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Posts Tagged ‘web-based instruction’

The Promise of Online Learning

Friday, April 24th, 2015

We ran across an article yesterday that forced us to realize what we have known but not admitted for several years now….the potential that online learning offers has not been realized.  While there are some interesting and valuable programs being used in a piece meal fashion….none has changed the dynamic in the classroom  Why?  There are no doubt many reasons.  But consider that the classroom today looks much like it did in the industrial era…a group of students with one adult directing instruction.  Traditional classroom learning is just not sustainable in a world of rapidly changing information and technology.

Unfortunately, to date, online educational programs are emulating the traditional teaching learning process.  There is no one best way….but the technology today offers an opportunity to provide students and those who work with them a world class education no matter the situation.  We can communicate with friends and experts around the world; we can use gaming to motivate and engage students; we can capture teachable moments with live video; we can monitor student engagement; we can provide interesting lessons that capture all curricular subjects; we can taylor instruction based on student achievement; we can give students and educators choices for learning and instruction;  we can continue to allow educators to create and change online programs for their own classes;  we can incorporate audio and video with all learning; we can give students and parents opportunities to create their own learning programs; we can use digital groups and one to one sessions to create community;  we can align everything to standards for learning;  we can provide instantaneous report results of student learning  for parents and educators; we can maintain a level of excellence that demonstrates the potential of technology; and we can overlap and connect activities when needed.

I envision a program that uses all that technology offers to transform the way students learn today.  A tapestry of online learning techniques that students can select from and participate in to develop their own instructional program.  There is every reason for schools and educators to use the same program.   There is nothing new here….all exists….but it is not filtering into education and if it is, the pieces are not connected.  Good programs make up the bits and pieces we see in education but they are not changing things for students in the classroom.  Teachers still walk around the classroom checking student work, asking for student responses, doling out information….we can do better for our students.  We need to supplant not supplement education as we know it.

If we continue to supplement what we have done in the classroom for well over one hundred years, we will continue to lose those students who do not have access to the very best in teaching.  If we wish to save education for all students, then major changes must be considered.  Technology was to have changed the paradigm.  It hasn’t.  Now, we must.  Traditional classroom learning is just not sustainable in a world of rapidly changing information and technology.  We owe it to our students to shirk the trappings of the past and move toward industry standards of technology for teaching and learning.

Special Help in Test Taking

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Many students will soon be preparing for those annual tests that have become so much a part of the public school experience.  Different types of tests are tackled in different ways.  It is important for your child to recognize what kind of test it is and plan the right strategy.   Here are some special helps for your child to remember:

  • In a true/false test
    Everything in the statement must be true for the correct answer to be “true.”
    Watch for key words.  Always, never and only frequently point to a false answer.

    Sometimes, usually and typically tend to point to a true answer.

  • On a matching test
    Check first to see if you can use an answer more than once.  If not, be sure to mark off the answers as you use them.
  • On a multiple choice test
    Watch for qualifying phrases which can change the meaning such as:  the only, the last, which one is not an example of.
  • On an essay test
    Prepare for essay tests ahead of time by thinking of essay questions which might appear on the test.
  • Organize relevant information from the text that answers these questions.
  • Write out actual answers to your questions using as much detail as possible.
  • If your answers aren’t satisfactory, begin again.check.gif (1162 bytes)

Be sure you answer the specific question that is being asked.

Remember When

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

A computer was something on TV

from a science fiction show of note

a window was something you hated to clean…

And ram was the cousin of a goat….

Meg was the name of my girlfriend

and gig was a job for the nights

now they all mean different things

and that really mega bytes

An application was for employment

a program was a TV show

a cursor used profanity

a keyboard was a piano

Memory was something that you lost with age

a cd was a bank account

and if you had a 3 1/2″ floppy

you hoped nobody found out

Compress was something you did to the garbage

not something you did to a file

and if you unzipped anything in public

you’d be in jail for a while

Log on was adding wood to the fire

hard drive was a long trip on the road

a mouse pad was where a mouse lived

and a backup happened to your commode

Cut you did with a pocket knife

paste you did with glue

a web was a spider’s home

and a virus was the flu

I guess I’ll stick to my pad and paper

and the memory in my head

I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash

but when it happens they wish they were dead

Sent by Jamie Stauder

Importance of Accrediting Online Learning Programs

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Accreditation comes from the Latin word credito–meaning to trust since the late 1800’s. American schools and colleges have had their trustworthiness and quality validated through accreditation.  Recently some online educational programs have sought accreditation.  The value of being accredited is that the quality of the online instructional program  is validated through Self-Study and on-site evaluation by educational professionals.

