Virtual School Meanderings

July 10, 2008

VHSM Podcast Teaser

VHSM And Podcasting

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to try podcasting in the Fall.  Beginning in September, sometime after Labour Day, I’m going to upload a monthly podcast entitled “Virtual High School Meandering Podcast” or “VHSM Podcast” (creative title I know).  I’m been chatting a little with my good friend Nate (see ) to get the specifics on how to do this down and with the last month and a half (or a little better) of the summer, I’m going to figure this out.

BTW, if anyone has an catchy music or wants to create a little musical introduction for the future show that I’m going to be podcasting (i.e., the “Virtual High School Meandering or VHSM Podcast” show), I’d be happy to entertain any submissions.

In the meantime, the entry that immediately follows this one will be a teaser – so to speak.  Last year, I recorded the presentation that I gave at the 2007 Virtual School Symposium on my ipod and used Garage Band on a MacBook Pro to edit it. I have no idea why the software chopped the sides off of the PowerPoint slides The M4A that I had originally created included the PPT slides at the appropriate places (although the left and right sides were chopped off), but WordPress only allows you to use MP3 files with their free service. You can also access all of the slides at the NACOL website and you find them directly here.

I had been trying a number of ways to get this online since about a week after the Virtual School Symposium (which was back in November 2007). I tried uploading it to Blogger, as they allow video files of up to 100MB, but that didn’t work (and the support people never did respond to my numerous queries – thanks a lot Blogger!). I tried uploading to Google Pages, I tried the iTunes store, I tried YouTube (and discovered it was too long or too big), I tried two or three other free video hosting sites.  Nothing seemed to work.

So, when I decided that I was going to start a monthly podcasting show anyway and talked to Nate about how to host it, we decided that the best way way to just upload the files to a directory on my own web server and insert the file into an entry on my blog (thanks Nate!!!).

This is my first try at recording one of my presentations, my first time using Garage Band (or any other software of that nature) to edit the audio and the PowerPoint, and my first attempt to podcast the results.  So feedback on the technical aspects of what I have done here are appreciated. As are comments about the presentation itself.  Again, the podcast is in the entry that immediately follows this one.

January 16, 2008

VSS Attendees: Check Out New Demo

I got this in my inbox this afternoon. Not sure if this is open to others, but given it is a demo by a vendor one would assume that they’d like a wide audience.

The NACOL 2007 Virtual School Symposium proved to be a great success! We at Jones Knowledge appreciated the chance to learn more about how K-12 institutions nationwide plan to address the needs of 21st century learners.

To that end, we have created an opportunity for you to learn more about the latest Jones Knowledge tool designed to engage and retain your entire learning community.

Please join us for an online demonstration of the Jones Knowledge social networking tool.

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2008

Noon-1 p.m. (MT)

Attendees will learn about specific features and benefits for students, faculty and parents and will also be considered for an opportunity to offer the tool to your school and directly impact its further development.

To register, please go to our registration page.

If you have any questions, please call us at 877.277.5423. We look forward to meeting you and sharing this technology as one of the newest variables in the learning equation.


Jones Knowledge

Anyway, if you attend feel free to comment here and let us know what it was all about.

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January 2, 2008

Virtual School Clearinghouse

I think I may have posted something about this before, but if not here are the goods.

Virtual School Clearinghouse

This is a research project down at the University of Florida. In their own words…

The Virtual School Clearinghouse (VSC) is a website documenting a collaborative research project sponsored by the AT&T Foundation and the University of Florida. VSC seeks to aggregate and analyze data from virtual schools, particularly focusing on state-led virtual schools in the 9 state AT&T region. Drawing on existing research and current virtual school practice, the VSC provides multiple tools and metrics vital for school improvement.

Within this site, you will find collections of resources including research on virtual schooling, instruments used to evaluate virtual schooling, and websites dedicated to the topic. As a guest, you may browse these resources. Freely join as a registered guest and you may add and comment on resources. If you are a virtual school, contact us to share your data, and you will have free access to data analyses tools and evaluation instruments. These tools will help provide timely, continuous feedback for data-driven decision making and evaluation of existing policies and practice.

At the recent Virtual School Symposium in Louisville, their team made three presentations:

  1. Informing Policy & Practice: Research on the Best Practices of Virtual School Teachers – Meredith DiPietro
  2. Improving Virtual Schools: A Collaborative Research Partnership – Richard Ferdig, Kim Mulky, Meredith DiPietro, Erik Black & Jeff Boyer
  3. Instructional Perspectives of Best Practices: Successful Strategies in Virtual School Courses – Richard Ferdig, Meredith DiPietro, Erik Black, Jeff Boyer & Kim Mulky

The third one was one of the presentations that was webcast by NACOL.

Instructional Perspectives of Best Practices: Successful Strategies in Virtual School Courses (Richard Ferdig)This session will focus on the results of a collaborative effort undertaken between the University of Florida and Michigan Virtual to investigate the instructional practice of effective virtual school teachers. The goal of this session is to initiate conversations that can provide a basis for developing the body of research on K-12 best practices for online teaching by sharing the outcomes of this collaboration, and providing members from MVU an opportunity to share their perceptions and practices of virtual school teaching. Webcast

One of the items from the Clearinghouse’s website that I will point out is their Resources > Bibliographies (see for a direct link). Apparently it is largely the citations from one of the team member’s own dissertations, but still a fairly good list (even if much of it isn’t specific to virtual schooling).

Anyway, this is the last sheet that I picked up while at the Virtual School Symposium, so this should be the last entry on the content of the conference (minus my own presentation, which I am still trying to figure out how to host my podcast).

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November 10, 2007

A Guest Blogger for VSS2007

Just wanted to let you know that a doctoral student from BYU (and a frequent commenter here), Abigail Gonzales, has sent me the notes that she took from the recent 2007 Virtual School Symposium in Louisville so that I could post them here.

As she indicates:

“It is just the raw information, I was just taking down information with no analysis, so do with it what you like. Some of the sessions I didn’t take as much down as others.”

I have gone back and placed them in the correct order of when they would have happened as if she had been posting them in real time at the conference. You will note that the title for each of these begins “VSS2007 (Guest Blogger)” and then the title of the session. Each entry also begins with “Session notes from our guest blogger, Abby.”

Our thanks to Abby for allowing us to post this “raw information” for those who were able to join us in Louisville.

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