NYSCSS 2014 - Plug Nickels, Snake Oil, And Charlatans: What We Really Known About K-12 Online Learning?

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Barbour, M. K. (2014, March). Plug nickels, snake oil, and charlatans: What we really known about K-12 online learning? An invited keynote presentation to the New York State Council for Social Studies annual meeting, Albany, NY.

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NYSCSS 2014 - Plug Nickels, Snake Oil, And Charlatans: What We Really Known About K-12 Online Learning?

  1. 1. Michael K. Barbour Sacred Heart University
  2. 2. 3
  3. 3. • “based upon the personal experiences of those involved in the practice of virtual schooling” (Cavanaugh et al., 2009) • “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)
  4. 4. • “indicative of the foundational descriptive work that often precedes experimentation in any scientific field. In other words, it is important to know how students in virtual school engage in their learning in this environment prior to conducting any rigorous examination of virtual schooling.” (Cavanaugh et al., 2009)
  5. 5. 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 schooling 2 Student readiness and retention issues (Cavanaugh et al., 2009)
  6. 6.  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)  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)
  7. 7.  students in the six virtual schools in three different provinces performed no worse than the students from the three conventional schools (Barker & Wendel, 2001)  IVHS had a completion rate of 53% its first year of operation and 80% the following (Clark et al., 2002)
  8. 8.  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 counterpart (McLeod et al., 2005)
  9. 9.  the completion rate for the ALDC was 47% for their asynchronous courses and 89% for their combination asynchronous & synchronous courses (Elluminate, 2006)  CDLI students performed as well as classroom-based students on final course scores & exam marks (Barbour & Mulcahy, 2007; 2008)
  10. 10. Ballas & Belyk (2000) participation rate in the assessment among virtual students ranged from 65% to 75% compared to 90% to 96% for the classroom- based students Bigbie & McCarroll (2000) between 25% and 50% of students had dropped out of their FLVS courses over the previous two- year period Cavanaugh et al. (2005) speculated that the virtual school students who did take the assessment may have been more academically motivated and naturally higher achieving students McLeod et al. (2005) results of the student performance were due to the high dropout rate in virtual school courses
  11. 11.  Martin & Rainey (1993)  McBride (1990)  Riel (1990)  Rudolf (1986)  Ryan (1996)  Sisung (1992)  Smith (1990)  Wick (1997)  Allen & Thompson (1995)  Blanton et al. (1997)  Burkman (1994)  Center for Applied Special Technology (1996)  Erickson (1992)  Gray (1996)  Hinnant (1994)  Libler (1991)
  12. 12. Zone of Desired Effects Reverse Effects Teacher Effects Developmental Effects
  13. 13.  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*
  14. 14.  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)
  15. 15.  the preferred characteristics include the highly motivated, self-directed, self-disciplined, independent learner who could read and write well, and who also had a strong interest in or ability with technology (Haughey & Muirhead, 1999)  between 25% and 50% of students had dropped out of their FLVS courses over the previous two-year period (Bigbie & McCarroll, 2000)
  16. 16.  participation rate in the assessment among virtual students ranged from 65% to 75% compared to 90% to 96% for the classroom-based students (Ballas & Belyk, 2000)  “only students with a high need to control and structure their own learning may choose distance formats freely” (Roblyer & Elbaum, 2000)
  17. 17.  IVHS students were “highly motivated, high achieving, self-directed and/or who liked to work independently” (Clark et al., 2002)  the typical online student was an A or B student (Mills, 2003)
  18. 18.  45% of the students who participated in e-learning opportunities in Michigan were “either advanced placement or academically advanced” students (Watkins, 2005)
  19. 19. Research literature indicates K-12 online learning students are...
  20. 20. Reality of most or a large segment K-12 online learners?
  21. 21. • “Online student scores in math, reading, and writing have been lower than scores for students statewide over the last three years.” (Colorado, 2006) • “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.” (Wisconsin, 2010)
  22. 22. • “Half of the online students wind up leaving within a year. When they do, they’re often further behind academically then when they started.” (Colorado, 2011) • “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.” (Minnesota, 2011)
  23. 23. • “nearly nine of every 10 students enrolled in at least one statewide online course, all had graduation rates and AIMS math passing rates below the state average” (Arizona, 2011) • “…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.” (Miron & Urschel, 2012)
  24. 24. • “K12 Inc. virtual schools enroll approximately the same percentages of black students but substantially more white students and fewer Hispanic students relative to public schools in the states in which the company operates” • “39.9% of K12 students qualify for free or reduced lunch, compared with 47.2% for the same-state comparison group.” • “K12 virtual schools enroll a slightly smaller proportion of students with disabilities than schools in their states and in the nation as a whole (9.4% for K12 schools, 11.5% for same-state comparisons, and 13.1% in the nation).” • “Students classified as English language learners are significantly under-represented in K12 schools; on average the K12 schools enroll 0.3% ELL students compared with 13.8% in the same-state comparison group and 9.6% in the nation.” Miron, G. & Urschel, J. (2012). Understanding and improving full-time virtual schools. Denver, CO: National Education Policy Center.
