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Posts Tagged ‘web-based learning’

Credit Recovery – Guides and Directs Student Learning

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

e-Tutor students say that online credit recovery courses have characteristics their teachers do not offer.  The online program is always available.  The program has a “patient” character and is nonjudgmental.  e-Tutor allows students to be anonymous and allows them to do many things at the same time.  e-Tutor aligns online information to the student’s learning program.

Tutors are all teachers who have been trained in online learning.  Tutors are available at times that are convenient for both student and tutor.

e-Tutor Credit Recovery Program includes Online Tutoring

  • Effective one-to-one learning
  • Direct contact with your tutor a minimum of one hour each week
  • ‘Talk” to your tutor 24/7 via email
  • Includes expanded access to e-Tutor lesson modules
  • Tutors emphasize skill building and reinforcement of concepts
  • Assignments aligned to e-Tutor lesson modules
  • Online communication and completion of assignments through the e-Tutor bulletin board/chat room
  • Parents have access to and can view assignments and tutor comments and grades

Plus: All of the features from the Regular eTutor Independent Study Program

  • Complete K-12 accredited curriculum
  • Interactive online lesson modules
  • Access from anywhere, at any time:
    All you need is a web browser
  • Special parent login allows progress tracking and report card generation
  • Automatically graded quizzes and exams

Numbers Don’t Lie?

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Numbers don’t lie….or so we are told. It can pay to be skeptical when you are given statistics and data. Ones to watch include:

  • The everything’s-going-up statistic. It is typically found in reports showing more people than ever are employed, are on welfare, etc. That’s right because there are more people than ever. More useful: The actual employment rate or the portion of the population receiving welfare.
  • The everything-is average statistic. Example: Someone argues that women can’t be combat soldiers because the average woman can’t lift as much weight as the average man. But many women can lift more weight than many men.
  • The best-fit statistic. Here the best numbers to support a case are used. Example: This year’s sales are compared with those of three years ago to show a 25 percent increase. They aren’t compared to higher sales two years ago, which would show a 10 percent drop.

How to get it right: Ask to see all of the numbers and make your own calculations.

Victor Cohn, Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA

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

Navigation! Graphics!

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Navigation! Graphics! Those two things are the name of the game in Internet websites. eTutor is proud of its graphics, which appeal to a diversity of students. We use cartoons, current baseball stars, accurate diagrams of the circulatory system, and photographs of Tasmanian Devils, to name just a few. Photos of the starry night sky show the position of Orion and the Pleiades. In a lesson on comets, there are actual photos of comets. For younger children, we use appealing graphic representation of tomatoes, bunnies, and clowns.

The graphics are important because they must catch — and HOLD — a student’s interest and imagination. We choose graphics that illustrate our lessons — sometimes precisely (as in the graphics of the brain in our science lessons), sometimes whimsically (an octopus to illustrate the eight parts of speech.) Consistently, users tell us that our graphics are one of their favorite features.

Sample pictures from E-Tutor lessons. Clikck here to take a quick tour of E-Tutor.

The second important part of a Website is the navigation. How easy is it? eTutor requires you to know two things to be able to navigate it. First, the “BACK” button does not work. When parents and teachers want their students using eTutor, a prime concern is that students stay within that website. We guarantee our sites are 100% secure. By NOT using the “BACK” button (and instead closing windows by clicking in the top right or left hand corner), students are kept “within”  eTutor. It is easy for teachers and students to learn this and adjust to this in our website. Second, we use the “scroll” feature frequently. We want eTutor to load quickly and accurately. By loading the lesson all at once, and using the scroll feature (or clicking on the Index), students have very little to learn in terms of navigation. Students can click on the area they want to go to —”Study Guide”, for example — or scroll through the whole lesson. Either way,  eTutor provides an illustrative trip through education!



Safety Tips for Parents and Children Using the Internet

Friday, November 30th, 2012
  • Keep the computer in a main area of the home, not in your child’s bedroom. The computer should be set up where it is easy for parents to see the screen and monitor behavior.
  • Spend time with your children while they explore the Internet. Let your child know that you care and that you intend to participate.
  • Keep your children out of unmonitored chat rooms. The best Internet filtering software blocks access to all chat to keep children safe from the threat of dangerous persons, masquerading as kids.
  • Become familiar with the quality family-friendly and kid-friendly sites on the Web. Load your computer with bookmarks to sites, such as www.homeschoolingingcorner.com, www.e-tutor.com and www.knowledgehq.com. These sites offer both great educational and entertaining information for children that allows them to explore safely and will discourage wandering.
  • Know your child’s e-mail password and tell your children to inform you immediately about troubling, unsolicited e-mail. Make sure they understand it is not necessarily their fault if such e-mail arrives.
  • Inform your kids of personal information that should never be given out over the Internet without your consent; telephone numbers, address, credit card numbers, name of school, age, financial information, etc.
  • Stay abreast of technology and regulatory changes regarding Internet safety.
  • Take advantage of the Web filtering software available in the marketplace. These block access to inappropriate sites related to sex, drugs/alcohol, hate and violence and gambling.
  • Let your child know that you are there to talk anytime, about anything they come across that may cause discomfort.
  • It is important to review these tips from time to time to ensure these guidelines are being implemented.

