Virtual School Meanderings

April 17, 2018

AERA 2018 – Rural School Closure and Consolidation

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the 2018 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association has been happening over the last few days. The sixteenth and final blog entry related to K-12 online learning session from AERA 2018 that I am posting is:

Rural School Closure and Consolidation

In “All of a Sudden, Rural Is on Everyone’s Mind”: Rural Education After Trump
Tue, April 17, 12:25 to 1:55pm, Millennium Broadway New York Times Square, Third Floor, Room 3.02-3.03

Abstract – Rural communities face increasing pressure for school closure and consolidation as well as increasingly charter-friendly federal and state policies under the Trump administration (Klein, 2017). School choice policy is couched within a complex web of educational policy, economic disparities, and an accepted, long-established, cultural disdain of rural people (Wray, 2006). The legislative expansion of school choice policy is the enactment of an ideological shift– from an understanding of the purpose of education as a democratic project to a neoliberal vision of schooling guided by efficiency, consumerism, and economic competitiveness (Shannon, 2007). A policy environment highly favorable to vouchers, cyber schools, and brick and mortar charter schools has been the outcome of this shift.

A neoliberal vision for schools, and its associated policies, however, does not map neatly onto rural schools and communities. The project to make schools more efficient and competitive, via closures, consolidations, and charters, is challenged by the role that rural schools play in the maintenance of the social fabric of rural communities and the central role that rural schools play in the maintenance of a community’s social safety net (DeYoung, 1995; Lyson, 2002; Peshkin, 1982). Rural schools are closed, consolidated, and, sometimes, reopened as charter schools amid this complexity. As a result, rural community members must seek the best option for their children, however “best” is defined.

Questions for Discussion:
How have rural communities experienced closures, consolidation, and charters?
What might the impact be of increasingly pro-charter school policy on rural communities?

Author
Karen Eppley, The Pennsylvania State University

This session was in a larger symposium that was described as:

“All of a Sudden, Rural Is on Everyone’s Mind”: Rural Education After Trump

Tue, April 17, 12:25 to 1:55pm, Millennium Broadway New York Times Square, Third Floor, Room 3.02-3.03

Session Type: Symposium

Abstract

This interactive symposium invites participants to talk across differences regarding the explicitly political nature of teaching, learning, and research. Within a context of new political importance of rural communities, this symposium engages rural educators and researchers in meaningful and constructive conversations about the impact of the current political context on their work. Rural scholars will facilitate small group discussions about the contextualized definitions of rurality, the new relevance of rural places to the political process, the implementation of current policies in rural places, and changes in the intellectual atmosphere of colleges and universities since the election.

The other presenters in this session were (with the one I’m blogging about being the last in the symposium – i.e., after these other four):

  • Rural Differences and Different Ruralites – Michael J. Corbett, Acadia University
  • The “Rural Vote” – Amy Price Azano, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Rural Education and National Policy in 2018 – Devon G. Brenner, Mississippi State University
  • Anti-Intellectualism and the Rural College Student – Carrie Freie, The Pennsylvania State University – Altoona

The session was not a traditional symposium.  They actually divided the room into three circles and then had each presenter do about 5-8 minutes of material, finish with a series of questions, and then we would spend 8-10 minutes talking in the groups that we were moved into with one or more of the symposium leaders.

In terms of the actual portion that included cyber schooling in the abstract, she began by talking about the tension between the reality that school choice and neo-liberal education policy are focused on competition, while rural education often focuses on the notion of community.  The discussion questions she presented were:

  1. How have rural communities experience closures, consolidation, and charters?
  2. What might the impact be of increasingly pro-chapter school policy on rural communities?

So the session really didn’t have any focus on cyber schooling, it was just mentioned as a possible school choice option and not even mentioned by the presenter.

While having nothing to do with K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning, it was very fascinating to sit in a room with folks interested in rural education and talking about the last presidential election – and what I believe was a real lack of understanding of what happened (and almost a defensiveness about rural America being blamed for what happened in 2016).

