Virtual School Meanderings

March 19, 2019

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UMUC 2.0

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Virtual exchanges promise study-abroad experience for the masses

US universities that seek the benefits of study-abroad programmes without the forbidding costs are increasingly turning to “virtual” foreign exchanges involving individual students and entire classrooms. Although the underlying idea is not new, improvements in technology and a growing recognition of the value of virtual exchanges have fuelled adoption across US campuses in just the past year […]

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SITE 2019 – Reciprocal Teaching And Padlet: Writing About Reading With Slovakian Students Learning English

The tenth session, and final session today, focused on K-12 distance, online and/or blended learning of SITE 2019  that I am blogging is:

Reciprocal Teaching and Padlet: Writing about Reading with Slovakian Students Learning English

ID: 54560Type: Roundtable
  1. Victoria Seeger, Northwest Missouri State University, United States
  2. Sara Worsfold, Currently working at a school in Cambodia., United States

Tuesday, March 19 4:15 PM-5:15 PM

No presider for this session.

In a year-long case study, Sara Worsfold used Reciprocal Teaching Strategy (RTS) and Padlet to engage Slovakian high school students and focus on comprehension of English through speaking, reading, and writing. RTS is a research based, highly effective, strategy encouraging students to participate at a higher level of thinking. It is aimed at increasing students’ overall comprehension of the text being read but challenging the reader to construct deeper inferences, arguments and ideas. When students used the strategy while reading a text, they had multiple opportunities to work independently in becoming more metacognitively aware while leaning on peers to challenge thinking and clarify any confusing parts. Padlet worked well for short written responses and assisted English learners in viewing writing as less threatening while we, as facilitators, could respond to their writing with probing questions, praise points and teach points. Padlet was introduced to the students to assist them in using written English skills about RTS roles, comprehension of text, vocabulary, and goal-setting as readers and speakers. Because Padlet lends itself well to shorter responses, the Slovakian students viewed the writing as less threatening while we, as facilitators, could respond to their writing with probing questions, praise points and teach points. Multiple examples of students’ responses will be shared along with analyses of the data resulting from the study.


This session was more technology integration session than a K-12 online learning session.  This study was focused around Sara’s Fulbright time in Slovakia (and she was actually joining us from Cambodia), and she began by telling us a bit about the K-12 school system in Slovakia.  Apparently the nature of reciprocal teaching ran counter to the experience that most students had in the school system up to that point.  The decision to actually implement reciprocal teaching was because of a lack of student engagement that Sara was experiencing.  Additionally, as the students did not want to work in small groups, Sara decided to incorporate some form of technology.  And since the students also did not want to write in English, she chose Padlet as her tool.

Next, Victoria showed us some examples of the specific Padlets were used so that we could see how they were doing.

Then Sara discussed a bit about how students assumed some of the specific roles under reciprocal teaching: summariser, questioner, clarifier and predictor.  The students seemed to like the questioner role most, as they saw it as the leadership role – even if reciprocal teaching doesn’t have a hierarchy of roles.  The survey data showed that the students thought that they were better questioners than they actually were, and this was the role that showed the most student growth.

Interestingly, with respect to the predictor role was that students were analyzing  their own predictions as the course progressed, often refining their predictions or assessing the quality of the predictions that they made.

The clarifier role was the most difficult for the students, and the one they struggled with the most.

In terms of the summariser role, the students often used writing conventions such as bulleting or numbering their summarized points.  It was a skill that many already possessed.  They were quite strategic about the process, often looking for key vocabulary words for their main points.

SITE 2019 – Revisiting The Adolescent Community Of Engagement Framework

The ninth session focused on K-12 distance, online and/or blended learning of SITE 2019  that I am blogging is:

Revisiting the Adolescent Community of Engagement Framework

ID: 54556Type: Roundtable
  1. Jered Borup, George Mason University, United States
  2. Charles R. Graham, Brigham Young University, United States
  3. Leanna Archambault, Arizona State University, United States

Tuesday, March 19 3:00 PM-4:00 PM

No presider for this session.