Online Learning – Changing OUr View of Schooling

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The other day a neighbor visited me while I was working in the garden. She wanted to talk about the changes occurring at the local school. Comparing the education she and her husband received with that her children were receiving, she had determined that they were getting an excellent education. Both parents were pleased their children were learning “so much more” than they had.

I had to agree with my friend, that we most often use our own schooling as a standard of measurement for our children’s schooling. I certainly did when my children were young. But is this the best measure for quality in education? I asked the neighbor to consider how the world had changed, in the time since she was in school, and the amount of information we and our children have at our finger tips. It seems reasonable to assume that our children would, and should, be learning a great deal more of the information that took us years to assimilate. For the most part, children today begin school having access to more information than their parents had. By the time a child has completed one year of schooling that information has almost doubled. When I was in school it took many years for information to change. This provided me and those of my generation a certain consistency with learning information that is not available today. Therefore, I’m not certain that the same paradigms for learning, that served my neighbors and me, are adequate for today’s student.

This need to assimilate so much information makes the teaching learning process even more challenging.  The Internet offers the opportunity for students to work at their own level, at their own pace, on topics that are of personal interest.  Our work is a continuing effort to assist those we serve to understand and adapt their instructional programs by offering choices for personal learning.

Web-based, online learning gives students a unique opportunity to explore learning and gain knowledge at their own level.  Online learning offers a way to stay ahead of the information tide of an expanding knowledge base.  Students do not need to be time bound by their learning program.   Online learning can offer real-time learning in a vast number of subjects and topics for individual instruction. The best online learning programs will provide students and parents the flexibility necessary for true knowledge to take place.   We know that what we learned in school is not enough for the future of our children.  We have a responsibility to provide programs that offer skills and tools the students can use to ensure a successful future.

In this regard home schooling is reinventing the idea of school.  The integration of knowledge is a personal process, rather than a social process.  By viewing school not so much as a place, but the act of learning, those who home school have forced us to look at a new paradigm for schooling.  These parents recognize that acquiring knowledge does not need to be a group activity but is often more effective as an individual activity.  They know that how they learned is not the best method of learning for their children. Home schooling parents use varied approaches in teaching their children. Many have added online curricular programs to provide a new avenue of learning for their children.

How we learned and what we learned are not adequate measures of education for our children today. When I hear about educators who continue to teach the way they have for many years, it concerns me. The tried and true paradigms of the past, that served us well, that prepared us for a successful future, are not adequate today. We all have to try harder to challenge our own methods of educating and of evaluating schooling.

High School Students Meet With Success Online

Monday, November 12th, 2012
Choosing a strong online instructional program at the high school level is a challenge. Parents and students need to find a virtual program that offers an accredited diploma and provides academic support for students from a certified staff.

Whether looking to catch up, are unable to attend school for medical reasons, are pursuing a GED or simply want a quality high school education, the combination of an accredited curriculum with online tutors ensures a quality education that is recognized across the nation.

While we believe that this is a winning formula, online instruction is different from traditional schooling in some important ways. There is no driving to campus and fighting for a parking space, because students aren’t meeting in a classroom at a regular time and place. Communication with the tutor will take place online, not in person. Without an instructor reminding the student of what is due in class each week, the student will have more responsibility for their own learning. Students will need basic computing skills and convenient access to the Internet.

The skills the high school student needs most to be a successful online learner are the same ones needed in traditional schooling: preparation, organization and self-discipline. The difference is in how these are applied.  The best programs are designed to help students get the most out of their online instructional program.

As an online learner, there are things the student can do to make their learning a successful, rewarding experience. Some are common sense, like being prepared and getting work done on time, while others are less intuitive but important. The following may help the student get the most out of an online learning experience.

Get Comfortable

Spend time at the computer and on the Internet everyday, getting comfortable with the equipment and surroundings. Practice computing skills until confident the online instruction can be fully completed.

Be Prepared

Read instructional material carefully. What activities need to be completed? When are assignments due? How can the student contact the tutor? How can the student get help if needed? Mark important dates on a calendar.

Plan Ahead

Read the instructional guides and handbooks before starting the program. Practice using the online program.  Find out if the computer, to be used, has a firewall. Will it prevent the student from accessing particular web sites or using browser plug-ins to view resources included in the instructional program? Learn how to get around before starting, so that connecting to learning is easy and ready for the learner.

