Virtual School Meanderings

March 5, 2015

SITE 2015 – Research Panel on Professional Development and Teacher Preparation for K-12 Online and Blended Settings

The twenty-second session, and the final one for day three of blogging, at the 2015 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education related to K-12 online learning that I am blogging is:

Research Panel on Professional Development and Teacher Preparation for K-12 Online and Blended Settings

  1. Scott Petri, Los Angeles Unified School District, United States
  2. Keryn Pratt, University of Otago, New Zealand
  3. Susan Poyo, Franciscan University of Steubenville, United States
  4. Kathy McVey, Franciscan University of Steubenville, United States
  5. Mary Lucille Smith, Franciscan University of Steubenville, United States

Thursday, March 5 4:15-5:15 PM in Amazon H View on map

<Presentation: Paper #44226>
Amazon H Thursday, Mar 05 2015 04:15PM-05:15PM

This panel will bring together leading experts to explore the research related to teaching roles in K-12 online and blended classrooms. Scott Petri will discuss how MOOCs can be used as a mechanism for providing professional development for teachers in online and blended settings. Keryn Pratt will report on a how teachers are being preparing in New Zealand to support students at a distance and will highlight areas for improvement. Susan Poyo, Mary K. McVey, Mary Lucille Smith, and Tiffany Boury will discuss a new direction one teacher preparation program is taking to support teacher candidates in the development of pedagogy knowledge, content knowledge, and technology necessary for successful online instruction. Finally, Margie Johnson will discuss a qualitative descriptive case study used to explore the factors influencing the use of My HUB, an asynchronous professional development portal, and to identify the features district teachers perceived as useful for improving their teaching.

Scott was the first panelist and was talking about massive open online courses (MOOCs) and the innovative teacher.  Scott conducted a study that used an adapted Entrepreneurial Orientation instrument with approximately 700 teachers.  This was Scott’s dissertation, and he didn’t really describe what he found or what he did – but I did a quick Google search and you can read it for yourself at http://scholarworks.csun.edu/handle/10211.2/4464.  Scott then transitioned to discussing the MOOCs that he has been working with.  You can see the genesis of his presentation at http://petridishing.net/2015/03/05/site-presentation-materials/.

The second group of panelists were Susan, Mary and Mary from Steubenville.  Their session focused on the following research question: “What knowledge, skills, and dispositions do pre-service teachers need to effectively instruct in virtual settings?”  The university is in close proximity to two cyber charter schools – one in PA and one in OH – that they have worked quite closely with on a Master’s in Education program and that relationship was expanded to include a virtual school field experience that was between six and seven weeks in length.  The rest of the session included a bunch of quotes through the lens of Falloon’s framework – both positive and negative – from the student teachers about their experiences with the virtual school field experience around topics such as communication of information, student engagement, etc..  Their second partnership, which focused a little closer to the above mentioned research question, was focused on three student teachers that were working with Buckeye Online School for Success (BOSS).  From this partnership, they found that there was a need for the field experience to prepare student teachers to troubleshoot technology, monitor engagement, assess student learning, among others.

The final panelist in this session was Keryn, who was presenting about teacher education and blended learning in New Zealand. Keryn began with some background on the Kiwi context, and then the background to the Virtual Learning Network and the various e-learning clusters.  Her actual study focused on 22 of the providers of teacher education, three of whom responded and only one of them answered all of the questions (Keryn’s own institution).  In this response, there was some awareness of online learning in primary and secondary schools, they believed that it could be effective, they felt that awareness and experience in online learning could be somewhat important, but they had no organized mechanisms to provide any awareness or experience.  To provide some more substance to her presentation, Keryn surveyed the websites of the various secondary teacher preparation programs.  She found that none of them mentioned any kind of online or blended field experience.  Some mentioned blended learning or digital learning or e-learning in their materials, but it was often more in a buzzword kind of marketing way.  There were a couple of institutions that delivered portions of their program online, which at least allowed students to gain experience in online learning from the learner perspective.

