Virtual School Meanderings

January 24, 2021

EBSCO Alerts

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 8:02 am
Tags: , , , , ,

ebscoFirst, the alert for virtual schools.

1. TI- School Daze: While educators, politicians and scientists debate the risks and benefits of in-person schooling, students, parents and businesses feel the pain.
AU- MILSHTEIN, AMY
JN- Oregon Business Magazine
PD- Jan2021, Vol. 44 Issue 1, p10-12
PG- 3p
IL- 3 Color Photographs
DT- 20210101
PT- Article
AB- Because of the disruption to students, parents and business, Rice strongly supports schools reopening for in-person instruction. Rice, of Effective Web Solutions, is toying with another idea: converting her unused office space into a school co-op so her employees can get back to work. [Extracted from the article]
AB- Copyright of Oregon Business Magazine is the property of Oregon Business and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
DE- Schools
SU- Scientists
SU- Parents
SU- Educators
SU- Students
IC- 611699 All Other Miscellaneous Schools and Instruction
IC- 611110 Elementary and Secondary Schools
FT- 1496
IS- 02798190
AN- 148036466

Next, I did not receive the alert for cyber schools.

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

January 23, 2021

Virtual Schooling In The News

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 7:03 am
Tags: , , , ,

InTheNewsBeginning with the Education Dive.

4 principals to watch in 2021

School leaders continue to face crises on multiple fronts as remote and hybrid learning present challenges. These principals are rising to the occasion.

Effective online teacher training grows, but in-person supports still needed

Virtual sessions expand professional development’s reach and capacity, but experts warn against abandoning essential individualized supports.

How to offer hands-on learning opportunities in hybrid environments

The pandemic may have shifted the idea of what and where a classroom is, but educators are finding new ways to bring immersive learning to students.Next, EdClips.

Also, the Edsource Today.

By Sydney Johnson, EdSource
A state-funded program is designing strategies for families to keep kids learning at home even when in-person preschool is canceled.
By Ali Tadayon, EdSource
West Contra Costa Unified district officials say the demand from some families for virtual education won’t be going away next year.

Other items of interest

PACE brief suggests distance learning strategies for TK-3rd grade
The shift to distance learning in transitional kindergarten through 3rd grade has proven to be difficult. A new brief, “Improving Early Childhood Distance Education, by Benjamin Cottingham, associate director of strategic partnerships for the research organization PACE, identifies challenges experienced during distance learning and suggests promising practices and policy changes to positively affect the experience of students, parents and teachers in those grades. Go here for the brief.

Moving on to the various newsletters from Education Week.

TEACHING & LEARNING
Districts Retreat to Remote Learning Even as Biden Calls for Reopening Schools
A new study shows a big jump in the percentage of districts moving to remote-only instruction since November.
Maddi Dale focuses on her remote French
class in her bedroom in Lake Oswego, Ore., on Oct. 30, 2020.
Read More
Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Tweet
CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY,OPINION
‘My Online Learning Experience as a Student Is Not so Good’
High school students reveal what they like and don’t like about remote learning, and whether they prefer it.
Read More
Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Tweet
CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY
Zoom and Google Outages: How Schools Should Prepare for Tech Problems
Technology breakdowns are inevitable. Here’s what schools should do to prepare to keep instruction going when tech is not cooperating.
Illustration of a computer with a
caution sign
Read More
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INTERNATIONAL
Global Test Finds Digital Divide Reflected in Math, Science Scores
New data from the 2019 Trends in International Math and Science Study show teachers and students lack digital access and support.
Image of data.
Read More
Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Tweet

Also, the different mailings from eSchool News.

Are you prepared for the Digital Classroom?Are you prepared for the Digital Classroom?
The way your district integrates high-performance Wi-Fi is just as important as the curriculum. Teachers and students rely on automatic and seamless Wi-Fi to access the full range of teaching tools that enable personalized and dynamic learning.

Is your campus ready for Digital Age Networking?Is your campus ready for Digital Age Networking?
Digital Age Networking enables digital transformation and next-generation digital learning tools, provides a superior experience, and helps with retention. Address your diverse campus connectivity needs and empower student success.

5 ways to remotely engage families of students in special education5 ways to remotely engage families of students in special education
Students in special education programs can thrive during remote learning if families feel supported and prepared.

8 steps to digital equity after the pandemic8 steps to digital equity after the pandemic
Superintendents share their experiences with digital equity and offer insight into what their own districts will focus on next.

5 ways to be an innovative online instructor5 ways to be an innovative online instructor
Online learning isn’t easy for every student or teacher–here’s how you can work to become an innovative online instructor who engages students.


How the pandemic is driving a shift in student-directed learning

New research documents why digital and mobile tools will continue to play a role in the classroom and be instrumental in student-directed learning.

Next, the variety of e-letters from ASCD.

Analysis tracks tech use through elementary school
Analysis tracks tech use through elementary school
(Pixabay)
Kindergarten students from low-income households and Black kindergartners are more likely to heavily use technology in later grades, according to an analysis of 10,000 students by researchers at Penn State. The findings do not point to potential reasons for these trends, and it is unclear if higher use is harmful.

Full Story: The Hechinger Report (1/18)

YouTube videos offer agriculture education
YouTube videos offer agriculture education
(Pixabay)
Jason Ekers, the agriculture mentor for a West Virginia school district, creates educational videos on YouTube that teachers can use to teach students about agriculture topics. Sarah Bailey, a middle-school science teacher invited Ekers to talk with her class virtually for a lesson about dirt in which he tapped real-world examples.

Full Story: The Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, W.Va.) (1/18)

Program for refugees helps navigate virtual learning
Program for refugees helps navigate virtual learning
(Pixabay)
Students at a refugee camp in Iraq used their foundation in digital literacy to help navigate the complexities of remote instruction during the coronavirus pandemic. The students, refugees from Syria, participate in programs through the nonprofit Hello Future that are “mobile first,” with about 90% of instruction taking place via phones.

Full Story: The Hechinger Report (1/14)

Will Biden address students’ digital divide?
Will Biden address students' digital divide?
(Pixabay)
The incoming Biden administration is expected to take action to close the digital divide among students. Some advocates are pushing for the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program to be amended to cover broadband internet access in students’ homes.

Full Story: The 74 (1/19)

How one teacher bridges distance to form bonds
How one teacher bridges distance to form bonds
(Unsplash)
Leah Calote, a high-school English and theater teacher in California, says she has been surprised by how close her classes are during remote instruction. Calote shares six ways she builds community via distance learning, including taking the first two weeks of class to build rapport, establishing common classroom norms and creating virtual breakout rooms for students based on how they prefer to communicate.

