Virtual School Meanderings

March 23, 2016

SITE 2016 – Supporting Virtual Students: Ensuring Success For All

As I mentioned in the entry entitled SITE 2016 And K-12 Online Learning, the the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) 2016 annual conference is occurring in Savannah, Georgia this week, and SITE is home to the K-12 Online Learning SIG.  That means that I will be blogging many of the sessions throughout the week.  The fifteenth – and final – session for this second day I am blogging is:

Supporting virtual students: Ensuring success for all

  1. Keryn Pratt, University of Otago, New Zealand
  2. Leanna Archambault, Arizona State University, United States
  3. Jered Borup, George Mason University, United States
  4. Kathryn Kennedy, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  5. Joe Freidhoff, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  6. Justin Bruno, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  7. Kristen DeBruler, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  8. Rebecca Stimson, Michigan Virtual University, United States

Wednesday, March 23 3:00 PM-4:00 PM in Regency E View on map

Discuss  Download Paper

This panel explores three aspects of how we can best support the increasing numbers of students involved in some form of virtual learning. Archambault et al. report on conversations surrounding accountability specific to K-12 online learning that have taken place amongst education stakeholders in the state of Michigan, and the key recommendations made to inform policy and practice across the state. Borup then reports on one approach to the on-site provision of support for virtual students. He explores the perceptions and experiences of successful on-site mentors, identifying their areas of responsibility, and the implications of his findings for future research and practice. Pratt reports on the development of a framework aimed at helping those working in virtual learning within the New Zealand context. She discusses how the issues these teachers and support staff face are both similar to and different from those involved in virtual learning elsewhere.

ID
47936
Type
Panel
Topic
K-12 Online Learning

Jered began the symposium with some background on what the nature of learning online is like from a structural standpoint, outlining and explaining the role of the mentor teacher (also known as the virtual school facilitator).  The study that Jered is currently working on is focused on the following research question:

  • How do teachers and mentors work together to support students learning online?

At present, they have only obtained data from the mentors.

  • 8 mentored full-time
  • 4 mentored part-time
    • 2 classroom teachers
    • 1 vice principal
    • 1 counsellor

The average student load for these mentors was 95 students – but the standard deviation was 79.62 and the range was from 50 to 300 students.  The data to date includes just the surveys of the mentors (the interviews are still in progress.

  • communicating with parents, teachers, and others (9/16)
  • supplying and troubleshooting technology (9/12)
  • organizing and managing time and space (8/13)
  • monitoring behaviour and progress (7/9)
  • instructing and tutoring (didn’t catch any more numbers)
  • motivating
  • orienting
  • there were two or three more

Next up in the symposium was Keryn, who began with some background on New Zealand in general and on virtual learning in New Zealand.  The current project was focused on creating a framework for ‘deep support’ – “empowers those involved to look honestly at what is happening, celebrate the achievements and identify areas in which improvements could be made.”  Initial findings have included:

  • using new technologies
  • adapting their pedagogy
  • learning how to support distance students, in multiple schools
  • teachers have no/limited professional development/training in online learning

Currently trying to convert the framework into a web-based resource and then involve various stakeholders within NetNZ.

The symposium finished with Leanna and Kathryn.  After introductions, Leanna gave a brief overview of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.  The study was focused on who is accountable for the students when they are enrolled online from a provider other than the brick-and-mortar school, as well as how online teachers, mentors, and teachers of record were evaluated.  Kathryn than gave some information about the MVLRI’s annual Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report.  For example, there were over 76,000 students enrolled in almost 320,000 enrollments during the 2013-14 school year.  Half of these enrollments resulted in a score of 90% or higher, while a third of these students scored less than 10%.  The number of courses taken were important.  For example, if a student took one course online, there was a two third chance they would pass.  Similarly, if a student took 6 or more courses (i.e., pretty much full-time), almost 90% failed all of their courses.  Leanna then went over some of the key recommendations to the legislature that were contained in the report.

