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Job Talk (2012): University of Western Ontario
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Job Talk (2012): University of Western Ontario

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These are the slides from my research-focused job talk at the University of Western Ontario in September 2012.

These are the slides from my research-focused job talk at the University of Western Ontario in September 2012.

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Job Talk (2012): University of Western Ontario Job Talk (2012): University of Western Ontario Presentation Transcript

  • What do we know? Where do we go?Examining the Research into K-12 Online Learning and its Policy Implications Michael K. Barbour Assistant Professor Wayne State University
  • Newfoundland and Labrador• area of the island is 43,359 square miles, while Labrador covers 112,826 square miles• population of 514,536 in 2011 (down from 551,795 in 1996)• 67,933 students in 2011 (down from 118,273 in 1996)• 268 schools in 2006 (down from 432 in 1996)• average school size 220 pupils
  • Literature Reviews1. Rice (2006) – Journal of Research on Technology in Education1. Barbour & Reeves (2009) – Computers and Education1. Cavanaugh, Barbour, & Clark (2009) – International Review of Research in Open
  • What does the literature say?• “based upon the personal experiences of those involved in the practice of virtual schooling” (Cavanaugh et al., 2009)• described the literature as generally falling into one of two general categories: the potential benefits of and challenges facing K- 12 online learning (Barbour & Reeves, 2009)
  • What about research?• “a paucity of research exists when examining high school students enrolled in virtual schools, and the research base is smaller still when the population of students is further narrowed to the elementary grades” (Rice, 2006)
  • Is this a problem?“indicative of the foundational descriptive workthat often precedes experimentation in anyscientific field. In other words, it is important toknow how students in virtual school engage intheir learning in this environment prior toconducting any rigorous examination of virtualschooling.” (Cavanaugh et al., 2009)
  • Analysis of Primary & Secondary Focused Articles in the Main Distance Education Journals (2005- 10) Australia Canada New Zealand United StatesAmerican Journal of DistanceEducation (United States) 8Distance Education(Australia) 2 4Journal of DistanceEducation (Canada) 1 4Journal of Distance Learning(New Zealand) .5* 1 .5*Total 3 4.5* 1 12.5* * One article had a focus on both Canada and the United States
  • What does the research say?1. Comparisons of student performance based upon delivery model (i.e., classroom vs. online)2. Studies examining the qualities and characteristics of the teaching/learning experience – characteristics of – supports provided to – issues related to isolation of online learners (Rice, 2006)1 Effectiveness of virtual schooling2 Student readiness and retention issues (Cavanaugh et al., 2009)
  • So, what does the studentperformance research say?
  • Student Performance• performance of virtual and classroom students in Alberta were similar in English and Social Studies courses, but that classroom students performed better overall in all other subject areas (Ballas & Belyk, 2000)
  • Student Performance• over half of the students who completed FLVS courses scored an A in their course and only 7% received a failing grade (Bigbie & McCarroll, 2000)• students in the six virtual schools in three different provinces performed no worse than the students from the three conventional schools (Barker & Wendel, 2001)
  • Student Performance• FLVS students performed better on a non-mandatory assessment tool than students from the traditional classroom (Cavanaugh et al., 2005)• FLVS students performed better on an assessment of algebraic understanding than their classroom counterparts (McLeod et al., 2005)
  • Let’s look a little closer...
  • Students and Student PerformanceBallas & performance of virtual and participation rate in theBelyk, 2000 classroom students similar assessment among virtual in English & Social Studies students ranged from 65% to courses, but classroom 75% compared to 90% to students performed better 96% for the classroom-based in all other subject areas studentsBigbie & over half of the students between 25% and 50% ofMcCarroll, who completed FLVS students had dropped out2000 courses scored an A in of their FLVS courses over their course and only 7% the previous two-year received a failing grade period
  • Students and Student PerformanceCavanaugh et FLVS students performed speculated that the virtualal., 2005 better on a non- school students who did mandatory assessment take the assessment may tool than students from have been more the traditional classroom academically motivated and naturally higher achieving studentsMcLeod et FLVS students performed results of the studental., 2005 better on an assessment performance were due to of algebraic understanding the high dropout rate in than their classroom virtual school courses counterparts
  • Student Performance and StudentsSo are we reallycomparing apples toapples?
