was expecting the next question to appear after a certain amount of time or for a NEXT or NEXT QUESTION button to appear somewhere).  At the conclusion of the test you are provided the opportunity to review the test you just completed.

Note that if you select an incorrect response, the app does not provides an explanation as to you why the item you selected was incorrect (not while you are completing the test or during the review). This is a feature that has been included in previous FLVS apps created by gWhiz, so I was surprised that I wasn’t able to do it with this app.  The final menu item was the ABOUT selection.

Overall, I thought that the app was specifically created with the subject matter in mind (at least in terms of the interface and how you navigated through the app – very appropriate for an art app). However, using the the Emantras taxonomy of mobile learning apps, I would still havethis is a test preparation app.

Test Prep
Mobile learning can be easily adapted to design multiple choice tests and fill-in-the-blank answers. By constant review of test prep material, students can ensure better preparation for exams.

There were steps taken to add more of an instructional aspect, and I thought that those efforts were more appropriate in this app than many of the previous ones that I have reviewed.  However, the lack of explanations as to why the incorrect responses were wrong was a major limitation to the effectiveness of this app (compared to previous ones).

As I’ve said in the past, I continue to tip my hat to FLVS for pursuing learning opportunities on this front.  At this stage, they are one of two virtual schools that I am aware of that are making any effort to create mobile learning applications.  For my reviews of the other FLVS apps, see:

iNACOL January 2012 Webinars

Also from Friday’s inbox…

NACOL Monthly Webinars
Webinars for January 2012
Leadership Webinar Teacher Talk Webinar
January 11, 2012
2:00 PM (Eastern)
Next Steps for Digital Learning Now: Roadmap and Legislation for State-level Online Learning Policy

Register Now Open until 10 AM (ET) the day of the webinar.

As state legislatures convene this year, online learning policy is likely to be a topic in many states. In 2011, 16 states enacted legislation related to online learning. Much of the 2011 activity was in response to the 10 Digital Learning Now policy elements released in December 2010.

Since that time, the Foundation for Excellence in Education has released a Roadmap to Reform to provide guidance for state policymakers wishing to implement the Digital Learning Now elements and the Alliance for Excellent Education will soon be releasing model legislation for digital learning.

In our January Leadership webinar, you will have the opportunity to hear from representatives from both of these organizations discuss their efforts to advocate for policy changes that will create a high quality digital learning environment for all students.


Deirdre Finn, Foundation for Excellence in Education

Chip Slavin, Alliance for Excellent Education

January 19, 2012
6:00 PM (Eastern)
Using Online Breakout Rooms for Higher Order Thinking Skills

Register Now Open until 10 AM (ET) the day of the webinar.

This webinar is for virtual teachers looking to create an online classroom experience that is second to none. Participants will learn how to effectively utilize breakout rooms to ensure all students are utilizing higher order thinking skills. This presentation will help you to differentiate and create assignments in your online classroom that will engage learners and provide better time management for the classroom teacher as well. Learn how easy it can be to create an enriching, online classroom experience for all students.

Presenter, Tara Park, has been a virtual teacher since 2003. Since becoming a virtual teacher, she has taught all grades from Kindergarten-8th grade. In 2010, Tara was the given the task of Project Leader for Technology at PA Virtual Charter School. Through this position, she had the opportunity to explore many new and emerging technologies that can be used in the virtual classroom. In 2011, Tara was awarded the Innovation in Teaching and Learning Grant for her virtual STEM lab, Make Your Online Classroom “Bloom” with STEM. In an effort to share best online practices, Tara has presented at conferences such as, iNACOL, ISTE and Blackboard. Information on previous conferences and links can be found at


Tara Park, PA Virtual Charter School

Special Edition WebinarState of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada

January 24, 2012
2:00 PM (Eastern)
Register Now Open until 10 AM (ET) the day of the webinar.

The fourth annual State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada report was released by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning in November. The report indicates that distance education at the K-12 level is continuing to grow in Canada and exists at some level in all 13 provinces and territories. However, the growth and level of activity is uneven.

Come hear Michael Barbour, report author, discuss how online learning has evolved over the four years that this study has been conducted. Michael will be joined by a panel of individuals representing K-12 online learning programs from several Canadian provinces to describe how the policies and regulation in their particular province have been implemented at the local level.


Michael Barbour, Wayne State University

Maurice Barry, Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation

Sarah Hainsworth, Nova Scotia Department of Education

Darren Cannell, Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School

Tim Winkelmans, British Columbia Ministry of Education

Blackboard Collaborate

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January CIDER Session

From Friday’s inbox…

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Dear CIDER Member,We invite you to the first presentation in our winter series of free online CIDER sessions. This session features a presentation and discussion with Dr. Namsook Jahng and Dr. Wendy Nielsen from the University of British Columbia.

Title: Examining Collaborative Learning Processes in an Online Course

Collaborative learning in a project-based small group activity is a complex process. Groups may struggle with problems and conflicts throughout the process. Instructors’ careful observation and evaluation to provide timely intervention is the key for successful collaborative learning. In this presentation, Dr. Namsook Jahng and Dr. Wendy Nielsen will discuss how to assess group collaboration in order to identify critical problems. Based on their research findings from a content analysis, they propose three quantitative indices (quantity, equality, sharedness) for identifying at-risk groups in collaboration. The research was framed in a Small Group Collaborative Learning Model that was developed by modifying the Community of Inquiry model.

When: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 – 11am to 12noon Mountain Time (Canada)

*Local times for the CIDER sessions are provided on our website:

Where: The CIDER sessions have moved to Adobe Connect!  To join this session go to:
Please note that it is extremely important that you get your system set up prior to the start of the event.  Make sure your Mac or PC is equipped with a microphone and speakers, so that you can use the audio functionality built into the web conferencing software.  Also, the Adobe Connect platform may require an update to your Adobe Flash Player.  Allow time for this update by joining the session 20 minutes prior to the scheduled presentation start time.


CIDER sessions are brought to you by the Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University – Canada’s Open University and leader in professional online education.


Our mailing address is:

Athabasca University

Canadian Institute for Distance Education Research
1200, 10011 – 109 Street

Edmonton, AB T5J 3S8

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Copyright (C) 2009 Athabasca University All rights reserved.

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