K-12 online learning research has grown but the field still lacks widely accepted frameworks that can help to focus the field on those factors most likely to promote student success. Using existing K-12 online learning research, frameworks created for online learning in higher education, and frameworks for parental involvement in brick-and-mortar settings, Authors (2014) developed the Adolescent Community of Engagement (ACE) framework to describe ways that teachers, parents, and students’ peers support and foster online students’ affective, behavioral, and cognitive engagement. The authors then began applying the framework to case studies at a charter cyber school, independent study online program, and a supplemental online program that provided students with an online teacher and on-site facilitator. Those case studies helped to better understand the engagement indicators originally included in the framework and identify indicators that were originally overlooked. Furthermore, some of the indicators originally included in the framework did not appear to actually make meaningful impacts on student engagement. As a result, we are now in the process of revising the framework and will share and discuss the revisions with those who attend the round table.


This was a roundtable session focused on the Adolescent Community of Engagement (ACE) framework – see for how Jered describes the framework and the specific studies that have helped develop it.  Jered began the session by asking the participants around the table about what is a framework and how we use it or use it with our students.

Jered then used a couple of examples (e.g., Moore’s 1989 framework for interaction or the Communities of Inquiry framework) as a way to provoke discussion around the role of frameworks, their strengths, and their limitations; as well as to provide some contextual background as to how the ACE framework came about (see Borup, West, Graham, & Davies, 2014).  He then transitioned to describing some of the studies that help outline and refine the framework (and these studies are listed in his research statement that I linked above).

Jered did provide a hand-out about the new or revised framework (see images below).



The remainder of the session was discussing the revised framework.  Some of the issues that came up included defining the actors who or actions that fell under the “course community” and the “personal community” – including some that even the presenters conflicted on (e.g., peers, facilitators, several school-based personal in fact).  There were also discussions around around the independent engagement variable, and defining it as development or autonomy (i.e., self-regulation and self-efficacy were also terms used).

The next important step, beyond refining the framework through qualitative work, would be the development of an instrument to measure some of these variables.


Borup, J., West, R. E., Graham, C. R., & Davies, R. (2014). The adolescent community of engagement framework: A lens for research on K-12 online learning. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 22, 107-129.


SITE 2019 – A Descriptive Study Of Schools That Offer Supplemental Online Courses In High School And The Students That Take Them

The eighth session focused on K-12 distance, online and/or blended learning of SITE 2019  that I am blogging is:

A descriptive study of schools that offer supplemental online courses in high school and the students that take them

ID: 53949Type: Brief Paper
  1. Jacqueline Zweig, Erin Stafford, and Camille Lemieux, Education Development Center (EDC), United States

Tuesday, March 19 2:25-2:45 PM

No presider for this session.

While there is landscape information about specific states and regions, there are few national estimates of the number of high school students taking supplemental online courses for credit. Further, there is a lack of information about the characteristics of schools that offer these courses and the characteristics of the students who take them for credit. This study fills this gap in the literature by providing information gathered through the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) school and student questionnaires. The findings indicate that the majority of schools offered online courses in 2015 with 63% of schools offering online courses in mathematics and 69% offering online English or language arts courses. Further, 12% of 12th grade students took an online mathematics course for credit and 19% took an online English course for credit. This brief paper presentation will focus on the important differences in the characteristics of students who took and did not take an online course. The findings suggest that it is critical for schools to have appropriate support structures for students enrolled in online courses and that teacher preparation programs consider the training that they are providing to prospective teachers about how to teach online courses in these subjects.


Jacqueline began by talking about problematic nature of K-12 online learning participation data.  Their study focused on the NAEP data, as they do ask about online learning according to Jacqueline.  There are two surveys that make up the NAEP data: one that is given to schools and one that is given to up to 60 students in each school.

In terms of the findings…

  • 63% of schools offered an online course in math
  • 68% of schools offered an online course in English language arts

In terms of the schools, they were quite similar.  Jacqueline noted that a smaller percentage of schools in the northeast offered online courses.

Here are some of the slides that were too detailed to type, but I wanted to share the results Jacqueline presented.

Interestingly, 10% of students that took an online mathematics course or an online English language arts course did not have Internet at home.


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