Full Story: KQED-TV/FM (San Francisco) (1/19)

Teachers: Tips for remote Spanish lessons
Teachers: Tips for remote Spanish lessons
(Unsplash)
Halfway through the school year, middle-school Spanish teachers Victoria Case and Anne Bryant note that they are seeing positive outcomes via remote instruction. In this blog post, the teachers, along with Kate Cassada of the University of Richmond, Va., share their success with online instruction, including by focusing on nurturing relationships, beginning each day by asking students “Como estas?” to perform a mental health check-in and setting a requirement for minimum participation.

Full Story: SmartBrief/Education (1/19)

Video chats can help foster learning for preschoolers
Video chats can help foster learning for preschoolers
(Pixabay)
Children in preschool can learn effectively through one-on-one real-time videoconferencing with teachers, according to a report from early-childhood nonprofit Zero to Three. A study cited in the report said the back-and-forth discussions between teacher and student help nurture emotional connections that set the foundation for meaningful learning.

Full Story: EdSurge (1/19)

Senator looks into proctoring software bias
Senator looks into proctoring software bias
(Pixabay)
Three online test-proctoring companies have themselves dismissed claims of bias and other student criticisms of their software after receiving a letter from US lawmakers. “Alarming reports from students tell a different story,” says Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who vows to look further into possibly discriminatory glitches, a perceived lack of transparency and concerns that teachers are basing cheating accusations on what may be flawed technology.

Full Story: TechCrunch (tiered subscription model) (1/19)

Teachers adjust to discipline in virtual classes
Teachers adjust to discipline in virtual classes
(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
The coronavirus has altered student discipline, with some teachers turning off students’ microphones and video if they misbehave — a move some experts caution takes students out of the learning environment. Jordan Posamentier, director of policy and advocacy at the nonprofit Committee for Children, said many educators are taking the opportunity to “reset” and focus on relationships.

Full Story: K-12 Dive (1/22)

Use Bitmoji to create digital libraries
Kathleen Palmieri established a virtual classroom library for her students using Bitmoji and digital book sites. In this article, she shares tips to help plan a “book tasting” for students and other tools to help expand students’ access to digital books.

Full Story: MiddleWeb (1/17)

Clever ways to tweak assessments for remote learning
A new approach to remote assessments of students could include increased use of formative rather than summative evaluations, writes Kipp Bentley, senior fellow at the Center for Digital Education. Selecting questions that require critical thinking, asking students to record their process while solving problems and attending to mastery by allowing do-overs on incorrect answers are among Bentley’s many suggestions for recalibrating remote assessments.

Full Story: Center for Digital Education (1/19)

Other News:

Back to the regular Google News alert for virtual school.

Limestone’s virtual school sharing lessons learned

KINGSTON — Limestone District School Board’s virtual school is now sharing its tips and tricks with all Limestone teachers as the majority of students …

A Teacher On Doing Virtual School—While Also Looking After Her Kids

… 14 and 16—are doing virtual school. Goode’s partner works out of the province, so she’s currently by herself teaching full-time and taking care of her …

How to Ensure Your Virtual School Board Meeting Is Productive

With the right approach, your district’s virtual school board meeting can ensure transparency and accessibility for all students, parents and teachers. Julie …

Wake up. Eat. Zoom. Repeat: The daily struggle of virtual high school | Opinion

As a junior at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, it would be an understatement to say I have found virtual school difficult. » READ MORE: …

Teachers adapt to all-virtual school

Brandy Frick is a beginning seventh grade social studies teacher. Last year she taught at Hanford-Dole Elementary School. She said the virtual school …

Coronavirus: Ontario parents, children dealing with stress of virtual learning

She is questioning whether it makes sense to keep him in virtual school. Read more: A survival guide for parents struggling with virtual learning.

North American Virtual Schools Market Analysis and Forecasts to 2024 – Increasing Number of e …

… Virtual School, Acklam Grange School, Basehor-Linwood Virtual School, Charter Schools USA, Connections Education LLC, Florida Virtual School, …

Five Ways To Stay On Track With Your Virtual School Research

Five Ways To Stay On Track With Your Virtual School Research · 1. Check out all the newly improved school websites. · 2. Contact MBA student ..

York Region school board postpones deadline for elementary students’ request model

For secondary virtual school (SVS), about 374 partially integrated students moved from F2F to SVS in September and there was no system model …

What Your Kid’s Teacher Wants You To Stop Doing During Virtual School

What Your Kid’s Teacher Wants You To Stop Doing During Virtual School. lstrager 12 hours ago. Share. BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM – FEBRUARY …

Oak National Academy and the National Literacy Trust launch virtual school library to ensure …

The Virtual School Library hosts free reading and writing content from much-loved children’s authors – providing a free-to-access book every week …

Dr. Holloway explains why a brick-and-mortar virtual academy is not an oxymoron

Virtual school director Dr. Mary Holloway said she first heard of the concept on a trip she took to Sydney, Australia, while working on her E.D.S. in the …

NEVADA VIEWS: Not giving up the fight for choice for Nevada children

Some Nevada students were already using school choice before the pandemic to attend virtual school full-time, which means their instructors didn’t …

Superintendent: Clear Lake snow days could turn into virtual learning days

… snow day would likely be one where the district “would just not try to do anything,” but the next one, he’d like to be prepared for a virtual school day.

Most Mesa students can return to classrooms fulltime

… told him that she had received an email from “a student who is very upset about virtual school and mentioned that he’s considered taking his life.”.

Private schools continue traditional instruction amid pandemic

Templeton added that some students are enrolled in virtual school and the number of students in the building and each classroom varies daily.

Local go-to resource helps parents navigate virtual learning with their kids

They will be having a Virtual School Fair event on January 30. CLICK HERE if you would like to learn more.

St. Gabe’s school in Grays Ferry to close after 113 years

Virtual school tours and virtual student and teacher meet-and-greets will be scheduled soon. According to officials, staff at St. Gabriel is encouraged to …

Global Virtual Schools Market Will Be Fiercely Competitive by Top Companies in 2026

… Florida Virtual School (FLVS), Charter Schools USA, Lincoln Learning Solutions, Inspire Charter Schools, Abbotsford Virtual School, Alaska Virtual …

Europe Virtual Schools Market Industry Chain, Geographic Scope, Forecast by 2025

Japan start virtual school business since April 2015, while China start this business in Feb 2019. K12 Inc and Connections Academy are market leader …

Concerns grow over virtual school with students falling behind

Concerns grow over virtual school with students falling behind. Education activist and author Kelly Gallagher-Mackay shares insight on students falling …

Virtual school students thriving in Rutherford County

Rutherford County Virtual School is currently for grades 6-12. There is a chance to add lower grades in the future. Unlike distance learning, students …

Virtual school helps credit union marketers maximize digital success

CUNA Digital Marketing Virtual School offers a unique learning environment with instructors who have walked in the shoes of credit union digital …

Austin Virtual School Fair to Bring Families Their School Choices, Make Applying Easier

The Austin Virtual School Fair is the first in a series of virtual fairs across Texas, with other fairs serving families in San Antonio and Houston.

Join Us For Our First Virtual School Of Jazz Studio Session

The kids are alright—and KNKX is proud to bring you our first virtual School of Jazz studio session with the Red Combo from Seattle Academy (SAAS) …

Oak National Academy launches virtual library with NLT

The Virtual School Library hosts free reading and writing content from children’s authors, providing a free-to-access book every week from the …

Blue Jays’ virtual Winter Week begins Feb. 1

Virtual school visits. Schools across Canada are encouraged to enter at bluejays.com/virtualwinterweek to win a virtual visit from a current member of …

What’s News Today: Lobby Day, school survey

Parents in Botetourt County will get an interest survey today about Virtual School. The county is launching a virtual academy next year, giving you the …

FETC 2021: This Year’s Gathering Reflects Shift to Virtual and Hybrid Education

READ MORE: Tips for ensuring that your virtual school board meeting is productive. Helping Educators Make Sense of a Virtual World. A major focus of …

Despite being virtual, the School of Extended and International Education continues to serve close …

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonoma State University has transitioned to remote instruction. Employees are working remotely in almost all …

Virtual school gets new name

English Catholic students studying online during the 2020-2021 academic year have a new name for their virtual school. Holy Trinity Catholic Virtual …

Institute for Justice to Bring Families a Virtual School Choice Week Celebration

Institute for Justice to Bring Families a Virtual School Choice Week Celebration. Take-home boxes, Zoom event to help families celebrate during …

TOMORROW: Austin Virtual School Fair to Bring Families Their School Choices, Make Applying …

… meet Austin-area schools online, receive free application help, and even win raffle prizes during Families Empowered’s Virtual School Fair. WHAT:.

Virtual School Choice Expo, School Spirit Day to Celebrate School Choice Week in New Haven

The district is celebrating with a week of virtual festivities, wrapping up with a district-wide Virtual School Choice Expo on Saturday, Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. …

Virtual School Fair to Help Families Explore School Options, Celebrate School Choice Week

Schools from the following Northwest Ohio counties will be represented: Allen, Crawford, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, …

Virtual school choice fair offers K-8 families a chance to learn about northwest Ohio school options

TOLEDO, Ohio — Several schools from across northwest Ohio will be participating in a virtual school fair, providing families a chance to learn about …

South Carolina Virtual School Choice Fair to Celebrate School Choice Week

The South Carolina Virtual School Choice Fair will take place Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. The event is free but parents and educators must register …

Virtual school games returning for new year

The Black Country Virtual School Games is set to continue in 2021 with competitions available online for those pupils in school as well as those …

Virtual, E-School attendance dips as spring semester starts for some Bay Area districts

Hillsborough Virtual School has 4,215 students enrolled this semester, which is an almost 22% decrease from the fall. Kids could be leaving for a variety …

CCPS student petitions School Board to reinstate Wednesdays off, give option of pass/fail grades

… that would reinstate Wednesdays as synchronous virtual school days, as they were at the beginning of the school year, among other changes.

Finally, the Google News alert for cyber school.

First look at Souderton Area School District budget for 2021-2022 shows 3 percent tax hike, $6.6 …

Districts with their own cyber school programs, however, have shown that the costs are much less than the rates set for the cyber charter schools, …

Pennridge to vote on resolution asking state for change to charter school funding

… school students, 118 were regular education cyber school students and 27 were special education cyber school students, the information showed.

Board hears opposition to closing school

Most also said that in the event of reconfiguration, they would pull their children from the district and place them in an outside cyber school, a move that …

Woman pulled from river

Superintendent Mark Loucks revealed some alarming figures surrounding cyber school grades during Monday’s Franklin School Board meeting. +2.

Best and Brightest application process is online for 2021

Seniors must attend a public or independent high school or be home-schooled or attend cyber school in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, …

Pleasant Valley bemoans cyber charter costs

Education, Meetings, Charter/cyber school , Elementary/Intermediate, High school, Middle school/junior high, Monroe Career & Technical Institute, …

Community slams HASB decision

Joining the cyber school isn’t necessarily a satisfactory option, said Kelly Hartman, whose 10th grade daughter is taking advanced placement music …

Penn Highlands closes $6M deal with Richland on campus

… cannot be used for a charter school, cyber school, drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation center, juvenile center, jail and/or prison, any pornographic use, …

January 17, 2021

EBSCO Alerts

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 8:04 am
Tags: , , , , ,

ebscoFirst, the alert for virtual schools.

1. TI- Special Education in Idaho Virtual Schools: An Analysis of the Efficacy of Service Delivery
AU- Sorensen, Terri
SO- ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Northwest Nazarene University
DT- 20190101
YR- 2019
PG- 236
PT- Dissertation
SU- Special Education; Virtual Schools; Students with Disabilities; Parent Attitudes; Teacher Attitudes; Individualized Education Programs; Parent Role; Equal Education; Federal Legislation; Educational Legislation; Special Education Teachers; Parent Participation
SU- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
GE- Idaho
AB- Virtual education is expanding exponentially across the country while steeped in controversy. This dissertation analyzes parent and teacher perspectives on how four Idaho virtual schools educate students with disabilities. Two research questions examine parent roles in developing valid IEPs and providing special education services aligned to IDEA regulations. Two additional research questions inquire about strategies used by special education teachers to carry out a valid IEP process and provide appropriate special education services aligned to IDEA regulations. While the literature on virtual or special education is plentiful, information about students with disabilities in virtual schools is less prevalent. Most literature reviewed indicates a need for more research to help all educational stakeholders better understand how virtual schools can effectively serve students with disabilities while meeting IDEA regulations. The researcher chose to perform a qualitative study to capture an understanding of the phenomenon in the natural setting. The data was collected from semi-structured interviews with nine special education teachers and eight parents, researcher observations of eight IEP meetings, and document analysis of eight IEPs. The results of the study reported IEPs and special education services complied with IDEA guidelines although some areas presented challenges. Increased parent involvement was noted throughout the study and appreciated by all research participants. Lack of parental involvement was trying for students with disabilities and teachers in a virtual school, frequently leading to failing grades, truancy, and frustration. The data from this study reported both strengths and challenges faced by students, parents, and teachers working with students with disabilities in a virtual setting. Although this study provided several applications for current practice, areas for additional research are numerous. Moving forward, these students deserve all educational stakeholders working together collaboratively to meet their needs. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
LA- English
IB- 978-1-392-19140-8
AN- ED608618
TY- ED
LV- Not available from ERIC
EM- 2020

Next, I received the alert for cyber schools. but there were no relevant items.