SITE 2015 – The Disconnect Between Policy and Research: Examining the Research into Full-Time K-12 Online Learning

The twenty-first session at the 2015 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education related to K-12 online learning that I am blogging is:

The Disconnect Between Policy and Research: Examining the Research into Full-Time K-12 Online Learning

  1. Michael Barbour, Sacred Heart University, United States

Thursday, March 5 2:15-2:45 PM in Amazon R View on map

<Presentation: Paper #44939>
Amazon R Thursday, Mar 05 2015 01:45PM-02:45PM

While there has been some improvement in what is known about supplemental K-12 online learning, there continues to be a lack of evidence to guide the practice of full-time K-12 online learning. This paper concludes that despite considerable enthusiasm for full-time virtual education in some quarters, there is little high quality research to support the practice or call for expanding this form of virtual schools.

This was one of my sessions, so I have posted my presentation to Slideshare and these are embedded below.

SITE 2015 – Panel on Research Using Data to Ensure Quality in K-12 Online Education

The twentieth session at the 2015 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education related to K-12 online learning that I am blogging is:

Panel on Research Using Data to Ensure Quality in K-12 Online Education

  1. Christine Voelker, Quality Matters, United States
  2. Kerry Rice, Boise State University, United States
  3. Joseph Freidhoff, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  4. Kristen DeBruler, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  5. Kathryn Kennedy, Michigan Virtual University, United States
  6. Bruce Friend, International Association for K-12 Online Learning, United States

Thursday, March 5 1:45-2:45 PM in Amazon M View on map

<Presentation: Paper #44174>
Amazon M Thursday, Mar 05 2015 01:45PM-02:45PM

This panel will bring together leading experts to explore the research related to using data to ensure quality in K-12 online education. Christine Voelker will present the latest in research from Quality Matters. Kerry Rice will explore integrating data mining in program evaluation. Joseph R. Freidhoff, Kristen DeBruler, and Kathryn Kennedy will focus on a statewide look at the impact and effectiveness of online learning. Bruce Friend will share his practical experience about what school leaders and teachers are asking in terms of research questions as they move toward blended and online learning.

Once again, SITE has done a stellar job and scheduled two Virtual Schooling SIG sessions at the same time – this panel and a full paper session that I am presenting in.  So, I am unable to blog about it, but I did want to pass along the information in case anyone who was at the session wanted to post their notes in the comments.

SITE 2015 – Panel on Research on Supporting K-12 Online and Blended Students

The nineteenth session at the 2015 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education related to K-12 online learning that I am blogging is:

Panel on Research on Supporting K-12 Online and Blended Students

  1. Lori Werth, Northwest Nazarene University, United States
  2. Kim Huett, University of West Georgia, United States
  3. Jered Borup, George Mason University, United States
  4. Jamie Worrell, Connections Education and Florida Virtual School, United States
  5. Lindsey Wahlbrink, Connections Education and Florida Virtual School, United States

Thursday, March 5 11:30 AM-12:30 PM in Amazon I View on map

<Presentation: Paper #44161>
Amazon I Thursday, Mar 05 2015 11:30AM-12:30PM

This panel will bring together leading experts to explore the research related to supporting K-12 online and blended students. Lori Werth will present her work on a study of using Khan Academy in blended learning in order to address students’ learning of math in Idaho. Kim Huett will explore the promises and challenges of student-centered learning in BYOT-enhanced environments. Jered Borup will focus on understanding learner interactions at an online charter school. Jamie Worrell and Lindsey Wahlbrink will present their work on using Response to Intervention at a virtual school.

Lori began by talking about Sal Khan and the Khan Academy.  The study itself was quite broad – 33 school districts, 52 schools, approximately 12,000 students, and 196 teachers.  Lori actually spent the majority of her time describing the demographics of the schools, teachers, and students that were participating in the study.  The study itself had five research questions, and resulted in a 200+ page report.  Lori had to race through her findings (which accounted for less than a quarter of her time), so I’ll just point you to the project website – http://www.khanidaho.org/ (and see http://www.nnu.edu/news/2014/09/22/khan-academy-large-scale-research-study-led-by-nnu-doceo-center/).

Kim was the next panelist.  This session was focused on Kim’s dissertation study that she completed this past Summer, which focused on the affordances and limitations of BYOT in science learning.  Basically, Kim went into a seventh grade science classroom for a month conducting observations and conducting interviews with the teacher and the teacher’s co-planner partner.  She purposively selected a very affluent school that was known statewide for their BYOT.  Kim found that BYOT could be used to do a lot of interesting, creative, and exciting things; however, direct instruction and other elements of school culture was still a barrier to allowing these things to happen.  Teacher time – both to learn the tools and the resources, as well as to assist students that just didn’t have the skills – was also a barrier or limitation.