  25. 25.  whether online learning can be suitable for all K- 12 students? (Mulcahy, 2002)
  26. 26.  under what conditions can online learning be suitable for all K-12 students?
  27. 27. Virtual School Designer: Course Development  design instructional materials  works in team with teachers and a virtual school to construct the online course, etc. Virtual School Teacher: Pedagogy & Class Management  presents activities, manages pacing, rigor, etc.  interacts with students and their facilitators  undertakes assessment, grading, etc. Virtual School Site Facilitator: Mentoring & Advocating  local mentor and advocate for student(s)  proctors & records grades, etc. Davis (2007)
  28. 28. Supplemental Model
  29. 29. Full-Time Model
  30. 30. Study Results Online Course Design Barbour (2005, 2007) 7 Principles of effective asynchronous course design for adolescent learners Online Teaching DiPietro et al. (2008) 37 Best practice for effective asynchronous online instruction
  31. 31. Course developers should: 1. prior to beginning development of any of the web-based material, plan out the course with ideas for the individual lessons and specific items that they would like to include; 2. keep the navigation simple and to a minimum, but don’t present the material the same way in every lesson; 3. provide a summary of the content from the required readings or the synchronous lesson and include examples that are personalized to the students’ own context; 4. ensure students are given clear instructions and model expectations of the style and level that will be required for student work; 5. refrain from using too much text and consider the use of visuals to replace or supplement text when applicable; 6. only use multimedia that will enhances the content and not simply because it is available; and 7. develop their content for the average or below average student.
  32. 32. Study Results Methodological Limitation Online Course Design Barbour (2005, 2007) 7 Principles of effective asynchronous course design for adolescent learners Interviews with teachers and course developers at a single province-wide virtual school that had a strong synchronous delivery model. Beliefs were not validated through observation or student performance Online Teaching DiPietro et al. (2008) 37 Best practice for effective asynchronous online instruction
  33. 33.  general characteristics – 12 practices  classroom management strategies – 2 practices  pedagogical strategies: assessment – 3 practices  pedagogical strategies: engaging students with content – 7 practices  pedagogical strategies: making course meaningful for students – 4 practices  pedagogical strategies: providing support– 1 practice  pedagogical strategies: communication & community – 5 practices  technology – 3 practices
  34. 34. Study Results Methodological Limitation Online Course Design Barbour (2005, 2007) 7 Principles of effective asynchronous course design for adolescent learners Interviews with teachers and course developers at a single province-wide virtual school that had a strong synchronous delivery model. Beliefs were not validated through observation or student performance Online Teaching DiPietro et al. (2008) 37 Best practice for effective asynchronous online instruction Interviews with teachers at a single, statewide virtual school that were selected by virtual school administrators. Online teacher beliefs were not validated through observation or student performance.
  35. 35.  based on University of Florida’s Virtual School Clearinghouse initiative  AT&T Foundation-funded project from 2006-2009  designed to provide K-12 online learning programs, particularly statewide supplemental programs, with data analysis tools and metrics for school improvement  13 of those K-12 online programs were outlined in a publication entitled Lessons Learned for Virtual Schools: Experiences and Recommendations from the Field Black, Ferdig, DiPietro (2008)
  36. 36.  design-based research approach to first five years of VHS  SRI International were external evaluators  identified seven goals and focused all of their research and evaluation  resulted in:  three annual evaluations  one five-year evaluation  two subject specific evaluations
  37. 37. Critical to the success of students  research has shown the presence of active facilitators increase student performance (Roblyer, Freeman, Stabler, & Schneidmiller, 2007)  a trained facilitator also has a positive impact on student performance (UNC-Chapel Hill) Facilitator should  monitor student activities  support students soft learning skills  provided time in their schedule for virtual school facilitation Facilitator should not  provide regular tutoring  provide significant or substantial technical assistance
  38. 38. Lack of professional development  less than 40% of online teachers reported to receiving any professional development before they began teaching online (Rice & Dawley, 2007) Lack of teacher preparation programs  less than 2% of universities in the United States provided any systematic training in their pre- service or in-service teacher education programs (Kennedy & Archambault, 2012)
  39. 39. Director of Doctoral Studies Sacred Heart University mkbarbour@gmail.com http://www.michaelbarbour.com http://virtualschooling.wordpress.com

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