Finally, the alert for K-12 online learning.

1. TI- Identifying At-Risk K-12 Students in Multimodal Online Environments: A Machine Learning Approach
AU- Li, Hang
AU- Ding, Wenbiao
AU- Liu, Zitao
SO- International Educational Data Mining Society, Paper presented at the International Conference on Educational Data Mining (EDM) (13th, Online, Jul
10-13, 2020)
DT- 20200701
YR- 2020
PG- 11
PT- Speeches/Meeting Papers
PT- Report
SU- At Risk Students; Online Courses; Elementary Secondary Education; Learning Modalities; Time; Dropouts; Academic Persistence; Artificial Intelligence; Large Group Instruction; Prediction; Models; Influences; Middle School Students; High School Students; Probability
SU- Elementary Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; High Schools
AB- With the rapid emergence of K-12 online learning platforms, a new era of education has been opened up. It is crucial to have a dropout warning framework to preemptively identify K-12 students who are at risk of dropping out of the online courses. Prior researchers have focused on predicting dropout in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which often deliver higher education, i.e., graduate level courses at top institutions. However, few studies have focused on developing a machine learning approach for students in K-12 online courses. In this paper, we develop a machine learning framework to conduct accurate at-risk student identification specialized in K-12 multimodal online environments. Our approach considers both online and offline factors around K-12 students and aims at solving the challenges of (1) multiple modalities, i.e., K-12 online environments involve interactions from different modalities such as video, voice, etc.; (2) length variability, i.e., students with different lengths of learning history; (3) time sensitivity, i.e., the dropout likelihood is changing with time; and (4) data imbalance, i.e., only less than 20% of K-12 students will choose to drop out the class. We conduct a wide range of offline and online experiments to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach. In our offline experiments, we show that our method improves the dropout prediction performance when compared to state-of-the-art baselines on a real-world educational dataset. In our online experiments, we test our approach on a third-party K-12 online tutoring platform for two months and the results show that more than 70% of dropout students are detected by the system. [For the full proceedings, see ED607784.]
LA- English
FT- Y
AN- ED607899
TY- ED
LV- Available online
EM- 2020
RV- Y

2. TI- The State of Online Learning in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: A COVID-19 Impact Study for K-12
AU- O’Keefe, Lynette
AU- Dellinger, Justin T.
AU- Scragg, Benjamin
AU- Amelina, Natalia
AU- Mathes, Jennifer
AU- Online Learning Consortium (OLC)
SO- Online Learning Consortium
DT- 20200101
YR- 2020
PG- 304
PT- Report
PT- Numerical/Quantitative Data
PT- Tests/Questionnaires
SU- Foreign Countries; Online Courses; Educational Technology; Elementary Secondary Education; COVID-19; Pandemics; School Closing; Leadership; Curriculum Design; Curriculum Development; Student Evaluation; Student Needs; Faculty Development; Teacher Competencies; Administrator Attitudes; Teaching Methods; Teacher Attitudes; Parent Attitudes; Student Attitudes; Governance
GE- Saudi Arabia
SU- Elementary Secondary Education
AB- To ensure that high quality online learning is being offered in the future, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) commissioned a study to understand the state of online K-12 education pre-, peri- and post-COVID based on the academic period from March 9-May 14, 2020. The intention was to determine opportunities for improvement while identifying areas of excellence that could be highlighted against an evaluation framework for quality K-12 online learning. Using this information, K-12 education within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would be positioned to make improvements to the overall student learning experience. The study focused on eight dimensions, each with several subdimensions, and included survey and interview data, contextualized within the KSA K-12 environment for both development and analysis. Dimensions included Leadership, Curriculum Design and Planning, Online Teaching and Learning, Assessment, Technology, Student Support, Training and Support, and Evaluation and Continuous Improvement. Each of these dimensions and their associated subdimensions are discussed at length in the report, but there were several overarching themes that emerged. The report has been organized into four primary sections as well as several appendices. The introduction provides context for the study, the methodology section provides information regarding the development and analysis of both quantitative survey instrumentation and qualitative protocols, and includes a summary of participants, the recommendations section provides data interpretation and recommendations by dimension and subdimension (aligned with the Future Action Framework), and the considerations for future study section contains recommendations for further research based on this study as well as findings indicating potential future expansion. Finally, the appendices provide the Future Action Framework summary of recommendations, the literature review, survey and interview protocols, and a list of figures. [This study was coordinated with the Council of Ministers of Saudi Arabia’s National eLearning Center.]
LA- English
FT- Y
AN- ED608877
TY- ED
LV- Available online
EM- 2020

3. TI- Advancing a Curriculum toward Improved Online Nurturing of K-12 Students
AU- Barbour, Michael K.
AU- Siko, Jason
SO- Journal of Educational Technology, v16 n4 p20-32 Jan-Mar 2020
VI- 16
IP- 4
DT- 20200101
YR- 2020
SP- 20
EP- 32
PG- 13
PT- Academic Journal
PT- Report
SU- Curriculum Development; Electronic Learning; Online Courses; Instructional Design; Educational Technology; Faculty Development; Web Based Instruction; Teacher Attitudes; Secondary School Teachers; Elementary School Teachers; Web 2.0 Technologies; Age Differences
GE- Michigan
SU- Elementary Education; Secondary Education
AB- Despite the massive growth in K-12 online learning, there are no opportunities for teachers to learn and develop skills to succeed as online instructors. This study is the third iteration of an action research project, which focused on improving a graduate instructional technology course and developing teachers with these skills. Previous results of the first two iterations are summarized, and qualitative data from the third round, consisting of blogs and course assignments were analyzed for emerging themes. These themes emphasize instructional design to solve problems associated with student performance, improve communication channels, and ensures that student age as a non-factor in online course success. Recommendations for future course iterations are presented as well.
LA- English
IS- 0973-0559
AN- EJ1266243
TY- EJ
LV- Not available from ERIC
EM- 2020
RV- Y

January 16, 2021

Virtual Schooling In The News

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 7:04 am
Tags: , , , ,

InTheNewsBeginning with the Education Dive.

5 ed tech trends to watch in 2021

The shifts of the past year are shaping new developments in online learning, classroom tech training, cybersecurity concerns and more.

Clarity crucial to support student learning objectives in remote education

There are a number of steps educators can take to help define goals as plainly as possible to fuel student success, a California superintendent writes.

Effective online teacher training grows, but in-person supports still needed

Virtual sessions expand professional development’s reach and capacity, but experts warn against abandoning essential individualized supports.

4 principals to watch in 2021

School leaders continue to face crises on multiple fronts as remote and hybrid learning present challenges. These principals are rising to the occasion.

Next, EdClips.


DIGITAL DIVIDE PROGRAMS

NV – State Closes Digital Divide With Boots-on-the-Ground Effort

Nevada has conquered the digital divide by connecting all students in rural and urban communities to both internet access and devices, District Administration reports. Full connection was achieved by the state’s COVID-19 Task Force, Connecting Kids and public-private partnerships. | K-12 Dive, Jan. 8

Learn More

Broadband Access and the Digital Divides


EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

5 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2021

The shifts of the past year are shaping new developments in online learning, classroom tech training, cybersecurity concerns and more. | K-12 Dive, Jan. 7

Also, the EdSource Today.

Other items of interest
PACE brief suggests distance learning strategies for TK-3rd grade
The shift to distance learning in transitional kindergarten through 3rd grade has proven to be difficult. A new brief, “Improving Early Childhood Distance Education, by Benjamin Cottingham, associate director of strategic partnerships for the research organization PACE, identifies challenges experienced during distance learning and suggests promising practices and policy changes to positively affect the experience of students, parents and teachers in those grades. Go here for the brief.

Moving on to the variety newsletters from Education Week.

Teresa Vazquez, a teacher in Fort
Wayne, Ind., remotely teaches a Spanish 1 class to students at Monroe High School in Albany, Ga.
CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY
‘No Going Back’ From Remote and Hybrid Learning, Districts Say
The slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, a staffing crunch, and demand from some parents mean remote live-streamed instruction is here to stay.
Read More
Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Tweet
Maddi Dale focuses on her remote French
class in her bedroom in Lake Oswego, Ore., on Oct. 30, 2020.
Districts Retreat to Remote Learning Even as Biden Calls for Reopening Schools
A new study shows a big jump in the percentage of districts moving to remote-only instruction since November.
Read More
CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY,SPECIAL REPORT
We Love Virtual Learning: Students, Parents Explain Why
For a small number of students, the COVID-19 cloud has a thick silver lining.
Image shows a smiling emoji in a rocket
ship that is taking off and leaving other less happy emoticons down below it.
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CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY
Why Remote Learning Would Have Been Perfect for Me
Virtual education would have spared her the pain of trying to fit in during some difficult middle school years, writes Alyson Klein.
A childhood photo of Alyson Klein, just
before the start of 6th grade.
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CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY
Digital Games: Powerful Motivation Tool or Not So Much?
Students are far less likely than teachers to say digital games make learning more interesting.
Image shows two boys playing online
games.
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alt
The Spring Semester to Come (The New York Times)

Re-opening debates rage, teachers wait for vaccines and remote learning struggles continue.
alt
Surveys Find Districts Are Using More Ed-Tech Tools (EdSurge)

“Virtual” learning may be on the upswing-corporate VR learning, that is. Teachers are paying out of pocket for ed-tech tools while using more of them.
CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY
Online Teaching Needs to Improve-Even After the Pandemic
The vast majority of teachers say they’ve gained skills in the last year that they’ll continue to use after the pandemic ends.
Mary Euell helps her sons, Michael
Henry, left, and Mario Henry, work through math lessons remotely in their Erie, Pa., home.
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SCHOOL & DISTRICT MANAGEMENT,OPINION
We’ve Got to Talk About Remote Student Absenteeism
What can we do when skipping school is as easy as not pressing a button, asks Assistant Principal Patrick Hunt.
many monitors, some with students
others empty
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Next, the different mailings from eSchool News.

Is this the moment in history when K–12 school systems get disrupted?Is this the moment in history when K–12 school systems get disrupted?
The nation’s schools could be experiencing Disruptive Innovation–and it means more than just upheaval for the K-12 system.

Are you prepared for the Digital Classroom?Are you prepared for the Digital Classroom?
The way your district integrates high-performance Wi-Fi is just as important as the curriculum. Teachers and students rely on automatic and seamless Wi-Fi to access the full range of teaching tools that enable personalized and dynamic learning.

Virtual learning will stick around after COVID fadesVirtual learning will stick around after COVID fades
A survey finds that district leaders hope to offer virtual learning for the long haul, and shows they’re focused on inequities in learning opportunities.

3 strategies to teach STEAM in a blended environment3 strategies to teach STEAM in a blended environment
No matter where students are physically located, educators can incorporate hands-on manipulatives to promote playful STEAM learning in early childhood.

Use these resources to make distance learning less distantUse these resources to make distance learning less distant
Educators can turn to a number of online resources to better connect with their students during distance learning.

4 tips for blended learning success4 tips for blended learning success
Here’s how one school has successfully ramped up its blended learning approach in order to meet the challenges of the global pandemic, school shutdowns, and social distancing.

Digital teaching and learning in the smartphone eraDigital teaching and learning in the smartphone era
Digital teaching and learning don’t have to be daunting–all it takes is the ability to understand how today’s students relate to tech.

Also, the various newsletters from ASCD.

Students balance jobs, online classes
Students balance jobs, online classes
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Many high-school students are balancing online classes with work to help support their families during the economic downturn related to the coronavirus pandemic. Some students say they can make time for classes while earning a paycheck, while others, such as 11th-grader Carlos Martinez, says it is challenging to work full time and keep up with his studies, adding that his teachers help him catch up during his off-hours.

Full Story: The 74 (1/10)

Report: Improving online learning, long term
Report: Improving online learning, long term
(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Online teaching and learning that has become the norm during the coronavirus pandemic should seek out ways to improve, even after many students return to in-person learning, according to a report from the nonprofit Clayton Christensen Institute. The report cites several solutions, including a state review of curriculum materials and teacher-led training and coaching.

Full Story: Education Week (1/11)

Educator shares experiences with remote learning
Educator shares experiences with remote learning
(Pixabay)
Christine Shultz, an eighth-grade special-education teacher, says setting an end time to her workday each day helps her to be more productive and empathetic as an educator. In this interview, Shultz also discusses her path to becoming a teacher as well as her experiences teaching remotely this year.