 

SITE 2016 – Establishing Presence and Community in the Online Classroom

Continuing from yesterday…  As I mentioned in the entry entitled SITE 2016 And K-12 Online Learning, the the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) 2016 annual conference is occurring in Savannah, Georgia this week, and SITE is home to the K-12 Online Learning SIG.  That means that I will be blogging many of the sessions throughout the week.  The fourteenth – and first – session for this second day I am blogging is:

Establishing Presence and Community in the Online Classroom

  1. Brianne Leigh Moore-Adams, Virginia Commonwealth University, United States
  2. Sarah Warnick, Virtual Virginia, United States

Wednesday, March 23 10:45 AM-11:15 AM in Regency F View on map

Discuss  Download Paper View Slides Download Slides

Online learning creates a unique environment in which teachers are expected to form relationships with students that are not within their physical proximity. These expectations create specific challenges for the online teacher. This paper describes four dimensions of a successful virtual community: the online persona and virtual classroom, the synchronous session, giving meaningful feedback and the encouragement of student engagement. These four dimensions were developed by two experienced online educators using research of the literature in online teaching and learning as well as their own experiences in the field.

ID
48389
Type
Full Paper
Topics
Teaching and Learning with Emerging Technologies K-12 Online Learning

Bri and Sarah began with introductions – both have worked for Virtual Virginia for several years.  Bri indicated that this session was less a best practices, and more a lessons learned based on their online 6-12 teaching experience.

Bri presented what she referred to as the four dimensions of a success virtual community:

  1. the online persona and the virtual classroom
    • initial impressions should invite the students to the community
    • sense that there is a teacher behind the system, not just a machine
    • consistency with the students face-to-face experiences
  2. the synchronous sessions
    • need to well planned
    • studies report high student satisfaction with synchronous
    • clear student discussion guidelines
  3. meaningful feedback
    • main student complaint is length of time it takes to get feedback
    • feedback needs to be informative, specific, and constructive
  4. encouraging student engagement
    • simple engagement can have positive impact on student success
    • teachers should also participate in the discussion
    • active students promote better “teacher presence”

At the end of their session, although primarily related to the final dimension, Bri did mention this resource:

Mastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation: Resource Guide – https://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/stw/edutopia-onlinelearning-mastering-online-discussion-board-facilitation.pdf

SITE 2016 Wednesday Daily Update

Updates from SITE this morning…

Dear Michael Barbour:

Good Wednesday morning at SITE 2016!  Please see the email below regarding today’s events and participation guidelines to help make your day at the conference a successful one.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23 OVERVIEW:  http://www.academicexperts.org/conf/site/2016/schedule/
—————————————
8:00 am – 5 pm……Registration
8:30 am – 9:45 am……General Session, Award Presentations & Keynote
9:45 am – 10:15 am……Newcomer Welcome (in Regency Ballroom A/B)
9:45 am – 10:15 am……Beverage Break
10:15 am – 12:30 pm……Morning Sessions
12:30 pm – 1:45 pm……Lunch Break & SIG Meetings
1:45 pm – 5 pm…… Afternoon Sessions
5:30 pm – 7 pm……Poster Sessions

WEDNESDAY’S SPEAKERS:
—————————–
KEYNOTE:  8:30AM, Regency Ballroom AB
Designing for Success with Game-based Learning
LARYSA NADOLNY, Iowa State University, US

KEYNOTE CONVERSATION: 10:15AM, Regency Ballroom AB
LARYSA NADOLNY, Iowa State University, US

**MOVED: INVITED SPEAKER: 11:30AM, Regency Ballroom AB
Smart Learning Environments: Concepts and Issues
MIKE SPECTOR, University of North Texas, US

SIG MEETINGS
12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
——————
Be sure to grab your lunch and head to your Special Interest Group Meeting today! More information on PAGE 6 of your program.

*Please note that lunches are only provided to those attending a SIG meeting today.

POSTERS & DEMONSTRATIONS
Harbourside / 5:30PM-7PM
——————————————————————————————
All attendees are welcome to join in this exciting and popular venue for exchanging ideas! Cash bar & snacks provided.

