Virtual School Meanderings

May 22, 2016

Nau mai! Haere mai!

For my Kiwi readers…

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VLN Primary School

Nau mai! Haere mai! by Rachel Whalley

VLN Primary School
VLN Primary School— Rachel Whalley

All are welcome to join our VLN Primary AGM Tuesday 24th May 4.00 pm. Agenda & Connection details are: Read more
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Copyright © VLN Primary School, 2016

Please note that I am a member of the Governance Group for this e-learning cluster.

Need A Speaker? Check Out OLC’s Speakers Bureau

Also from Friday’s inbox…

Introducing OLC’s Speakers Bureau
Dear Michael,

Looking for a speaker for your next event?  The OLC Speakers Bureau can help you identify the right motivational, keynote or professional speaker to fit your needs.

From keynotes at large conferences to motivational speakers at faculty or professional development events, we have a wide range of speakers available to fit the occasion and your budget. The best part of all is that we handle all of the logistics for the speaker!

For more information, call me at (781) 583-7571 or email me.

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Keep on Learning!


Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D. | Director of Strategic Partnerships | Online Learning Consortium

View as Webpage

The Online Learning Consortium | P.O. Box 1238 | Newburyport | MA | 01950

Expert Tips: How to Improve Learning in Your Online Class

From Friday’s inbox…

Distance Teaching and Learning Conference: Immerse yourself in learning. Reward yourself in Madison. August 9-11.
Expert tips: How to Improve Learning in Your Online Classes

This year’s DT&L Conference program includes many of the nation’s leading experts in distance and online education. We’ve asked a few of our speakers to share some practical and simple tips for improving online learning.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Thomas J. Tobin
Northeastern Illinois University

When it comes to accessibility, stop thinking ONLY about learners with disabilities. Think about all of your students and how they access your course materials. Give them more time for personal study through wider access to materials, interactions, and engagement throughout your course. Think of the single mother who put her kids to bed, but still wants to watch your video lecture materials. She pulls up an app on her smartphone, turns the sound off and the captions on, and the kids stay asleep. She finds an extra hour to study she didn’t think she had before. Offering just one more way to get or give information transforms “accessibility” into just plain “access” –for everybody.

Creating Online Instructor Presence
Simone C.O. Conceição
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Creating presence in an online course requires a psychological sensitivity to the dynamic interplay between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Too often online communication focuses on the cognitive aspects of learning, while ignoring the emotional dimensions. Because the online environment is elusive, there is a need to create a sense of being “real” in a text‑based environment. Using emoticons or words that communicate a sense of excitement can help stimulate discussion and provide a feeling of being present with others.

Here’s one example: when giving feedback to students in an online forum, an unemotional and formal response might be: “Your comments were well-grounded in evidence‑based research.” Instead, consider adding a little emotional excitement by saying “I’m delighted to see that you included evidence‑based research in your posts.” Although subtle, conveying appropriate emotional excitement gives your learners an increased sense of your presence in the online environment.

Authentic task‑based learning in online courses
Thomas Reeves
University of Georgia

A common deficiency in both online and classroom courses is the presentation of content without context. One solution is to incorporate authentic, or real‑world, scenarios into the curriculum, typically by asking students to collaborate on a real‑world problem. Learners benefit by both working together to define the challenge and then preparing a plan that also documents individual and shared contributions. Through authentic tasks, students actively engage in the learning process and naturally collaborate.

While these collaborations can be brief, the best authentic tasks tend to be more complex and time‑consuming, often requiring work spread over several weeks. Remember, most online learners need considerable structure and guidance from facilitators to both successfully complete the tasks and improve their collaboration skills.

Register now for the Distance Teaching & Learning Conference, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin‑Madison, August 9‑11, 2016, at Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin.
Questions? Contact Kimary Peterson • kimary.peterson@wisc.edu608‑265‑4159
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UW-Madison Distance Ed Professional Development | | UW-Madison Continuing Studies | 21 N Park St | Madison, WI 53715

Worth A Read

A regular Sunday feature…

Worth A Read

Building a better school board

Posted: 18 May 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Ted Roelofs discusses the difficulties encountered by school board members in Michigan. “The job description is not exactly enticing: Crummy or non-existent pay. Long meetings. And the prospect of fights over anything from school closings, to sex education, to the resignation of a basketball coach.”

Far from top ten in education, Michigan is falling further behind the rest of the nation

Posted: 18 May 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Education Trust-Midwest released a new report, ‘Michigan’s Talent Crisis: The Economic Case for Rebuilding Michigan’s Broken Public Education System,’ on Thursday. “In addition to providing a comprehensive report on the status of public education in Michigan, the new report outlines specific next steps for Michigan to systemically improve its K-12 education system based on strategies proven [sic] to work in leading states across the country.”

The ‘Intolerable’ Fight Over School Money

Posted: 17 May 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Cory Turner, NPREd, discusses ongoing negotiations and tensions stemming from school funding changes under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Study: To Close the Achievement Gap, Close the Resource Gap

Posted: 15 May 2016 09:00 PM PDT

The Education Testing Service (ETS) released a new report this week. The report, ‘Mind the Gap: 20 Years of Progress and Retrenchment in School Funding, Staffing Resources & Achievement Gaps,’ was written by Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University and Danielle Farrie and David G. Sciarra of the Education Law Center (ELC) of New Jersey. “Using over twenty years of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data on revenue and expenditures for schools, the authors explore the relationship between substantive and sustained school finance reforms and improved student outcomes. They focus on income inequality — specifically child poverty — for evaluating gaps in those educational resources and outcomes.”

Detroit schools’ decline and teacher sickout reflect bad economy and demographic shifts

Posted: 14 May 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Joy Resmovits discusses the impact of recent teacher sickouts for the Detroit Public School System (DPS). “The distrust and financial insecurity that exploded this month followed years of buildup — a mounting deficit, dramatically declining enrollment and management by one state-appointed official after another. The problems paralleled Detroit’s overall downturn as it lost population and jobs as industry declined.”

EBSCO Alerts

ebscoFirst, I received the alert for virtual school, but there were no relevant items.

Next, I also received the alert for cyber school, and again there were no relevant items.

Finally, I did not receive the alert for K-12 online learning.

So nothing to report this week…

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