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App4 ToddT

  1. 1. Online Learning in K-12 Schools<br />By: Tonya Todd<br />
  2. 2. To our students, technology becomes are regular part of life very early on.<br />It is not uncommon to see middle schoolers (and some elementary students) carrying around iPods, cell phones, and even laptops<br />If you polled most households you would probably find that the children are more up-to-date and proficient with the technolologies than the adults.<br />Introduction <br />
  3. 3. Its seem without of the realm of reason then, that that same technological knowledge held by students is not only NOT being applied in schools, it is rather being restricted by school personnel.<br />According to authors Lemke and Coughlin, “[i]nstead of requiring our students to check their Web 2.0 technologies at the schoolhouse door, we should teach them how to use these tools for learning” (2009, p.1[54]).<br />Technology in school?<br />
  4. 4. One way that we as educators can monopolize on our students’ “tech savvyness” is to engage them in online learning.<br />Many student already spend numerous hours each week online surfing the web, instant messaging (IM) their friends, Skyping with family across country, writing in their blog, and posting to their social network of choice (usually Facebook or MySpace).<br />All of those components have prepared (and perhaps conditioned) our students into developing many the necessary traits of an online learner.<br />Pre-conditioned for Online Learning?<br />
  5. 5. While online learning is not a new concept, it has, as of late, really began to “hit the education scene”. Virtual schools are popping up everywhere, and most universities offer numerous online classes and tutorials.<br />And, on a related positive note, online learning platforms – like the Course Management System (CMS) Moodle – allow educators to create content that is diverse, rich, and differentiated enough to meet the needs of all of their students.<br />It seems like it is the right time to embark on preparing our students <br />Why Online Learning?<br />
  6. 6. Benefits of Online Learning<br />“Filling the Gap” - One of the major benefits of online learning is the fact that it enables educators to “fill” some of the gaps that might otherwise appear in instruction.<br />
  7. 7. Because classes are so diverse and large, online learning options can help teachers create online units that include differentiated instructional lessons that meet the needs of all learners. <br />For example, a unit on Pythagoras could include links to web articles, videos, animations, virtual manipulatives, keywords and a forum where members can discuss what they think the answer to certain key questions are. <br />Furthermore, the unit could include “self-check” quizzes that allow students to take quizzes and get instant feedback on what they scored well on and what they need to study more about. <br />Filling the Gap<br />
  8. 8. Another instructional gap that might be filled deals with homebound/homebased, absent and special education students.<br />Having an online learning system would allow these students to keep up with their classmates as well as go back and review materials as needed.<br />Filling the Gap<br />
  9. 9. A third instructional gap that might be filled would be concerning learning outside the classroom. <br />Oftentimes for students, learning stops when the bell rings to dismiss class and does not start again until the bell rings the next class day. <br />However, with the online learning modules, educators and students can communicate outside of class time. <br />This can also work well with students who have approved leave from school, but still need to take certain classes for credit.<br />Filling the Gap<br />
  10. 10. According to authors Young, Birtolo, and McEleman, online learning options can result in not only more flexible, differentiated courses, but, due the nature of communications via online course, student can also receive more “individualized attention from teachers” (Young, Birtlo, and McEleman, 2009, p. 4[15]). <br />And, with the large classes comprised of students at various readiness levels, many students need (and desire) more one-on-one teacher interactions. <br />Although time one-on-one time can be limited in the classroom due the make-up of the student body and limited time frame, communications can continue after school hours using the online learning modules. <br />Some modules offer forums, e-mail communications, and Instant Messenger applications.<br />Filling the Gap<br />
  11. 11. Learning Online…<br />Can online learning modules support meaningful, authentic, student learning?<br />
  12. 12. Like described above, learning modules will allow educators to create lessons that are differentiated and relevant. Students can then “complete” those modules at their own pace (within a pre-set time frame, of course), and use only the resources they need and/or repeat the resources they need to repeat. <br />For example, during a Pythagorean theorem unit, the teacher may provide 5 relevant article links, two video links, 2 virtual manipulative, 3 sites where students can practice the new concepts, 2 different on line quiz sites, and 2 real-world challenge questions. <br />The student “John” may already be very familiar with the Pythagorean and only needs to watch one of the videos for a review before going on to take the quiz and pass with “flying colors”. Then John can work on the challenge questions, and finally continue to the next unit. <br />However, the student “Trace” may need to watch both videos, read two article links, and practice for half the class period before he is ready to take the quizzes. Then, even after the quizzes he may need to go back and review the materials, and ask the teacher for additional assistance. <br />In both of these cases, the students are working on relevant, meaningful material, and both students are learning, and both are engaged in authentic – “different”- instruction while working toward the same goal<br />Online learning produces meaningful, authentic, student learning<br />
  13. 13. Potential Concerns and Worries…<br />Answers to some of the concerns that may be posed by educators around the globe (and 8 recommendations for persuading even the worst critics)<br />
  14. 14. One concern that my colleagues may have in regards to using online learning is the fear that it would cost too much to implement a web-based course management system. <br />I would explain that there are free web-based course management systems (CMS), such as: Moodle, Rcampus , Chamilo, Claroline, Democrasoft, and Sakai.<br />Concern and reassurance # 1:<br />
  15. 15. Another concern may be that learning how to use a learning module may be too time consuming and confusing. <br />I would explain that some web-based CMS (like Moodle) offer online tutorial videos, step-by-step instructions, information web-books, and online support for new users. <br />I would also offer to help that teacher one-on-one to set up their own CMS and create lessons. <br />Furthermore, I would explain that, in addition to tutorials, some have sample lesson units already online that you can modify and use. <br />And lastly, I would explain that many CMS allow for easy transfer of “outside” documents into the CMS program; that way you do not have to re-create everything.<br />Concern and reassurance # 2:<br />
  16. 16. A third concern that my colleagues may have is that they do not think they could “keep up” with all of the students online. <br />I would explain that some CMS have organization programs – like calendars, assignment lists, reminder software, built-in to help teachers and students stay focused and “on time”. <br />Furthermore, I would explain that some CMS (like Moodle) tracks student interactions, student grades, and student feedback automatically when set in the beginning.<br />Concern and reassurance # 3:<br />
  17. 17. A fourth concern that my colleague may have is in regards to the safety of students communicating and working in a online environment. <br />I would explain that they (the teacher) can set filters and passwords so that only approved people can access their learning module.<br />Concern and reassurance # 4:<br />
  18. 18. Lastly, if any of my colleagues were still “holding out”, in order to persuade them I would attempt to implement the eight strategies listed by Gilliard and Bailey: <br />“Get the ‘technology leaders’… and ‘opinion leaders’ of the school to agree to support IT innovations<br />Draw a ‘best interest’ picture for both faculty and students, showing exactly what the new technology can accomplish<br />Exercise positive peer pressure to win over faculty members who have a negative picture of change<br />Reduce resistance by phasing in the changes over…time<br />Keep selling the idea<br />Emphasize the IT’s compatibility with teaching styles, student needs, and faculty development<br />…[P]rovide training a peer support<br />Recognize and reward faculty members who are willing to try innovative techno logy” (Gilliard and Bailey, 2007, pg. 4[90]).<br />And, lastly, the 8 steps to persuading the toughest critics…<br />
  19. 19. Gillard, S., & Bailey, D. (2007). Technology in the classroom: Overcoming obstacles, reaping rewards. The International Journal of Learning, 14(1), 87–93.<br />Young, J., Birtolo, P., & McElman, R. (2009). Virtual success: Transforming education through online learning. Learning & Leading with Technology,36(5), 12–17.<br />References:<br />