Barry Phillips - Sero - The Virtual School Landscape in Europe


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Presented during the European Virtual Schools Colloquium that took place on 22nd-24th May 2012 in Sheffield, UK.

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Barry Phillips - Sero - The Virtual School Landscape in Europe

  1. 1. The Virtual School Landscape: Europe VISCED
  2. 2. Currently 45 listed16+ countriesPreviously approx 70+See ‘Country Reports’for those ‘purged’More to add post-Sheffield (e.g. Rus,Esp, Dan)
  3. 3. Represented in SheffieldEuropean Virtual Schools• Audentes > Estonia• Bednet > Belgium• Briteschool > England• European Virtual Schools > Europe• Interhigh > Wales• iScoil > Ireland• Notschool > England/UK>• Otavanopisto > Finland• Rīgas Tālmācības vidusskola > Latvia• Satellite Virtual Schools > England• Sofia Distans > Sweden• Varmdo Distans > Sweden• Wereldschool > Netherlands*some of the above may not be confined to a single countryVirtual School researching organisations• Instituto de Educação > Portugal• METID (Politecnico Di Milano) > ItalyVISCED (Sheffield) Pilot Sites• Notre Dame High School•The Sheffield College
  4. 4. Virtual Schools in Europe: Profiles - headlines• Student numbers/enrolments from 10s to 1,000+ and (potentially) 1,000s• Public and Private• Mainstream – full or wide curriculum coverage• Mainstream – niche subjects• Inclusion – variety of target groups• Revision/catch-up• Expatriates/cultural/language needs• Continuing education (beyond school leaving)• Geographical isolation *usually combined with another factor – not typically the primary motivation• Pedagogy: broad spectrum – 100% online > significant face-to-face
  5. 5. Belgium (3), Croatia (1), Denmark (1), England/UK (8), Estonia (1), Europe (1), Finland(6), France (3), Italy (1), Ireland (2), Latvia (1), NESA/Greece (1), Netherlands (5), Norway(1), Portugal (2), Russia (2), Sweden (4), Wales (2) * some of these are umbrella bodies and representmultiple schools or even multiple schools districts• average size of single-institution Virtual Schools = c310 (adjusted c260)• between 1/3rd and 1/2 are explicitly/exclusively aimed at inclusion• school-phobic, excluded, travellers, young parents, pregnancy, bullying, in care etc• in Belgium and the Netherlands virtual schooling is very much concentrated on hospitaleducation and the sick, or those with mobility problems• Finland’s schools include those focusing on Continuing Education (for young people)• some support extremely broad spectrum (e.g. Otava )• at least 6 Virtual Schools are fully, or in part, for expatriates (and we know of more)
  6. 6. ProvidersPublic, private and not-for profit providers Public (16) Private (15) Not For Profit (7) Public/Private (2) Non-Commercial (1)
  7. 7. ReflectionsVirtual Schools reflect local context – they may be consistent with local cultures andtraditions or they may develop because local cultures and traditions have weak-points.It may be local cultures and traditions which have prevented the development of localschools;• traditionally, schools are to keep children safe and off the streets (especially inSouthern European countries)• a dislike/distrust of home-schooling• ‘loyalty to the investment’ in ICT in the classroom – reluctance to see this becomeobsoleteSo...The Virtual Schools landscape is, therefore, different from country to country – but itvaries by school board and by state/province in the US and Canada – yet there areunderpinning similarities/common interests.
  8. 8. And will face many of the same challenges as in North America and Australia• Do existing Legislative Frameworks disadvantage virtual schooling?• Are there tensions between sovereign states and EU (State v Federal?)?• Quality assurance? Common standards? Autonomy and innovation? Are these exclusive?• Accreditation? Cross-border recognition? Who ‘owns’ the qualifications?• Funding? Cross-border funding?• Attitudes to Open Educational Resources? Govt? EC? Content providers?• Public Opinion? Is this how Virtual Schooling is viewed in some countries...
  9. 9. ?
  10. 10. What next ?• Build the evidence base (looking also to NA and Aus).• Colleges?• Eastern and Central Europe?• Southern and Mediterranean Europe?• Strategic level initiatives?• Mainstream – is there significant virtual schooling hidden within?• Build a network?• Link the network beyond Europe - and beyond Virtual Schooling.• Develop the policy EC level - where priorities remain stable and at national level - which is unstable so......customise the ‘case for virtual schools’ and the policy guidance to (changing) localcontexts.• Articulate rather than advocate – objective rather than evangelical.
  11. 11. The Virtual School Landscape: Europe VISCED