Full Story: Chalkbeat (1/8)

Chicago program seeks to bridge digital divide
Chicago program seeks to bridge digital divide
(Jeff Schear/Getty Images)
More than 36,560 families — representing nearly 55,000 students — signed up for Chicago Connected, the city’s program aimed at helping to bridge the digital divide by providing free internet access for students from low-income households. While officials recognize it has been challenging to enroll students, they anticipate reaching their goal of access for 100,000 students by the end of the school year.

Full Story: Chalkbeat/Chicago (1/12)

Educators offer tips to reignite learning online
Educators offer tips to reignite learning online
(Pixabay)
There are several ways teachers can revitalize remote instruction, write Tara Lash, an instructional coach, and Sunday Cummins, a literacy consultant. In this article, they suggest asking students to create “identity webs” to share more about themselves personally and providing time for students to connect with each other, among other tips.

Full Story: MiddleWeb (1/11)

Smithsonian, PBS put free lessons online
Smithsonian, PBS put free lessons online
(Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)
Science, history and art content for K-12 schools are coming for free to PBS’ digital platform from the Smithsonian Institute via a partnership with PBS LearningMedia. The grab-and-use content can be sorted by grade level, subject area or Common Core and state standards.

Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/12)

Data: More districts adopt remote instruction
Data: More districts adopt remote instruction
(Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
The surge in coronavirus cases nationwide prompted a spike in the number of school districts adopting remote instruction — 21.2% in November, compared with 31.7% in December — according to data from the Center on Reinventing Public Education. The findings come as President-elect Joe Biden pursues a return to in-person instruction for most K-8 schools during his first 100 days in office.

Full Story: Education Week (1/14)

Hawaii educators work to build online portal
Hawaii educators work to build online portal
(Pixabay)
The state of Hawaii will use a $10 million federal grant to establish the Hawaii Online Portal for Education — an open-source digital resource that includes free lessons plans and other materials. Educators will begin work this summer to create the platform, which is expected to be available in 2022.

Full Story: Honolulu Civil Beat (1/14)

District expands access with own broadband network
District expands access with own broadband network
(Pixabay)
A school district in Utah is believed to be the first in the US to begin installation of its own high-speed, wireless broadband network. Officials say the coronavirus pandemic and connectivity challenges during remote instruction helped to speed up the Powerplay LTE initiative.

Full Story: Deseret News (Salt Lake City) (1/14)

Principal: Adapt Edcamps to online format
Traditional Edcamps — or “unconferences” — cannot take place in person this year but can shift to a virtual model, writes Michael Gaskell, a middle-school principal. In this blog post, Gaskell shares several steps his school used to adopt virtual Edcamps, including offering choices for teachers and using breakout rooms to drive engagement.

Full Story: SmartBrief/Education (1/12)

Iowa legislature addresses the “digital divide”
Iowa lawmakers are working on funding for statewide broadband internet as more residents log on for work, school and telehealth during the pandemic. BroadbandNow reports that at least 300,000 Iowans are without a wired broadband connection and only about 19% of the state population can connect to the internet via a low-cost plan.

Full Story: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Iowa) (1/11)

Are there disparities in remote learning in Scotland?
Individual schools and teachers in Scotland will need to determine the best approach to teaching and learning. Officials say live, online lessons will not be universal but part of a “mix” of tools, which some advocates say could lead to disparities in education.

Full Story: BBC (free registration) (1/10)

How one district has embraced tech-enhanced instruction
The Palm Beach County school district in Florida started a Teaching With Technology Trailblazer program in 2017 and now has more Google-certified teachers — about 20% of educators at each of the district’s 180 schools — than any other system in the country, says Adam Miller, educational technology director. In this Q&A, Miller discusses the district’s investment in 11,000 SMART panel displays and other technology, plus advises school leaders to get broad input on tech goals.

Full Story: EdTech online (1/11)

Other News:

Back to the regular Google News alert for virtual school.

Memphis woman says daughter nearly missed virtual school because of missing immunization

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis mother is upset tonight after she says her daughter was going to have to miss virtual school because she didn’t have …

Local school officials explain snow days policy for virtual school

“I concur with both of these things,” said Andy True, Kingsport City Schools assistant superintendent of administration. Each virtual school day, KCS runs …

Arts Avenue: Florentine Opera premieres virtual school tour

Submit. Privacy Notice. Advertisement. Arts Avenue: Florentine Opera premieres virtual school tour. Digital lesson launches online on January 22nd.

USD 428 continues to look at virtual school

When the Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education meets Monday, board members will continue to look at the potential for developing a small virtual …

Lee virtual teachers have health concerns returning to classroom in person

Parents are concerned teachers with Lee Virtual School will be overwhelmed with bigger class sizes, and the possibility the school district will move …

Virtual schooling now a permanent option for Clarksville-Montgomery County families

“Fortunately, we were able to jumpstart our virtual school this year in the midst of the global pandemic. Based on what we have learned this year, we …

HPEDSB: Looking ahead to 2021

We’re running a virtual school right now that costs millions of dollars that we are not funded for. Yet we know we’ve got over 2,000 kid that are in it.

DPI report highlights widespread challenges with virtual learning transition

As districts look to continue or stop virtual school, the state Department of Public Instruction is showing lawmakers what challenges have come up so …

‘It worries me,’ Arkansas superintendents concerned about disengaged virtual learners

Some virtual school parents are saying they are being forced to send their kids back to school during this coronavirus pandemic as covid cases are on …

Superintendent of Tennessee’s largest school district reflects SCS highs and lows through the …

As Dr. Ray believes, “Virtual school isn’t broken — it’s not perfect — but it isn’t broken.” As a matter of fact, Dr. Ray believes that in some respects, the …

Even after COVID-19, North Texas districts expect a demand for some virtual learning options

Previous attempts to revamp Texas’ virtual school laws died in committee, but proponents are hoping they’ll have more momentum this year after the …

ACPS educators reflect on lessons learned from first half of a mostly virtual school year

ALBEMARLE CO., Va. (WVIR) – Educators across the nation were tasked with the ultimate challenge this school year: teach during a global pandemic

Small businesses share what it takes to move online

Choi bought a lightbox and between getting her daughter set up for virtual school and processing curbside pickup orders, she started snapping the …

Angela Kumar: Supporting school choice

We made the switch to virtual school when it became clear that my son Isaac needed to be more academically challenged, and that I wanted to take a …

Winter weather: Here’s a list of school closures, late starts

Gatesville ISD says Monday will be a VIRTUAL school day. Copyright 2021 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, …

Sullivan, Kingsport schools still plan return to in-person learning Jan. 19

Look for KCS buses on all regular bus routes on virtual school days and take advantage of this free opportunity,” True said. WHAT ARE SULLIVAN …

Cabell schools working toward safe return to in-person instruction

Virtual school registration is open through Monday, Jan. 11, for elementary students and Friday, Jan. 15, for middle school and high school students.

Rubin: Legislature must help Texas kids recover from pandemic

… early childhood brain development, young students who have had trouble learning to read during virtual school, or kids at risk of abuse or suicide.

Job loss thrusts Kenyan teachers to homeschooling, other sources of income

“Kidato is a virtual school and it has students from Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the US. They just opened up to students in Kenya. My classes …

Fort Langley National Historic Site unveils new virtual school programming

Topics covered in the virtual school program include the history of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Canadian fur trade, in addition to Fort Langley’s …

RCCDSB names virtual school in honour of first North American Indigenous saint

The Renfrew County Catholic District School Board has officially named its virtual school in honour of a well-known and venerated saint, St. Kateri …

How to Get Your Kid to Talk About Their Virtual School Day

If it seemed like kids didn’t have much to say about their school day before the pandemic hit, it shouldn’t be surprising that they’re not interested in …

In conversation with…

Virtual school heads, Jancis Andrew and Calvin Kipling tell JL Dutaut we need to unpick what we mean by “vulnerable” children. Another lockdown …

Back to (virtual) school: Tech tips for parents as remote learning returns

… tech correspondent Jess Kelly had a few simple and practical tech tips to ensure a smooth return to virtual classrooms. Back to (virtual) school: Tech …

Keep virtual school choice an option — John DP Howard

Even before the pandemic, my wife and I were considering a switch to an online school for our children. Now, COVID-19 is proving that school choice …

Virtual School is Only Option for Over 50% of US K-12 Students as 2021 Begins

That is the highest figure since late September and reflects a reversal of in-person learning gains that had occurred since Labor Day. “Since the school …

MISD to host Virtual School Choice Fair

Times will be assigned for each room when parents can join a live chat with a campus administrator and ask questions about the school. The Virtual …

Great Bend schools explore virtual school option for 2021-22

GREAT BEND — USD 428 continues to discuss the potential for creating a small virtual school option for Great Bend stendents grades 6-12 for …

Colbert parents must make in-person, virtual school choice by Tuesday

Colbert parents must make in-person, virtual school choice by Tuesday. By Russ Corey Staff Writer; Jan 11, 2021; 8 hrs ago; 0. TUSCUMBIA …

Harassment in virtual school classroom raises questions

Harassment in virtual school classroom raises questions. Local Journalism Initiative Reporter By: Maggie Macintosh | Posted: 01/12/2021 7:00 PM.

Kansas Community Examines Opening Virtual School in 2022

(TNS) — Great Bend USD 428 will apply to the Kansas State Department of Education to start a virtual school in 2022. The school board met Monday …

Pastor who left ministry to help her children with virtual school wants to return, but isn’t sure how

MUST WATCH. How the pandemic disproportionately affects working moms 02:39. (CNN) Pastor Meredith Dodd tried really hard to keep working during …

Halfway through pandemic year of schooling, parents value kids’ mental health over academics

Local families’ experiences with virtual school during the pandemic are mixed. Some parents are surprisingly pleased with their children’s academic …

Virtual School Open Houses Put Prospective Students, Families in the Know

VIRTUAL GREETINGS—The archdiocesan Virtual Visiting Program for school open houses began in early December and will continue until at least late …

Philly parents deeply divided over virtual school, data shows ahead of district decision

Philly parents deeply divided over virtual school, data shows ahead of district decision. Avi Wolfman-Arent/WHYY; Jan 13, 2021; 5 hrs ago; 0.

Botetourt County launching new virtual school option, even after pandemic is over

Botetourt County launching new virtual school option, even after pandemic is over. Some students are thriving in online school environments.

Remote Moms & Dad’s Navigating Virtual School

The views expressed here are the author’s own. Clearwater|Local Event. Remote Moms & Dad’s Navigating Virtual School. Verlinda …

USD 428 continues to look at virtual school

“I think parents are realizing that a virtual school or GB Remote is hard,” Reiser said. However, the district sees a need for it as some parents do want that …

School District of Lancaster students to return to classroom Jan. 25; virtual options available

Enroll in the district’s virtual school, Cyber Pathways Academy. The board split the plan into three separate votes for elementary, middle and high …

Finally, the Google News alert for cyber school.

Cornwall-Lebanon School District reports no active COVID-19 cases

While the district runs its own cyber option, it also offers an outside cyber school option to its students. School board members also heard from principal …

Use of CARES funding by cyber charter schools in question

Abington Heights Superintendent Michael Mahon, Ph.D., called the state’s cyber school laws the most “outdated and unfair” in the nation. The federal …

Reach Cyber Students Across Pennsylvania Build Their Own Rube Goldberg Machines

Reach Cyber Charter school, a K-12 full-time cyber school, encourages any family in Pennsylvania interested in winter activities that are fun and …

Concerns raised about Franklin Virtual Academy

Superintendent Mark Loucks revealed some alarming figures surrounding cyber school grades during Monday’s Franklin School Board meeting.

COVID-19 Impact on Virtual Schools Market Projected to Register 13.5% CAGR to 2025

An online school (virtual school or e-school or cyber-school) teaches students entirely or primarily online or through the internet. An online school can …

Local school boards meet, taxes discussed

Among the projected increased expenses, Fink said the cost of outside cyber school tuition is expected to increase by $340,000 over 2020-2021.

COVID impact on school districts varies across Pennsylvania, new report shows

Faidley said federal COVID-19 funding has been helpful, but it does nothing to address things like the rising cost of cyber school tuition. The district …

JMCSS Education Vision meeting discusses new initiative, program expansion

It will progress Cyber School to let kids move at their own pace, and add a socialization piece. Committee members believe this will be a great …

ko

January 15, 2021

Future of Learning: Lessons from a refugee camp

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 3:04 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This was an interesting read.

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Future of Learning
A newsletter from The Hechinger Report
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Javeria Salman

By Javeria Salman

Last March when teachers and students transitioned to remote instruction, Iraqi instructor Mohammad Hameed and his students in the Arbat Refugee Camp in the Iraqi Kurdistan region weren’t caught off guard.

While the pandemic and the sudden shutdown of schools provoked fear, the teachers at this remote refugee camp in northern Iraq weren’t worried about how students would cope: They were confident their students were prepared to take their learning fully online. They didn’t have a high-tech classroom with fancy equipment — in fact most students didn’t even have laptops or access to the internet. They had something more important: basic digital literacy.