˜Benefits to Students

  • Increased performance. Accreditation focuses the program on improving learning for all students. A six-year study of schools actively engaged in the accreditation process revealed that 79% made verifiable gains in student achievement.
  • Transfer of credits. In addition to raising student achievement, accreditation eases the transition of students as they move from an online program to another accredited school. The regional nature of accreditation allows a receiving school in the same or another state to assess the quality of the online learning program and accept the incoming student’s credits and academic record. This ease of transfer applies across the nation through reciprocal agreements between the regional accrediting agencies.
  • Access to programs and scholarships. Accreditation can also benefit web-based students as they participate in specific sports programs, apply for federal grants or scholarships, or pursue admission to colleges, technical schools, or military programs that require students to come from accredited schools.

˜Benefits to Parents and the General Public

Accreditation assures parents and the public that the program is focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching learning environment, and maintaining an efficient and effective operation. Accreditation extends across state lines, assuring parents and the public that the online learning adheres to high quality standards based on the latest research and successful professional practice.

˜Benefits to Educators

Accreditation provides the online instructional staff with a proven process for raising student achievement.  Educators benefit from multiple resources (publications, manuals, software, professional development, and conferences), all of which assist in educational improvement. In addition, educators gain access to a network of schools to share best practices and professional knowledge.  Educators gain valuable information about effective practices in other programs through participation on peer review teams. Through the accreditation process and resources, the online program improves its ability to analyze data and make sound educational decisions based on that data. Finally, accreditation provides program administrators with deserved recognition for going above and beyond the minimum to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to quality and to success for all

Misconceptions About Online Learning

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Current data is misleading, referring to any and all instruction that occurs via the Internet as “online learning” when much of the instruction is nothing more than scanned copies of materials used in the traditional classroom.  The term “online learning” has been muddied as those claiming to use the medium either do not understand the qualitative difference between traditional classroom instruction and online instruction, or they claim use of technology in order to fulfill administrative requirements for such, without providing authentic online instruction. Lack of  training for innovative, thoughtful, and creative use of technology often stymies effective teaching online.

Online education powerfully combines aspects of distance learning and open learning with the expertise of an experienced online instructor who guides the learning process. Distance learning is generally defined as any mode of learning where the study takes place wholly at home but the materials are still “physical,”  like books, cassettes, CD-ROMs, and videos.  Open learning takes place off site the majority of the time, but requires some infrequent attendance at a center. It includes mediums that are both physical and electronic. Online learning study takes place over the Internet, either live or via email lessons sent to the student’s inbox.

Current research would have us believe that the need for online learning is already being met, that K – 12 online learning is the direction education is already headed. Research states that seven hundred thousand students across the U. S. in grades K – 12 were enrolled in online learning in 2006, and 2007-2008 enrollment estimates were at 1,030,000 (Picciano & Seaman, 2009) and that K – 12 Internet-based education is growing by 30 to 47 percent each year (Newman, Stein, & Trask, 2003; Picciano & Seaman, 2007). “Forty four states have significant supplemental online learning programs, or significant full-time programs” (Watson, et al., 2008, p. 8). Other states are in the planning stages for online learning programs. Seventy one percent of school districts that currently offer distance education programs are planning to grow their programs in the next year (NCES, 2008).

While these statistics may be accurate, what is lacking is a clear definition of what online learning looks like in practice.  Defining online courses, as those that rely on eighty percent of instruction online is merely the first step in defining online education. We propose a definition that clarifies some of the misconceptions teachers, administrators, and students may have about online education. These include concerns that online instruction leaves the  teacher out of the educational process, that average or below-average performing students in traditional classrooms fare even more poorly in online courses, and that online courses are inferior to traditional classroom settings (Picciano & Seaman, 2009).