Jered was the next one up.  Instead of presenting on a specific study, Jered wanted to discuss a broader research agenda – which was focused on his ACE framework.  I could provide notes of what Jered said, but I figure his own words are probably better – https://sites.google.com/site/jeredborup/research-statement.  And you can read about the framework in this article:

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.

The final session was from Jamie and Lindsey.  Jamie began their portion by providing some background on the Florida Virtual School, stressing how FLVS is a leader in the field and that other K-12 online learning programs look to FLVS for guidance and leadership.  And then Lindsey provided some background into RTI and what it was and how it should operate.  This portion was also much like those practice sessions SITE used to do a year or two or three ago, where the presenters simply described what they did and the process that they used.

SITE 2015 – Teacher Perceptions of Parental Engagement at a Cyber School

The eighteenth session at the 2015 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education related to K-12 online learning that I am blogging is:

Teacher Perceptions of Parental Engagement at a Cyber School

  1. Jered Borup, George Mason University, United States

Thursday, March 5 10:45-11:15 AM in Conga A View on map

<Presentation: Paper #44671>
Conga A Thursday, Mar 05 2015 10:15AM-11:15AM
Yu-Li Chen: Conga A, 2015-03-05 10:15:00-2015-03-05 11:15:00

A growing number of adolescent students are taking all or most of their courses online and choosing to learn from home rather than in a traditional brick-and-mortar setting. This places a greater responsibility on the student’s parents to support and facilitate their student’s learning. This research used teacher surveys and interviews to better understand how teachers perceived and supported parents’ attempts to support their online students. Results showed that parents supported their students by (1) organizing and managing students’ schedules, (2) facilitating interactions, and (3) instructing students when necessary. However, teachers perceived parental efforts in organizing and facilitating activities as more valuable than parents’ instructing activities.

Jered set the stage by discussing some of the literature that has found that cyber charter schools (i.e., full-time K-12 online learning programs) perform quite poorly compared to brick-and-mortar schools.  He then transitioned to the role of the parent – and specifically parental engagement in their child’s education – in the full-time online environment.  When we consider what the school can control, in terms of parental engagement, school policies are the only ones – and most K-12 online learning program policies focus on quantity of interactions or engagement, not the quality.

The study Jered was reporting focused on teacher perceptions of parent engagement.  The particular cyber school that Jered was working with had a parent organization, they required them to register in person and conducted an in-person orientation with parents at that time, basically the school valued and tried to provide a specific structure to ensure parent engagement.

Jered surveyed 15 of the 21 teachers, and then conducted a follow-up interview with 11 of those teachers.  The data teacher surveys included:

  1. Top response – organizing and managing student schedule (13/15)
  2. Bottom responses – nurturing and mentoring students / instructing students (5/15)

According to the online teachers, those parents that had previously homeschooled their children really needed to take a step back from their child’s education (as they were no longer the teacher), whereas those parents that did not homeschool needed to take a step forward and get more involved.  Apparently the homeschooled parents’ role did cause some friction for the teachers.

There was a great deal of teacher-parent communication.  Often, if the parent recognized the student was struggling first they would contact the teacher, and if the teacher recognized it first they would contact the parent.  Although Jered did note that in some instances, the parents served as a buffer between the teacher and the student (i.e., protecting a struggling student) or being unresponsive (i.e., student not doing well and has gone missing, and the parent is roughly the same – but this was a minority of instances).

Teachers also felt that one of the main roles for the parents were as a cheerleader for the student, but also providing a carrot/stick approach to motivating the students.  This latter item required a great deal of collaboration between the teacher and parent.  Teachers also indicated that parental volunteering in academically valuable activities or modeling those activities was a strong source of motivation.

Finally, teachers did not expect parents to be instructors – and students often complained that parental teaching could make matters worse.  This was moreso in science and mathematics, as social studies and English teachers generally appreciated things like proof reading and foreign language teachers appreciated the extra practice that parents could provide the students.

Cyber schooling allows parents more opportunities to facilitate and frustrate student learning.  The key is teacher-parent communications and ensuring that specific expectations and guidelines are established.

Jered finished by describing his ACE framework and suggested that this could be a model that could be used in future research into parental involvement.

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