  • The Students• the vast majority of VHS Global Consortium students in their courses were planning to attend a four-year college (Kozma, Zucker & Espinoza, 1998)• “VHS courses are predominantly designated as ‘honors,’ and students enrolled are mostly college bound” (Espinoza et al., 1999)
  • The StudentsThe preferred characteristicsinclude the highly motivated,self-directed, self-disciplined,independent learner whocould read and write well,and who also had a stronginterest in or ability withtechnology (Haughey &Muirhead, 1999)
  • The Students• “only students with a high need to control and structure their own learning may choose distance formats freely” (Roblyer & Elbaum, 2000)• IVHS students were “highly motivated, high achieving, self-directed and/or who liked to work independently” (Clark et al., 2002)
  • The Students• the typical online student was an A or B student (Mills, 2003)• 45% of the students who participated in e-learning opportunities in Michigan were “either advanced placement or academically advanced” students (Watkins, 2005)
  • But does this represent all of our online students?
  • Student Reality???• two courses with the highest enrollment of online students in the US are Algebra I & Algebra II (Patrick, 2007)• largest proportion of growth in K–12 online learning enrollment is with full-time cyber schools (Watson et al., 2008)• many cyber schools have a higher percentage of students classified as “at-risk” (Klein, 2006)• at-risk students are as those who might otherwise drop out of traditional schools (Rapp, Eckes & Plurker, 2006)
  • Literatureindicates K-12online learningstudents are...
  • Reality of most ora large segmentK-12 onlinelearningstudents?
  • Including Wider Range of StudentsState of Colorado – 2006 Online Education Performance Audit – “Online student scores in math, reading, and writing have been lower than scores for students statewide over the last three years.” – “The difference in performance between online students and all students statewide is larger in higher grades.” – “Our analysis of Colorado Student Assessment Program results and repeater, attrition, and dropout rates indicate that online schools may not be providing sufficiently for the needs of their students.”
  • Including Wider Range of StudentsState of Wisconsin – Legislative Audit of Virtual Charter Schools (2010) – “Virtual charter school pupils’ median scores on the mathematics section of the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination were almost always lower than statewide medians during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years.” – “Because of the relative newness of virtual charter schools and their substantial growth since inception, readily available information on the performance of virtual charter school pupils would be of value to parents, school districts, legislators, and other policymakers.”
  • Including Wider Range of StudentsState of Colorado – iNews Network Investigation (2011) – “Half of the online students wind up leaving within a year. When they do, they’re often further behind academically then when they started.” – “Online schools produce three times as many dropouts as they do graduates. One of every eight online students drops out of school permanently – a rate four times the state average.” – “Online student scores on statewide achievement tests are consistently 14 to 26 percentage points below state averages for reading, writing and math over the past four years.”
  • Including Wider Range of StudentsState of Minnesota – 2011 K-12 Online Learning Legislative Audit – “Full-time online students dropped out much more frequently.” – “Compared with all students statewide, full-time online students had significantly lower proficiency rates on the math MCA-II but similar proficiency rates in reading.” – “During both years [i.e., 2008-09 and 2009-10], full- time online students enrolled in grades 4 through 8 made about half as much progress in math, on average, as other students in the same grade.”
  • Including Wider Range of StudentsMiron, G. & Urschel, J. (2012). Understanding and improving full-time virtual schools. Denver, CO: National Education Policy Center. – “…students at K12 Inc., the nation’s largest virtual school company, are falling further behind in reading and math scores than students in brick-and-mortar schools.” – “These virtual schools students are also less likely to remain at their schools for the full year, and the schools have low graduation rates.” – “Children who enroll in a K12 Inc. cyberschool, who receive full- time instruction in front of a computer instead of in a classroom with a live teacher and other students, are more likely to fall behind in reading and math. These children are also more likely to move between schools or leave school altogether – and the cyberschool is less likely to meet federal education standards.”