Hameed’s students are participants in various programs through Hello Future, a nonprofit organization that works with teen refugees to bridge the education gap by teaching digital and financial literacy, critical thinking and entrepreneurship.

The students at the Arbat camp are Syrian refugees who fled that country’s civil war. With limited education opportunities available inside the camp for the 13-18 age group, Hello Future saw a gap that could be bridged through media and digital literacy, the ability to find, create and share content online. These skills not only expand students’ educational landscape but can also become a “game changer in terms of employability,” said Charlie Grosso, founder and executive director of Hello Future.

The program operates in what she calls a “mobile-first environment,” meaning 90 percent of the program is taught on a phone, even though classes are in-person. At the start of the program, students are given an inexpensive smartphone with internet access, which they get to keep once they complete the program. While access to other technology is limited in the camp, Grosso said many refugee families have access to a cell phone but primarily use only four to five apps, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or YouTube.

The program teaches students how to use the internet as a tool for more than just communication. The basic course teaches students productivity applications and critical-thinking skills that are needed in today’s work environment. With help from Hameed, the lead instructor, and several teaching assistants, students learn how to use search engines like Google, how to research and verify information, create presentations online, answer emails in a professional manner and use Google products like Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Drive. Students learn to use and practice these skills by working collaboratively on group projects.

Hameed, who is also the Iraq program director for Hello Future, said that without these classes, his students wouldn’t “have been able to adopt and learn remotely” when they had to transition to remote instruction back in March, after schools shut down in February.

Last year, Hello Future expanded the program, allowing U.S. students to participate, alongside the Syrian students in Arbat Camp, in its global summer camp and virtual hack-a-thons. The refugee students continued their classes remotely, but also had the unique opportunity to interact with their U.S. peers. That interaction gave Hello Future insight into how students in the U.S. were struggling to adjust to remote learning.

Grosso and Hameed both believe the transition to remote learning in the U.S. last year would have been more successful if schools had first taught digital literacy. Generation Z students may be digital natives, easily connecting with friends and family on social media apps, but that doesn’t mean they understand how to use the internet as a tool.

“This need for digital literacy is actually universal. It’s not only our Syrian students,” Hameed said. “We saw it in our U.S. students as well.”

Teaching students the basics of digital literacy is just the first step to successful remote learning, the Hello Future educators said. Curriculum matters, too. Hello Future uses a curriculum enriched with project-based learning, in which students do longer, in-depth collaborative projects. Hameed said the format lets teachers engage students in a more meaningful way, even when they have to connect over Zoom.

For example, the focus of last summer’s global virtual camp was leadership and advocacy through the power of storytelling. Students produced mini-documentaries and TED-style talks. During the youth hack-a-thons this past fall, the Hello Future team introduced students to the concept of design thinking, a creative approach to solving problems by focusing on people’s needs and developing solutions to meet those needs. Participants were challenged to come up with solutions to difficulties their education systems faced because of the pandemic.

One group of American students had a lot of ideas: more access to their teachers, more structured group work, and less busy work. “They were really upset about the busy work,” Grosso said.

Project-based learning is already gaining traction in U.S. classrooms as school closures continue because of Covid-19. “Social-emotional learning, project-based learning, the agency to experiment … some of the best practices that education experts have recommended to make this digital environment work was adopted already pre-Covid in our program,” Grosso said.

In Hello Future’s 2019 internal report, with evaluation metrics created in partnership with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, 97 percent of students reported an increase in confidence in their own digital skills. (The Hechinger Report is based at Columbia University’s Teachers College.)

In other words, teaching digital basics and using project-based learning, two simple, tested ideas were able to help some of the most vulnerable students in the world, despite Covid-19: These programs shouldn’t be hard to replicate for American students. “What we’re doing is nothing new to the world of education,” Grosso said.

Send story ideas and news tips to salman@hechingerreport.org. Tweet at @JaveriaSal. Read high-quality news about innovation and inequality in education at The Hechinger Report. And, here’s a list of the latest news and trends in the future of learning.

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The Shortlist 
1. Using the pandemic to “unlock” innovation. Data from a new survey from the Christensen Institute, a nonprofit think tank, on the state of online and blended learning reveals that while remote and hybrid instruction have become the “new normal,” many educators are attempting to “replicate their traditional classroom-based instruction over video calls.” The report’s author, Thomas Arnett, senior research fellow at the Institute, writes that this approach by schools is a missed opportunity for more innovative instruction — specifically related to student-centered learning. The nationally-representative survey of teachers and administrators identifies several challenges schools face in innovating instruction and recommendations on how districts can adopt more student-centered learning practices. One important recommendation: Provide teachers with effective professional development to help them implement innovative tools and practices. The report was funded, in part, by the Jaquelin Hume Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Stride, an educational software provider.

2. New resource makes it easier for districts seeking E-rate funding. Starting Friday, the application window for 2021 federal E-rate funding, a program that provides discounts to help schools obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access, will once again be open for districts looking to improve internet connectivity in their schools. As the pandemic has made clear, internet connectivity remains a major issue for schools across the country. The Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program, also known as the Schools and Libraries Program, is vital to making sure schools and students stay connected during remote learning. ConnectK-12.org, a new site that launched in November offers state and district leaders a free resource that provides local, state, and national level internet speed and pricing data. This information not only allows district leaders to negotiate deals to increase bandwidth available for their students, but also tracks their progress in meeting FCC’s bandwidth goal. The program is a partnership between Connected Nation, a nonprofit that promotes broadband access, and Funds for Learning, a firm specializing E-rate funding.

3. Promoting student agency and student engagement. As schools continue to deal with countless challenges as a result of the ongoing pandemic, a new issue brief argues that educators shouldn’t “lose sight of the need for student agency and student engagement” during remote or hybrid learning. The brief, “Mere Engagement: Reflections About the Connections Between Online Learning, Student Agency, and Student Engagement,” was published last week by the Aurora Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to improving education. The brief recommends seven steps educators can implement in schools to encourage students’ interest and involvement in learning, including designing lessons that are relevant to students and their environments and enabling competency-based learning.

More on the Future of Learning 
Making ‘Paw Patrol’ educational,” The Hechinger Report

5 ed tech trends to watch in 2021,” K-12 Dive

OPINION: Confused and angry, young teachers seek guidance on discussing current events with students,” The Hechinger Report

Teachers of color more likely than white peers to tackle ‘controversial’ civics topics,” Education Week

How to set up a science fair during the pandemic,” Edutopia

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