The model online instructional program provides the following:

  • The program meets National Goals for Learning in the areas of Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Science and is designed for students from kindergarten through grade twelve.
  • Each lesson module has several parts including an introduction, vocabulary, a lesson problem, statement of curricular standards, resources, study guide, activities, extended learning, and quizzes and exams.
  • An adequate number of lesson modules are provided to fulfill the instructional requirement for students.  These modules include a wide range of topics, informational web sites and interesting activities that help to create a unique learning experience.
  • The program provides immediate feedback to students and parents. Multiple choice questions follow each study guide to check for comprehension and understanding of concepts learned.
  • The program includes student and teacher/parent resources, discussion area, homework help, and unique email features.
  • Lesson modules are written by educators in multiple subject areas. Students can work at their own ability level and at their own pace. The lesson modules emphasize achievement in basic skills for learning.
  • The most important key to online learning is student success and students are more likely to succeed if the information is interesting and relevant for them.
  • The original content of the lesson modules apply to real life situations that students can relate to, such as, creating a budget or reviewing a movie.
  • The program is fully accessible through the Internet. There should be no plug-ins, or additional software with the program.
  • The depth of content, use of graphics, activities and inclusion of web sites make the typical online instructional program unique when compared to other educational programs and sites on the Internet.

Becoming an Online Tutor

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Make sure that the program you are considering offers the best in educational content, as well as services for educators and parents.  Another component that will provide the most innovative program is one that can be used anywhere there is Internet access without reliance on texts, workbooks or other ancillary materials or equipment.

Before you continue, can you answer the following questions?

  • Are you comfortable using the computer and internet applications?
  • Have you used internet-based templates in the past?
  • Are you creative and able to develop instructional content without aid?

To be considered for a tutoring position with most accredited and reliable online learning programs, applicants must provide the following:

Education

The best accredited programs require tutors to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Teacher certification is preferred, but not required.

Experience

Adequate experience in working with students of all ages in various capacities.

Writing Skills

Most online learning programs use templates to create assignments and or lessons for their students.  Therefore, applicants may be judged on their writing skills. You can practice using a template for writing lessons at Lesson Pro.  You may be asked to submit writing samples for different levels of students.

When using a template, make sure that all sections are complete.  You might find it helpful to write your sample in a text file or another document and then cut and past sections into the template.  Your writing sample may not guarantee a tutoring position.  Other qualifications are taken into consideration.  You can list your qualifications in a cover letter and most important in your resume.

TEN Ways to Make the Most of STUDY TIME!

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Relax a bit after school before doing homework. Then….

1. Find the best time to study

After school, after dinner…..homework should have a definite start and finish time. If the homework is finished early, the remaining time should be used to double-check and review.

2. The best place to study

Homework headquarters should be away from television,  phone, and other distractions. A writing surface and good light are necessities. A small table may be the best place for a young student, while a desk or table, even the floor or a bed, may work for an older student.

3. Be prepared

Have all the materials needed to complete assignments. Pencils, sharpener, eraser and paper for younger students, a pen, ruler, dictionary, thesaurus, and more may be necessary for older students.

4. Make a homework list

Make an easy two-part homework checklist:

______ List homework assignments in each class each day as they are made.

______ Check over the list at the end of the school day to make sure you have all the materials necessary to take home.

Show the assignment sheet to educators. They can help to see that you have everything to complete assignments at home.

5. Keep a homework calendar

Record due dates for major long-range assignments on a special calendar brings the task into focus. Work backwards, identifying all the steps along the way to completion of the assignment.

If a short paper is due on Friday, the last step is to write the final draft on Thursday.  The first step is to begin reading and note taking on Monday.

6. Study rhythms

Tackle the most difficult assignments when you are most alert and save easier tasks for off-peak times. Schedule several smaller segments of time for memorization. It is easier to learn in short stretches than at one long session. Try using an easier assignment as a break from something more difficult.

7. When you get stuck – Ask these questions…..

  • Have you read and followed directions carefully?
  • Are you taking short cuts that are confusing you?
  • Are you using your book properly?
  • Read the directions aloud….now do they make sense?
  • Have you tried making a picture, table, graph, or diagram to represent the known facts and relationships?
  • Have you tried to sold a similar, but less difficult problem?
  • Have you checked the glossaries, the table of contents or the indexes for help?
  • Did you copy the words or numbers correctly?
  • Are you trying to do too much of the work in your head?
  • Have you checked for careless mistakes?

