Virtual School Meanderings

September 29, 2017

Teaching with Technology – Educators’ Perspectives and Recommendations

Note this report from this new foundations.

Dear Michael,I am excited to share the release of our 2017 Research Program report with you — Teaching with Technology: Educators’ Perspectives and Recommendations for Successful Blended Instructional Strategies.

The publication was developed with Evergreen Education Group, and we were fortunate to count the Christensen Institute and the Learning Accelerator as partners during initial phases of the project.

The focus of this year’s report is understanding the teacher experience so central to the integration of technology into practice and the classroom. It is rich with first person insight, individual educator profiles, and recommendations for those beginning their journey toward personalized learning.

It is my hope that you will find this report as valuable as I do, and as early readers have expressed.

Please help us spread the word by forwarding this email to your network and linking to this announcement on Facebook and Twitter:

  • New from @FoundationBOL: Educators’ perspectives & recommendations for successful blended instructional strategies –
  • .@FoundationBOL: The current shared educator experience & recs for the next generation of teachers adopting tech –

Thank you for your continued support!


Amy Valentine
Executive Director



Teaching with Technology Is Transforming Classroom Practice and Student Engagement
Educators’ perspectives and recommendations for successful blended instructional strategies
CASTLE ROCK, CO — As teachers increasingly integrate new technology and tools into their classroom practice, common benefits and challenges can be identified in the collective experience of educators throughout the country, according to Teaching with Technology, a new report from the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning (FBOL) and the Evergreen Education Group. A survey of teachers from 38 states finds that time; thoughtful planning and support at the school- and district-level; and ongoing, relevant professional development are key to the success or stagnation of their efforts. The report draws insight from educators teaching in traditional public schools, charter public schools, alternative education programs, and private schools, as well as in-depth interviews with teachers and administrators across the country, and school and classroom observations by its authors.Key takeaways and recommendations include:

  • Teachers value the ways that digital tools and resources allow them to differentiate instruction among students, and help students collaborate on content creation.
  • Contrary to popular belief, today’s students are not necessarily comfortable using technology, and therefore they may not be as ready to use computers to learn in school and at home as assumed.
  • Technology advances more quickly than human behaviors and systems, so choose a strategy to support, and stick with it.
  • Teachers have different personalities and instructional strategies, and they should feel comfortable adjusting blended learning concepts to their own strengths and situations.
Amy Valentine, FBOL’s executive director, said, “Understanding both the obstacles to and promising practices of blended instructional practice is vital to developing personalized learning environments. This report is a contemporary snapshot of the evolving educator experience as policy, practice, and technology blend into a reimagined ‘classroom’ for our students.”John Watson, founder of Evergreen Education Group, said, “Teachers are using technology to support their own instruction and to advance the achievement of their students. While their implementation can range from the very simple to the extremely complex, all involved in this transition have valuable insight into the risks and rewards to share. This report provides a view of the current shared educator experience, as well as recommendations for the next generation of teachers adopting technology into their practice.”

Download a copy of the full report at

About The Foundation for Blended and Online Learning

The Foundation for Blended and Online Learning was created to advance and improve the availability and quality of blended and online educational opportunities for students and teachers and to strengthen the outcomes of those programs through active academic, instructional, and technology support for personalized learning. The Foundation works toward these goals through its Student Scholarship and Innovative Educator Grant programs, the development and distribution of original research exploring emerging policy and practice, and ongoing collaboration with diverse leaders across the fields of education, business, policy, and philanthropy. Learn more at

Copyright © 2017 The Foundation for Blended and Online Learning, All rights reserved.
Occasional news and announcements from The Foundation for Blended and Online LearningOur mailing address is:

The Foundation for Blended and Online Learning

Castle RockCO 80104

August 29, 2017

FINAL REMINDER – State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada – Individual Program Survey

One that applies to my Canadian colleagues.

In the past few days, the State of the Nation: K-12 e-learning in Canada research team has begun to solicit responses to the annual individual program survey.

Just a quick reminder that the researchers for the annual State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada study are in the process of the data collection.  As a partner of this research initiative, we are proud to be a part of the 2017 edition of the study, which is in fact the tenth anniversary edition.

To assist the researchers with the data collection process, we would ask that you visit and click on the province or territory where your K-12 distance, online and/or blended learning program is located.  Look at the “Individual Program Survey Responses” to see if the information for your school or program is up to date for the 2016-17 school year and that the information is accurate.  If you need to update or correct any information, you can do so at

If you are unfamiliar with the annual State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada study, its purpose is to examine the current state of all forms of K-12 e-learning (i.e., distance, online and blended learning) in Canada by answering the following questions each year:

  1. How is K-12 distance, online and blended learning governed in each province, territory and federally?
  2. What is the level of K-12 distance, online and blended learning activity occurring in each province, territory and federally?

You can visit the full project website at where you can view all of the materials that have been produced to date, as well as download previous editions of the report.

We thank you in advance for your participation.

July 13, 2017

iNACOL Releases New Report: Next Generation Learning Models for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning

And from the neo-liberals.

To view this email as a web page, go here.
iNACOL Publishes New Report on Next Generation Learning Models for English Language Learners


Today, iNACOL published a new report: Next Generation Learning Models for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning, which highlights promising practices and trends in new designs to advance learning for English language learner (ELL) students.

This paper shares case studies and examples from schools and programs creating personalized, competency-based learning environments for ELL students, and promising practices and considerations on designing ideal learning environments for ELL success. It is intended for practitioners, including educators and education leaders, who want to advance next generation learning models to reach every student.
Susan Patrick, iNACOL President and CEO, said, “To provide English language learners with an equitable, high-quality, and holistic education, there needs to be a shift away from one-size-fits-all approaches to empowering educators with modern instructional strategies, tools and research-based practices for personalizing learning for student success. ELL students are the fastest growing and largest student subgroup in our public schools today. We are in early stages of examining how educators designing next generation learning models can transform teaching and learning for ELL students. We have the opportunity to help all ELL students succeed, reverse the trend and close the achievement gap between ELL and non-ELL students.”

Download a full copy of Next Generation Learning Models for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learninghere.
Share this Report on Twitter:

  • JUST RELEASED: New @nacol Report on Next Generation #Learning Models for English Language #Learners #ELL #NextGenEd
  • New @nacol #ELL Report highlights promising practices in #NextGenEd to advance learning for ELL students

About iNACOL

The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to catalyze the transformation of K-12 education policy and practice to advance powerful, personalized, learner-centered experiences through competency-based, blended and online learning. iNACOL is a non-profit organization focusing on research, developing policy for student-centered education to ensure equity and access, developing quality standards for emerging learning models using online, blended, and competency-based education, and supporting the ongoing professional development of classroom, school, and district leaders for new learning models. Visit our websitelike us on Facebookconnect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on twitter.



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June 28, 2017

News from the NEPC: Virtual Schools in Five Key States Show Growth but Poor Performance

From yesterday’s inbox…

Case studies from the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute suggest that policymakers should prioritize understanding and improving virtual school performance before permitting further growth.
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Virtual Schools in Five Key States Show Growth but Poor Performance

Key Takeaway: Case studies from the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute suggest that policymakers should prioritize understanding and improving virtual school performance before permitting further growth.


NEPC: William J. Mathis: (802) 383-0058,
MVLRI Report – Research: Michael K. Barbour: (203) 997-6330,
MVLRI Report – Performance: Gary Miron: (269) 599-7965,
MVLRI Report – Policy: Luis Huerta: (212) 678-4199,

BOULDER, CO (June 27, 2017) – Over the past five years, the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) has produced an annual report called Virtual Schools in the U.S.: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence. These reports provide an impartial analysis of the evolution of full-time, publicly funded K-12 virtual and blended schools by examining the policy issues raised by available evidence. They also assess the research evidence that bears on K-12 virtual teaching and learning, and they analyze the growth and performance of such virtual and blended schools.