Get Organized

Set aside a significant amount of time each week for online learning. We recommend at least twenty hours. Online learning requires as much time and effort as regular schooling. Develop a schedule and stick to it. Without the structure of weekly class meetings, the student may be tempted to put off assignments and instruction until the last minute. Instead, the student should give himself extra time to do the work, because technology can slow down the process.

Be Dependable

Without an instructor and fellow students nearby to offer help and support, the student will be relying on himself more than ever. One way, is to use the resources that are available in most programs, including online help, tutorials, handbooks and the Internet. Another is to monitor progress by knowing where the student is in each subject; which assignments have been completed? Which lay ahead?

Develop Good Habits

One way to be a successful online learner is to develop good habits early. Email will be the main form of communication in most programs. Get into the habit of checking email at least once a day.

Online Instructional Framework

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
Online instruction should  focus on relevant and interesting topics emphasizing basic skills with content that applies to real-life situations which students can relate to, such as creating a budget or reviewing a movie.
The e-Tutor lesson modules, consist of nine parts followed by an assessment section, which contains quizzes and an exam.
  1. Introduction – a brief statement explaining the topic of the lesson.
  2. Grade Level – e-Tutor lessons are cross-aged at Primary, Intermediate, Middle/Jr. High, and High School.
  3. Lesson Goals – goals and objectives are modeled after national and state learning standards in the major subject areas.
  4. Resources – links to quality education web sites where students can find information to reinforce or expand upon the information given in the Study Guide.
  5. Lesson Problem – setting the stage for learning by posing a question(s) to be answered in completing the lesson.
  6. Vocabulary – enriched vocabulary words new to students are hyper-linked to dictionaries on the Internet.
  7. Study Guide – the main body of each lesson contains information on basic skills and concepts that students need to be successful learners.
  8. Activities – worksheets, experiments, projects that give the student practice in what s/he has learned.
  9. Extended Learning – additional thought provoking activities that stimulate logical thinking, creative reasoning and critical thinking.

Each section of the learning modules (Resources, Vocabulary, Study Guide, Activities, and Extended Learning) contributes to the learning process in a unique way.  These modules, interesting topics and colorful graphics, make the online instructional program effective and inviting to the student.  With the use of many valuable online educational resources, no place in the world is more than a few mouse clicks away.

For example, in a lesson module that investigates the giant pandas, the student learns about the pressing problem of saving the endangered animal by connecting to the World Wildlife Funds where the giant panda is one of the top ten most endangered species.  The student is later linked to a map of China to study the native terrain of the pandas and to the San Diego Zoo for information about panda research.  In this engaged learning environment, the students routinely take virtual field trips to every corner of the earth from the computer.

Online students are not time-stressed.   A well-developed online instructional program can help students focus on learning, instead of time, by assisting the learner to manage information, by providing resources, and by being “open” 24 hours a day.   This method of learning encourages students to learn by doing, simulating the real world situation.

Tech Savvy Students Ready for Online Learning

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

According to research eighty-seven percent of all youth between the ages of 12 and 17 use the Internet.  This is a familiar medium for young learners today, one which has already captured students’ interest. Students enter an online program with a sense of confidence with the medium. Outdated technology programs and tools will turn these techno-savvy students away from online learning, so online programs need to be on the cutting edge.

Online instruction for k-12 students is still in its infancy and educators are just beginning to recognize its value. America’s young people have embraced the computer and the Internet as their own. Half of all students age eight or older use the computer every day and nearly seventy-five percent have a computer at home. Students use the Internet for information gathering, email, and chat. Internet-based learning is a natural extension of their use of the Internet and online learning programs can provide focus and guidance to increase students’ natural need to learn (Angulo, 2001).  Quality programs provide all instructional material, give immediate feedback, facilitate use of email, and monitor programs like Twitter and Facebook to create forums for online communities.

Web-based instruction encourages students to share their work, providing a safe and familiar environment to do so. Students’ familiarity with the medium fosters feelings of competence and self-confidence.  Online learning additionally provides educators the opportunity to guide students to quality information on the Internet. Students learn how to use critical thinking skills to become even more skilled in navigating the wealth of information available on the Internet.

Eight Standards Guide Internet-Based Learning

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Online Instructional Model

An effective online instructional program integrates innovative, research-based components.  eTutor began conducting research in the fall of 1997 and determined that online instructional programs should be guided by the following standards:

  1. Instructional lesson format needs to be consistent
  2. Immediate feedback is necessary for both student and parent
  3. Instruction should be customized to student progress
  4. Parents need to be part of the teaching-learning program
  5. Instruction should be linked to National and State Learning Goals
  6. Appropriate Internet links need to be an integral part of each instructional lesson
  7. Instructional lessons should be available to students from grades K – 12
  8. Students should learn the value and appropriate use of the Internet while completing instructional lessons

Beginning in 1998, eTutor established a new, higher standard for delivering fully integrated, superior learning over the Internet for grades K through 12.  eTutor accomplishes this by incorporating the best of current instructional practice with the power of the latest internet technology.