CREATE YOUR PROFILE ON ACADEMICEXPERTS.ORG !!
——————————————————————-
– Plan your session schedule
– Search for other attendees
– Join SIG Conversations
– Connect with and message participants
– Include in your profile imported publications from the EdITLib Digital Library (http://EdITLib.org)
– Create and participate in discussions connected to every presentation as well as  outside of presentations
– View social web feeds

and More!

———————–
Enjoy your day!

Best Regards,
Sarah Benson
SITE Conference Director
***************************************************************
Conference Services
SITE – Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education
PO Box 719, Waynesville, NC 28786-0719  USA
E-mail: conf@aace.org  *  http://site.aace.org
***************************************************************

March 22, 2016

SITE 2016 – A University’s Approach to Preparing Teaching Candidates for Blended and Online Settings

As I mentioned in the entry entitled SITE 2016 And K-12 Online Learning, the the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) 2016 annual conference is occurring in Savannah, Georgia this week, and SITE is home to the K-12 Online Learning SIG.  That means that I will be blogging many of the sessions throughout the week.  The thirteenth – and final – session for this first day I am blogging is:

A University’s Approach to Preparing Teaching Candidates for Blended and Online Settings

  1. Jayme Linton, Lenoir-Rhyne University, United States

Tuesday, March 22 4:35-4:55 PM in Savannah View on map

Discuss  Download Paper

Teaching candidates at Lenoir-Rhyne University learn, evaluate and apply blended learning methods by completing a blended methods course and a blended practicum during their senior year. A collaborative school-university partnership allows these teaching candidates to enter the education field ready to leverage technology to personalize learning for all students. An innovative graduate program also prepares K-12 teachers, college and university instructors, and business professionals for quality instructional design and online teaching. Join this session to learn about one university’s approach to preparing educators for blended and online settings.

ID
48167
Type
Best Practices
Topics
Teaching and Learning with Emerging Technologies K-12 Online Learning

Like Jamie’s earlier session, the brief paper presenter prior to her in this session took 26 (and then took questions, so she actually took a total of 28 minutes), instead of the allocated 20 minutes.  Note the presenter below (as I have no problem naming and shaming this poor academic behaviour).

Improving Professional Development with Flipped Workshops

4:15-4:35 PM
  1. Deyu Hu, Virginia Tech, United States

 

Anyway, when Jamie finally got a chance to speak…   She began by talking about her graduate level, pre-service program – which is a four semester program (30 credit hours, which includes 9 that can be used for the graduate certificate).  There is an option for students to also obtain a graduate certificate in online teaching and instructional design (which is an 18 credit hour program, or 9 credits in addition to the Master’s).  It includes a technology course that focuses on tools for online and blended learning, they have a semester-long virtual school student teaching, they also have coursework focused specifically on online teaching methods, foundations of distance education, and instructional design.

For both their online and blended programs, they are using the iNACOL standards and frameworks as their guiding documents.  I’ll be honest and say I missed a lot of what Jamie said at the beginning about the optional blended learning program, as I got caught up in my e-mail.  One of the things the pre-service teachers how have opted for the blended learning track do is observe both their higher education faculty and their co-operating teachers through the lens of a specific blended learning form.  This is the same forms that their blended learning university supervisor – as these pre-service teachers have two university supervisors (a regular one and a blended learning one) – will use when they do their observation of the pre-service teacher during student teaching.  One of the specific tasks these pre-service teachers who choose the blended learning option have to do is create a blended learning unit plan, which begin with a pre-assessment – and this plan has to be implemented during their student teaching.  Pre-service teachers are also responsible for choosing one subject area where they will focus on implementing blended learning in during their student teaching.  Most selected math, and as they have success they begin using blended learning in their other subject areas.

SITE 2016 – Symposia On Teacher Preparation And Professional Development In K-12 Online And Blended Teaching

As I mentioned in the entry entitled SITE 2016 And K-12 Online Learning, the the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) 2016 annual conference is occurring in Savannah, Georgia this week, and SITE is home to the K-12 Online Learning SIG.  That means that I will be blogging many of the sessions throughout the week.  The twelfth session I am blogging is:

Symposia on teacher preparation and professional development in K-12 online and blended teaching

  1. Kathryn Kennedy, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  2. Leanna Archambault, Arizona State University, United States
  3. Keryn Pratt, University of Otago, United States
  4. Sandra Williamson-Leadley, University of Otago, United States
  5. Krista Tomaselli, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  6. Kristen DeBruler, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  7. Jayme Linton, Lenoir-Rhyne University, United States
  8. Erin Stafford, Education Development Center, Inc./REL Midwest, United States
  9. Jacqueline Zweig, Education Development Center, Inc./REL Midwest, United States
  10. Jamie DeWitt, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  11. Kristin Flynn, Michigan Virtual University, United States

Tuesday, March 22 3:00 PM-4:00 PM in Scarbrough 1 View on map

Discuss  Download Paper

K-12 online learning continues to grow, and so does the need for teachers to be prepared and provided professional development for this burgeoning area. This symposia panel will present their work in the area of teacher preparation and professional development in K-12 online and blended teaching.

ID
49192
Type
Symposium
Topic
K-12 Online Learning

This was actually a continuation from the Symposia On Teacher Preparation And Professional Development In K-12 Online And Blended Teaching in the previous slot.  This part of the session began with Keryn and Sandra, who began with a bit of background on virtual learning in New Zealand (and the role of the Virtual Learning Network-Community, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, and the Virtual Learning Network-Primary.  Last year, Keryn presented on the first version of this study – which only had two responses.  This year they have 21 responses (as the survey was sent this time to a purposeful sample).  Interestingly, 45% of the responses from individuals involved in initial teacher education (ITE) has no personal online learning experience.  In the responses, there was great confusion between online learning and e-learning (i.e., technology integration/blended learning).  Few of those involved in ITE knew of online learning in the schools sector or had knowledge of online learning in the schools, although most thought it could be effective but that it was quite different than face-to-face learning.  Most felt that online learning should be a required component of ITE programs, but almost none of them were doing anything in their own ITE classes related to online learning.

The second group was the REL MidWest folks (i.e., Jacquieline and Erin).  They began with a background on what the RELs are and what their purposes were – which include the Virtual Learning Research Alliance (see http://www.relmidwest.org/research-alliances/virtual-education-research-alliance ).  This presentation was basically focused on their Professional Experiences of Online Teachers in Wisconsin: Results from a Survey About Training and Challenges project (and be sure to check out Ray Rose’s commentary on a recent webinar the REL presented on this study – Professional experiences of online teachers in Wisconsin: Results from a survey about training and challenges).  Interestingly, almost 90% of the respondents indicated that they received training to teach online while they were teaching online, whereas less than a third received any training to teach online from their teacher education programs.  In terms of topic, much of the professional development was focused on the tools and using the tools, very little focused on the actual pedagogy of online teaching (and very few reported receiving any training related to students with special needs in the online environment).  The most frequently indicated challenges focused on student engagement and student perseverance.

The final portion of the symposium was a replication study of their earlier replication study related to K-12 online learning and field experiences (see their earlier Journal of Teacher Education article here).  Leanna and Kathryn began with a brief background on the status of K-12 online learning (i.e., Keeping Pace report information).  They then shifted to reviewing the 2010 study (again, see above link).  As a reminder, the 2010 survey had a 31.8% response rate (i.e., 522 responses) from 49 of the states (i.e., none from Maine).  Only 31 programs offered models of field experiences in K-12 online learning (i.e., 1.3% of the sample).  In the 2016 survey, based on the data to date, there have been 336 responses representing 47 states (missing NV, VT, and WY) – note that this is from a population of ~2500 (so about a response rate of about 10%-15%).  To date 11% of the respondents (i.e., about 20 programs) have indicated that their offer field experiences in K-12 online learning.  Although this number may be inflated, as in the 2010 survey they found that when they asked programs to describe their online learning experiences it was not actually field experiences in K-12 online learning.  Interestingly, a higher percentage of programs indicated that they didn’t need to include K-12 online learning as a part of their field experience in 2016, as opposed to 2010 (i.e., more teacher education programs felt this was important for future teachers in 2010 compared to 2016).

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