The eighth session, and the first one for Wednesday, 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 Supporting Teachers and Accessibility in K-12 Online and Blended Learning Contexts
- Leanna Archambault, Arizona State University, United States
- Jean Larson, Arizona State University, United States
- Wendy Oliver, Randa Solutions, United States
- Anne Roycroft, Florida Virtual School, United States
- Ray Rose, Rose & Smith Associates, United States
Wednesday, March 4 11:30 AM-12:30 PM in Amazon A View on map
<Presentation: Paper #44269>
Amazon A Wednesday, Mar 04 2015 11:30AM-12:30PM
This panel will bring together leading experts to explore the research related to K-12 online and blended teachers. Leanna Archambault and Jean Larson will examine perceptions of K-12 online teachers including the career paths that led them to teaching online, the dominant factors that influenced the decision to teach online, and what training or preparation is needed. Wendy Oliver will explore the feasibility of using the same method Tennessee currently uses to gauge teaching quality of traditionally-delivered courses to determine teaching quality in the online environment. Anne Roycroft will focus on the lived experience of full-time high school social studies teachers in the online environment and, in particular, the ways in which they facilitate effective classrooms using project-based lessons in an online environment. and Ray Rose will explore the latest relevant complaint and compliance reports, and case law for ensuring online course accessibility in K-12 online settings.
The first person to present in this panel was Leanna, who was actually presenting some dissertation research of one of her former students. The study focused on the factors that influenced the reasons for teaching online, which included:
- employment opportunity (20.5%)
- new teaching model (19.4%)
- supplemental income (all of the rest were less than 10%)
- ability to work from home
- student benefits
- love of technology and teaching
- frustrations with face-to-face teaching
Leanna summarized these as “economics” and “innovation.”
In terms of the skills that online teachers required, the ones that were listed:
- strong communication skills (48.6%)
- organized and prepared (37.8%)
- and three or four others that I didn’t catch, but these were the two that Leanna stressed
Interestingly, Leanna actually presented some data on how these online teachers were trained, most of the respondents were focused on things there were self taught, self selected, or self found. Leanna did mention that in these responses, there were some instances of online teaching field experiences were beginning to emerge as themes.
The next panelist was Wendy, who focused on the topic of “Can Value-Added Teaching Effectiveness Models for Traditional Classrooms Measure Online Teaching Quality?” This study was based on her dissertation research, which was conducted under the guidance of Margaret Roblyer. The study used end-of-course test score in five subject areas and Likert surveys completed by teachers. The study found that there was no significant differences in any of the courses, except with the Algebra I course (where there was a significant difference, which Wendy attributed to the fact that the online course was designed using a game-based delivery model). There were also no significant differences in the program effects in biology and English, but again significant differences in the Algebra. Wendy also reported that the survey data indicated that teacher effect was a better way to judge face-to-face teaching, as opposed to online teaching (largely due to the fact that the online course was largely static and teachers did not have the same ability to control the environment as they do in the face-to-face classroom). Finally, Wendy also reported that in both her study – and a follow-up one done by someone else in Ohio – that teachers don’t understand the value-added evaluation.
As an aside, the no significant differences findings shouldn’t surprise anyone – Clark (1983) has advised us for the past 30+ years that these media comparison studies are of little value. It was also clear from the session that even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the value-added model of teacher evaluation is fundamental and methodologically flawed (see the AERA study as just one example).
The third panelist was Anne, who also focused her portion on her dissertation research – “The Lived Experience of Online High School Social Studies Teachers Utilizing Project-Based Lessons at a Virtual School.” The study surveyed 11 teachers, and those teachers were asked what they did and also what they felt was important:
- by far, individual telephone calls to students was the most undertaken activity and also perceived as the most important
- I missed the second one (as I was on an angle to the screen and the font was small – and Anne was quickly getting through her material)
- the third one (which dropped off significantly in terms of numbers) was conducting individual or small group webinars with the students – which was about equal for amount undertaken and perceived importance
From the interview data – which included 7 of the 11 teachers – she found that teachers really needed to scaffold the project-based activities, often because the students didn’t complete the activities in the way in which they were originally sequenced (or the intended sequencing). It was also due to the fact that the self-paced learning, which allowed students to work in fits and spurts. This required teachers to be very proactive in terms of their communication and evaluating the students at numerous points throughout the project, and not just at the very end.
The fourth and final panelist was Ray. Ray’s portion, because he wasn’t able to attend, was a recorded PowerPoint. I assume Ray will be posting this somewhere (likely his blog – see http://rmrose.blogspot.com/), so I won’t be writing notes on his session – I’ll leave that to Ray to cover the content.