  • Synthesis of Meta-Analysis• Cavanaugh (2001) - 16 studies – +0.147 in favor of K-12 distance education• Cavanaugh et al. (2004) - 14 studies – -0.028 for K-12 distance education• Means et al. (2009) - 46 studies (5 on K-12) – +0.24 favoring online over face-to-face – +0.35 favoring blended over face-to-face*
  • Problem With Student Performance Studies
  • Problem of Effect SizesReverseEffects
  • Problem of Effect SizesDevelopmentalEffects
  • Problem of Effect Sizes Teacher Effects
  • Problem of Effect Sizes Zone of Desired Effects
  • Synthesis of Meta-AnalysisCavanaugh (2001) - 16 studies• +0.147 in favor of K-12 distance educationCavanaugh et al. (2004) - 14 studies• -0.028 for K-12 distance educationMeans et al. (2009) - 46 studies (5 on K-12)• +0.24 favoring online over face-to-face• +0.35 favoring blended over face-to-face*
  • Results of Interest• Second and third chance programs (d=0.50)• Matching style of learning (d=0.40)• Computer assisted instruction (d=0.37)• Decreasing disruptive behavior (d=0.34)• Programmed instruction (d=0.24)• Individualized instruction (d=0.23)• Class size (d=0.21)• Charter schools (d=0.20)• Web-based learning (d=0.18)• Home-school programs (d=0.16)• Teacher training (d=0.11)• Teacher subject matter knowledge (d=0.09)• Distance education (d=0.09)• Student control over learning (d=0.04) 40
  • Results to Consider• Providing formative evaluation (d=0.90)• Micro teaching (d=0.88)• Teacher clarity (d=0.75)• Providing feedback (d=0.73)• Teacher-student relationships (d=0.72)• Teaching strategies (d=0.60)• Cooperative vs. individualistic learning (d=0.59)• Study skills (d=0.59)• Direct instruction (d=0.59)• Mastery learning (d=0.58)• Worked examples (d=0.57)• Concept mapping (d=0.57)• Goals (d=0.56)• Peer tutoring (d=0.55)• Cooperative vs. competitive learning (d=0.54)
  • What about the other research?
  • Problematic ResearchOnline 7 principles of Interviews with teachers and courseCourse effective online developers at a single virtual school,Design course content with no verification of whether the for adolescent interviewees’ perceptions were actuallyBarbour learners effective or any student input at all for(2005; 2007) that matter.Online 37 best Interviews with teachers at a singleTeaching practices in virtual school selected by the virtual asynchronous school itself. Their teachers’ beliefsDiPietro et online teaching were not validated through observational. (2008) of the teaching or student performance.
  • Can the research really guide us?
  • 45
  • Digital Learning Now1. All students are digital learners.2. All students have access to high quality digital content and online courses.3. All students can customize their education using digital content through an approved provider.4. Students progress based on demonstrated competency.5. Digital content, instructional materials, and online and blended learning courses are high quality.6. Digital instruction and teachers are high quality.7. All students have access to high quality providers.8. Student learning is the metric for evaluating the quality of content and instruction.9. Funding creates incentives for performance, options and innovation.10. Infrastructure supports digital learning.
  • Digital Learning Now1. All students are digital learners.2. All students have access to high quality digital content and online courses.3. All students can customize their education using digital content through an approved provider.4. Students progress based on demonstrated competency.5. Digital content, instructional materials, and online and blended learning courses are high quality.6. Digital instruction and teachers are high quality.7. All students have access to high quality providers.8. Student learning is the metric for evaluating the quality of content and instruction.9. Funding creates incentives for performance, options and innovation.10. Infrastructure supports digital learning.
  • Can the research really guide us?
  • Students AREN’T digital learners
  • Students AREN’T digital learners
  • Online teaching endorsements are UNNECESSARY
  • Online learning requirements are POINTLESS
  • Online learning costs LESS, butshould be adequately funded
  • Conditions for online teachersshould be FAIR, BUT FLEXIBLE.
  • The ChallengeWhether online learning can be suitable for pointless all K-12 students? (Mulcahy, 2002)
  • The ChallengeHow do we create an environment where all K-12 students can be successful when they learn online?
  • My Own Research Agenda• Continuing to examine the policy and regulation of K- 12 distance education in Canada – potentially expanding that study to New Zealand• Examining the preparation of teachers to design, delivery & support K-12 online learning
  • My Own Research Agenda• Working with individual K-12 online learning program to help them to effectively design, deliver & support K-12 online learning
  • My Own Research Agenda• Countering the dominant narrative presented by the neo-liberal supporters of K-12 online learning in the United States (and elsewhere)
  • YourQuestions andComments
  • Assistant Professor Wayne State University, USA mkbarbour@gmail.com http://www.michaelbarbour.comhttp://virtualschooling.wordpress.com