Attention K-12 Online Teachers

I would like to invite K-12 online teachers – whether you teach in a full-time or blended environment – to participate in an educational book project.  The title of the publication is tentatively “Strategies for K-12 Online Teachers” and publication is scheduled for next year with Pearson Education. Included with this invitation is a link to a short form that asks a variety of questions about online teaching in K-12 virtual schools. I am asking you to look over the questions and respond to any or all of them. If you choose to participate, your responses may be included in the text as vignettes representing “voices from teachers in the field.”  It is important to include your name (for proper credit, an email address where you can be contacted and the name of the school where you teach if you think it is appropriate.

Form Link: http://tinyurl.com/k12onlinestrategies

If you have any questions about this request, please feel free to contact me. Also, please feel free to pass this invitation on to others who might be interested in participating.

Thank you in advance for your time and for agreeing to participate in this exciting opportunity!

Kerry Rice, Ed. D.
Boise State University
Department of Educational Technology
krice@boisestate.edu

Online Course Requirement for Graduation

Requiring an online experience for students in secondary public schools is a topic that has recently come to the forefront of my work over the last two weeks so I thought I would share just some of the arguments for why this just might make sense…

Online learning is emerging as an essential part of K-12 education with two states (Michigan and Alabama) and many districts finding value in requiring their students to participate in an online experience. There is national support for this movement, particularly in the latest U.S. Department of Education National Educational Technology Plan. Reasons for these initiatives include:

  • Today’s learners need a unique set of 21st century skills to succeed in a global economy. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills advocates for models of learning that emphasize creative problem-solving, synthesizing, use of networks and workgroups, cultural and global awareness, and the ability to communicate effectively in multiple media. Online learning supports acquisition of these skills by focusing on learner needs, essential skills and building community relationships.
  • Online learning often results in increased learning time, which has clearly been shown to improve student outcomes.  In addition, research consistently suggests there is no significant difference in student outcomes in online environments compared to face-to-face instruction. A comprehensive study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, suggested that students performed better in online environments, particularly in blended environments (those with both face-to-face and online components) and the primary reason for this was attributed to increased learning time.
  • Online course offerings have been a staple in higher education for some time now.  One-in-four college students report taking an online course and it is expected that this number will continue to increase dramatically in the near future. Providing this experience early-on gets learners one step closer to college-preparedness.
  • If you allow learners to fulfill the requirement with courses outside your district, the potential expansion of course offerings can enrich their educational experience by providing them with courses that might not be available locally and by providing opportunities to join other culturally diverse learners from across the country and the globe.
  • Online learning offers an approach that allows more flexible and individualized learning. The teachers that we come in contact with often express the belief that their face-to-face teaching practices are literally transformed as a result of taking and teaching online courses. Teachers find that lecture-based instruction simply does not work online. The online environment requires thoughtful consideration and planning, a natural movement from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side”, and attention to the needs of individual learners.

Here is a short list of the most pertinent reports that will be helpful for anybody considering this option: