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Posts Tagged ‘Online Learning’

Game-Based Learning

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

The effectiveness of hands-on learning isn’t new—for example, the apprenticeship system traces a rich history from ancient times to the present day. But well-designed game-based learning has several advantages over traditional experiential learning methods. It is cost-effective and low-risk (unlike, for example, safety training using live machinery). Perhaps even more important, there are significant learning advantages. Learners can re-enact a precise set of circumstances multiple times, exploring the consequences of different actions. In addition, well-designed games permit learning experiences that aren’t possible in real life—for example, “designing” a dolphin to find out how body size and fin position affect how far it can swim , or deliberately causing the biggest possible virtual explosion to understand why gas line disasters happen.

eTutor Offers New App – eTutor Unplugged!

Thursday, March 13th, 2014


In an effort to provide more access to the wealth of instructional content in the eTutor bank of lesson modules we have created an additional program. eTutor Unplugged has been developed to give students and parents another way to access instruction over the Internet. Individual lessons may be purchased for a nominal fee and can be accessed unlimited times for one year.

For instance, in this lesson module on Figurative Language, you can see how the use of graphics and pictures enhance the information and skills being taught. The use of internet links within the Study Guide and in the Resource section provide additional information for student learning.

Lesson Modules cover 27 subjects in the four major areas of Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. Subjects are recommended based on the grade level of your student. Of course you may adapt your selections based on student need.

eTutor Unplugged offers users the option of receiving credit for lessons completed. When enrolling in eTutor Virtual School for a minimum of three months, students may transfer their work for credit which is accepted in public and private schools, universities and colleges, military and when applying for jobs. eTutor Virtual School is accredited through AdvancEd and North Central Association (NCA).

Two Methods of Reading Instruction

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Consider the following two teaching methods in English Language Arts. Mr. Brown hands out a worksheet exercise to his first grade students on circling words that contain the same “ch” sound. This is an explicit exercise on phonics or basic skills instruction in reading. Mrs. Kato reads to the class and asks her first graders to write about the topic after the reading. Mrs. Kato was using the whole language approach to teaching reading. Which is a better method of teaching reading to children? Research says that a combination of the two methods or balanced instruction may be the most effective way to teach the beginning reader. This balanced instruction involves teaching the relationship between letters and sounds in a systematic fashion, and at the same time, children are being read to and reading interesting stories and writing at the same time. Researchers claim that the combination method presents the best of both worlds in teaching reading.

Outsmarting Stress

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
Relieve stress by understanding which brain hemisphere is stressed. If you feel depressed or emotionally overwrought, your stress is in the right hemisphere….the creative, emotional, holistic side.
What to do:
  1. Switch to your matter-of-fact left hemisphere by doing math, writing factual prose or organizing. The emotional right brain will calm down.
  2. If you feel time-stressed and overburdened, the left hemisphere is involved. Switch to your right brain by singing or playing a sport.
Jane Cole-Hamilton, Wellspring Seminars

Learning the eTutor Way!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

eTutor lesson modules are grouped at Primary (about K-3), Intermediate (about 4-5), Middle/Junior High (about 6-8) and High School.  This cross-aging of lesson modules has been very successful for eTutor students as they can work at their own pace.  Some lesson modules may be easier and can be used for review and some will be more challenging. Students should do no more than four lesson modules each day.  We recommend one lesson module in each of the four major curricular areas.  One lesson module a day is sufficient for those who use eTutor for supplemental work or credit recovery. All curricular areas support one another.

Lesson modules take from one hour to one and a half hours to complete. Some may even take several days to complete.  The default for passing quizzes and exams is set at eighty percent.  Students are expected to fully complete lesson modules.  Parents or another adult are asked to review the finished Activities and Extended Learning with each lesson module since these are most often completed off line.  They can be used as a springboard for discussion, ‘What did you learn by completing this,” “How could you have done this differently,”  ”Explain this concept to me,” etc.

There is much reading and writing in the eTutor program and users will haveexcellent reading and writing skills if the program is used consistently. We suggest the student respond in writing to the Problem Statement before and after completing each lesson module to act as a self-check. The vocabulary words can be used for writing sentences or creating word puzzles.  Students should write a short description of each of the resource links.   eTutor is a Pass/Fail program.  Completed lessons are reflective of those where the student has successfully completed Quizzes and Exams.  Students are expected to spend approximately four to five hours studying each day when using eTutor for their full curriculum.   We suggest that the student keep track of his hours of study each day on a piece of paper or a calendar.


Spring Cleaning

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

As spring brings out all that is fresh and new, thoughts turn to spring cleaning and packing away our winter hats and gloves. But as we look forward to getting ready for spring, we should not forget all of the progress we have made throughout the school year. It is important to look back so we can see how far we have come. Consider setting up a filing system for your student. These files can prove to be a rich source of inspiration and reflection for any student.

Grade school students may wish to save cherished artwork and see the progress they have made. With a quick flip through their file, they can see how their cursive writing has become neater, how they can read books with chapters, and how their artwork has improved.