AERA 2018 – The Efficacy of an Online Learning Program in Schools’ Academic Performance

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the 2018 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association has been happening over the last few days. The fifteenth blog entry related to K-12 online learning session from AERA 2018 that I am posting is:

The Efficacy of an Online Learning Program in Schools’ Academic Performance

In Poster Session: Research on Online Instruction
Tue, April 17, 10:35am to 12:05pm, New York Hilton Midtown, Third Floor, Americas Hall 1-2 – Exhibit Hall

Abstract – This study evaluated the usage and effectiveness of IXL, an online learning tool, across more than 200 public schools in Georgia. Results showed that IXL is being widely used, but that usage levels varied significantly across the schools. The comparison between IXL schools and non-IXL schools suggested that IXL had a positive effect on schools’ academic performance. This effect is also associated with IXL usage. The more a school uses IXL, the larger the expected effect on school performance. The study’s implications on technology integration in K-12 classrooms were discussed.

Author
Liyang Mao, IXL Learning

This was another poster session, so the pictures are below.


Click on any image for a larger version (note that the slides go left to right).

AERA 2018 – Impact of the Algebra Nation Tutoring Program on the Performance of Students Who Retake the End-of-Course Exam

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the 2018 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association has been happening over the last few days. The fourteenth blog entry related to K-12 online learning session from AERA 2018 that I am posting is:

Impact of the Algebra Nation Tutoring Program on the Performance of Students Who Retake the End-of-Course Exam

In Poster Session: Research on Online Instruction
Tue, April 17, 10:35am to 12:05pm, New York Hilton Midtown, Third Floor, Americas Hall 1-2 – Exhibit Hall

Abstract – High failure rates mean many students must repeat Algebra, yet passing rates for repeaters remain low. Online tutoring may be a useful resource for these students. The present analysis examines the impact of Algebra Nation, a free online tutoring platform, on the performance of students who failed the end-of-course (EOC) exam the previous year. Results indicate that higher use of Algebra Nation was associated with greater EOC gains, particularly for students most at risk for repeated failure.

Authors
Walter L. Leite, University of Florida
Carole R. Beal, University of Florida
Anne Corinne Huggins-Manley, University of Florida
Zachary Kendall Collier, University of Florida
Dee Duygu Cetin-Berber, University of Florida

As this was a poster session, I took pictures of the poster.


Click on any image for a larger version.

AERA 2018 – A Latent Class Analysis on Student Journey Through an Online Course

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the 2018 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association has been happening over the last few days. The thirteenth blog entry related to K-12 online learning session from AERA 2018 that I am posting is:

A Latent Class Analysis on Student Journey Through an Online Course

In Poster Session: Research on Online Instruction
Tue, April 17, 10:35am to 12:05pm, New York Hilton Midtown, Third Floor, Americas Hall 1-2 – Exhibit Hall

Abstract – This purpose of this study was to identify similarities and dissimilarities among 210 students enrolled in an online course. Conducting latent class analysis on learning management systems (LMS) data which measured course performance and course engagement over time, the researchers found three statistically different subgroups, while one of them appeared to be more at-risk than the others. This study has implications for course facilitators or instructors who need to recognize such students and provide timely intervention.

Authors
Peiyi Lin, Teachers College, Columbia University
Susan Lowes, Teachers College, Columbia University

These presenters did not show up.

AERA 2018 – Exploring Factors That Promote Online Learning Experiences and Academic Self-Concept of Minority High School Students

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the 2018 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association has been happening over the last few days. The twelfth blog entry related to K-12 online learning session from AERA 2018 that I am posting is:

Exploring Factors That Promote Online Learning Experiences and Academic Self-Concept of Minority High School Students

In Continuous Improvement of Students’ Online Learning Experiences
Tue, April 17, 10:35am to 12:05pm, New York Marriott Marquis, Fifth Floor, Westside Ballroom Salon 4

Abstract – In this study, we examined factors that promote/hinder the learning experiences and academic self-concept of minority high school students in an online. Qualitative interviews were conducted with twenty-four African American, and sixteen Hispanic high school students. The results showed that collaborative learning activities, access to resources, time convenience, student-teacher interactions, student-student interactions, improved academic behavior, and parental support helped to enhance online learning experiences and academic self-concept of the minority students. On the contrary, the lack of social presence, and the lack of cultural inclusion in course content constrain online learning experiences and academic self-concept of the students. Implications for teaching minority high school students in online environment, as well as suggestions for future research are provided.

Authors
Alex Kumi-Yeboah, University at Albany – SUNY
James Dogbey, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi

These presenters did not show up – at least not by the half way point of the session (and the other three had).  So I hightailed it over to one of the other hotels to catch the posters.

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