Still stuck? Do other homework assignments for awhile. Go to learning program early and check with the educator. Remember…..educators want success from their students.

8. Ask for help

It is okay to ask for help. Ask parents, older brothers and sisters, just ask.

9. Take a break

Schedule one or more short breaks during the study time. Stretching the mind for an hour, calls for stretching the body for a few minutes. Do jumping jacks, play ping pong or the drums…..get up and move.

10. Book bag at bedtime

Create a fail-proof method for getting completed homework assignments to school on time. A good slogan is “homework goes in the book bag at bedtime.”

Monday, July 30th, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information, contact:

Dr. Martha Angulo, 877-687-7200

eTUTOR VIRTUAL LEARNING EARNS CONTINUING NCA-CASI ACCREDITATION

Boulder, CO – July 30, 2012– Dr. Martha Angulo, President of Knowledge Headquarters, Inc. parent organization, announced today that eTutor Virtual Learning earned continuing accreditation from the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), an accreditation division of AdvancED.  eTutor Virtual Learning has been accredited since 2002.

NCA CASI provides nationally-recognized accreditation, the purpose of which is continuous school improvement focused on increasing student performance.  To earn accreditation, schools must meet NCA CASI’s high standards, be evaluated by a team of professionals from outside the school, and implement a continuous process of school improvement.  Accreditation is granted on a five-year term,

“Accreditation demonstrates to our students, parents, and online community that we are focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching learning environment, and maintaining an efficient and effective operation staffed by highly qualified educators,” stated Dr. Angulo.

NCA CASI accreditation is recognized across state lines, which not only eases the transfer process as students move from accredited school to accredited school but also assures parents that the school is meeting nationally accepted standards for quality and successful professional practice.

Dr. Mark Elgart, President/CEO of AdvancED, the parent organization of NCA CASI, stated, “NCA CASI Accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire school on the primary goal of creating lifelong learners.  eTutor Virtual Learning is to be commended for engaging in this process and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement.”

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About KNOWLEDGE HEADQUARTERS, INC. and  ETUTOR VIRTUAL LEARNING

eTutor uses the Internet to deliver and manage student instruction, track assessments, provide opportunities for direct instruction by tutors, communicate, make assignments, and provide required curriculum materials and activities.  Over 10,000 students from around the world have benefited from the eTutor program since its inception. eTutor is the flagship program of Knowledge HQ, a corporate organization committed to enhancing education through Internet technology.  More information can be found at www.etutor.com.

About AdvancED and NCA CASI

Dedicated to advancing excellence in education through accreditation, research, and professional services, AdvancED is the world’s largest education community, serving and engaging over 27,000 public and private schools and districts in 69 countries and serving nearly 16 million students. AdvancED is the parent organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).   NCA CASI is a non-governmental, voluntary association of nearly 10,000 public and private elementary and secondary schools throughout the world.

Are There Different Kinds of Smart?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Not long ago, most viewed intelligence as a single quantity …an immutable, monolithic construct known as “intelligence quotient” or “IQ.”

Today we’re pretty sure that is wrong.  Thanks to Howard Gardner’s groundbreaking work and to corresponding developments in neurobiology, most experts now suspect there are at least several different kinds of intelligence.  Rather than a single quantity, intelligence is now largely seen as a grouping of capacities, each defined by Gardner as “an ability to solve a problem or fashion a product that is valued in one or more cultural settings.”

How many are there?  At last count, Gardner list 8 1/2 … Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Naturalist and half for Comedic Intelligence.

How many are likely to emerge?  Nobody really knows, but ultimately the question of precise numbers misses the point:  a more important question may be, “How do we use our many skills most effectively?”  And the answer seems to be.  “Use them often.”

Read More

Overcoming Conventional Wisdom

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

TowerFor centuries, people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all times and surely he could not be wrong. All it would have taken was for one brave person to take two objects, one heavy and one light, and drop them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one stepped forward until nearly 2000 years after Aristotle’s death. In 1589, Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the leaning Tower of Pisa. Then he went to the top and pushed off a ten-pound and a one-pound weight. Both landed at the same time. But the power of belief in the conventional wisdom was so strong that the professors denied what they had seen. They continued to say Aristotle was right.