Middle school students will be able to track the development of their skills. Simple addition and subtraction give way to geometry and pre-algebra. Essays extend beyond a page; science projects involve complex equations and chemicals.

As their studies become more complicated, students may find their files have grown dramatically in size, an indication of the increasing complexity of their knowledge. They may be surprised to learn how much material they have studied.

High school students may wish to save long English papers which can be revised and turned into college admissions essays. Favorite books can be a source of inspiration; an essay about The Great Gatsby from the 9th grade could be the source of an inspiring AP essay for college credit. Chemistry and biology experiments may be the basis for scholarship applications for science programs.

Over the long run, students can examine these saved files and see how their interests develop. A science fair project from the fifth grade could spark a lifelong interest in chemistry, reflected in more and more complicated projects throughout junior high and high school. History papers about the Civil War can spark an outside interest in re-enactments.

As they look back on these files, students can see how much they’ve improved year by year. The 3rd grade book report about Old MacDonald’s Farm may be a far cry from Animal Farm in 11th grade, but students will be able to see how they have developed into mature young adults with a broad range of knowledge. These learning files show students how they’ve grown and where they are heading.

Achieving Succes

Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Levels of student achievement have continued to decrease despite increases in the school resources applied to the learning process over the years.  Few educators would argue that standardized tests are the best measure of school effectiveness.  Yet, there are many technical issues involved in the tests themselves ad how the scores are reported and analyzed.

The reality is that the test results are concise and appealing to the public….. hence important to the school. They also are consequential for individual students, who need good scores to qualify for high school graduation, colleges, and scholarships. So, new approaches to assessment and better tests may be needed in the long run, but in the short run it would be of benefit simply to achieve higher scores. Two effective means to this end currently are available. The first focuses on the test scores directly, while the second reaches beyond the tests to each school’s curriculum and preparation of students to lead productive and fulfilling lives.  This is the technique that eTutor uses to improve the online teaching-learning process

Another effective approach is to develop the study skills which facilitate the learning process…..skills which are not covered in most school curricula. The deeper issue behind raising test scores is the instructional effectiveness of the school. Improvements here mean better-prepared individuals, lifelong learning, and progress for society. An important part of this improvement process involves assessing the needs in various aspects of the instructional program and its operation, then evaluating the progress which results from improvement efforts.


The Changing Face of Teaching and Learning

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Among the impacts of radical change is fundamental uncertainty, a knot-in-the-stomach feeling that what we normally do might not work this time. Fundamental uncertainty makes it easy to visualize a youngster, standing at the chalkboard with his hands in his pockets, completely stumped by the problem before him.

To complicate matters further, fundamental uncertainty has a companion malady …… uncertainty of role. In addition to not knowing what to do, many are beginning to question whether we should be doing (or not doing) what we’re doing (or not doing).  Online learning and the role of teachers exacerbates uncertainty.

America’s schools are not immune to the forces of radical change and the uncertainty it’s causing. In fact, some school people appear numbed by the magnitude of the events driving radical change. Like the young student, they’re stuck at the chalkboard, uncertain of what to do next.  Online learning is a force that educators need to reckon with.  Coming from the outside in, it will radically change the way schooling has traditionally taken place.  Yet, coming from the inside, the promises online learning offer will not be recognized.


The Trick of Nines

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Is your child having trouble learning the “9″ times table? Here is a trick to help. Multiply any number by 9, and the answer will always add up to 9. Try it. 2 time 9 equals 18, and 1 plus 8 equals 9. 8 time 9 equals 72, and 7 plus 2 equals 9.

The trick works for very large numbers, as well, like this 8142 times 9 equals 73,278. 7 plus 3 plus 2 plus 7 plus 8 equals 27…and 2 plus 7 equals 9.

Give your child a calculator and let her try it for herself.

Safety on the Internet

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

We published this in our newsletter in 1999.  It is still relevant today.

The Internet is an excellent tool for students to use, but is it really safe? Every experience a child encounters contains some element of risk, but here are some guidelines to follow to insure a safe journey on the Internet without infringing on your child’s privacy.

Take pro-active action.Whenever possible, try to address issues before they become a problem. When your children begins to use the Internet, talk to your child about appropriate use of the Internet or install parental control software. Keep the computer in a well-trafficked area so you can monitor the activity without imposing too much into their privacy.

Parental Control Software

Filtering programs that block out inappropriate sites containing adult language, topics or graphics is one safeguard, but it is not the ultimate solution. Many browsers also contain screening software such as Cyberpatrol. These programs are effective in screening out the majority (but not all) of inappropriate material, however, if children are determined to access the material, they will find it somehow. These programs may also cause a delay in downloading websites that are appropriate since they must be “screened” first.

Discuss Your Concerns with Your Children

Discuss with your children the risks of the Internet. Have your children agree not to reveal any identifying information online including their last name, town, age or school. They should never agree to meet anyone online without your permission.

Use your children’s experiences on the Internet as a way to discuss what your child is interested in. Go online together and visit sites that are informative, fun and/or educational. Stay involved and explore the Web with them to familiarize yourself with the areas they visit regularly.

Stay informed