Building on the April release of the Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2017 report, the lead researchers have engaged with the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) to use the data set to undertake a more in-depth analysis of five states: Ohio, Wisconsin, Idaho, Washington, and Michigan. The MVLRI published that work today.

These case studies describe the enrollment, characteristics, and performance of virtual and blended schools in each state over the previous year. They also examine the research related to the virtual and blended school characteristics and outcomes, as well as the legislative activities. And they consider the legislation and policies that have been introduced (and enacted) over the past two years.

Based on a national data set, the April NEPC Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2017 report included two key findings: (1) that the growth of full-time virtual schools was fueled, in part, by policies expanding school choice, and (2) that this growth is seen most among the for-profit education management organizations (EMOs) that dominate this sector. All five states follow these national trends. Also, and again consistent with national trends, students that attend the virtual schools in these five states tended to perform quite poorly compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

At the same time, these case studies revealed that the enrollment demographics in each of these states did vary from the national trends. For example, Ohio and Michigan brick-and-mortar schools and virtual schools enrolled similar proportions of White students and students of color (bucking the national trend which found that the majority of students attending virtual charter schools were White), while Idaho and Michigan enrolled higher proportions of free and reduced lunch students (which was the opposite to the national average). Another distinction highlighted by the case studies is that one of the states – Michigan – has seen considerable research into the actual practice of K-12 online learning, and this evidence-based approach appears to be paying off for the Michigan Virtual School.

Find Virtual Schools in the U.S.: Case Studies of Policy, Performance, and Research Evidence, by Michael K. Barbour, Luis Huerta, and Gary Miron, at:

This report was published and funded by the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute:

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at:

Copyright © 2017 National Education Policy Center. All rights reserved.

Note that I am one of the authors of this report.

May 24, 2017

What’s Trending in Online Education?

From the inbox yesterday or the day before…

The first CHLOE Survey Report is now available for download!
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Find Out in the First CHLOE Survey Report!

CHLOE Survey Report coverIt’s been 20 years since online learning was first introduced. So where does it stand today? We teamed up with Eduventures, a leading research and advisory firm focused on higher education, to fill the gap in researching this important topic.

We started with a survey of Chief Online Officers to gauge, among other things, how their institutions are funding, developing programs, conducting quality assurance, making technology investments and managing innovation as online learning becomes mainstream. Results of the survey — The Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE) — are now publicly available in The 2017 CHLOE Report.

So what trends in the management of online learning did CHLOE find? You’ll want to download and share the full report to see how institutions similar to yours compare. Here are a few highlights from the 51-page study:

  • Course development. Nearly 40% of private nonprofit colleges require faculty to use instructional design support in building their online courses. In contrast, only about 11% of two- and four-year public institutions do so.
  • Pricing. Among public two-year and four-year schools, over 90% of respondents indicated that the price of their online programs is either in line with or higher than conventional programming. Such data suggests that most schools have not made it a priority to use online learning to lower costs.
  • Program Objectives. CHLOE found that the predominant impetus for investment in online learning today is enrollment growth, with other objectives, such as student completion gains and cost reduction, trailing far behind.
Download Report
The second iteration of CHLOE is scheduled for June and focuses on the motives behind choices made by leaders of online programs. If your institution would like to participate in that survey, please email QM’s Manager of Research & Development, Barbra Burch, or Eduventures Research Analyst, Mughees Khan.
Quality Matters QM
Quality Matters (QM) is an international non-profit organization that provides tools and professional development for quality assurance in online and blended learning. When you see the QM Certification Mark, it means that courses have successfully met QM Rubric Standards for Course Design in an official course review.
Copyright © 2017 QM Quality Matters, Inc., All rights reserved.
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