Tag Archives: cyber school

April 2015

April 2015 Virtual and Online School News

Presented by Mark Sivy, Ed.D.

Study of Online Passing Rates in Michigan Suggests That Online Learning Is Not For Everyone (Keeping Pace)

In this post I review more deeply one key aspect of the study: the rates at which students are passing online courses, and implications for how online courses and schools are made…

Supporting Teachers in Using Online Inquiry-Based Games (Next Gen Learning Blog)

As part of a pilot project, we’ve been working with teachers to implement The Radix Endeavor in their classrooms. The Radix Endeavor is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) developed at the MIT Education Arcade; it is designed to improve…

Inquiry-based Learning

Online regulation bill quickly killed (Chalkbeat Colorado)

This year’s proposal to change the regulation of online schools that operate across multiple districts was killed Monday by…

The Instructor Role in the Virtual Classroom (Virtual School Leadership Alliance)

For many, the virtual classroom is difficult to understand without first-hand experience. It is true that a virtual classroom does not have walls, rows of desks or an end-of-class bell, but…

It Really Is Different: Observing Online Teachers in an Asynchronous Environment (Virtual School Leadership Alliance)

As states adopt teacher observation protocols and frameworks to observe and evaluate teachers, such as the Danielson Group’s “Framework for Teaching,” educational leaders are determining how the process for observing online teachers is…

Michigan Study Provides Detailed Online Learning Data; Shows Student Attributes and Growth in Online Enrollments (Keeping Pace)

The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute, which is a center at the Michigan Virtual University®, has recently released its latest Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report. The study reviews virtual learning in Michigan during school year 2013-14. The report provides summary information showing…

Michigan Virtual University

Anyone Can Be a Teacher at Skillshare, an Online School (The New York Times)

Susan Orlean was considering giving up teaching. She had taught courses at New York University and at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College but was finding it difficult to maintain a…


Virtual Learning News – August 2014

Virtual Learning News – August 2014

by Mark Sivy

Here are this month’s news highlights related to virtual learning.

Online school programs growing, despite challenges (The Greenville News)

virtual learning newsAs thousands of Upstate children hopped in big yellow school buses and headed off to big brick schoolhouses last week, the state’s virtual schools hit the “on” button and booted up another year of cyber education. South Carolina was ahead of the curve six years ago when its first three online schools…

Rural Yukon schools going online in bid to improve learning (CBC News)

Three more Yukon schools are changing the way they deliver courses, following a pilot project in Watson Lake. Yukon Education is investing in a program called blended learning. It allows students to pursue online courses offered through Moodle: an open source website…

First day at Dugger / Union as part of online charter school (Tribune-Star)

Kyle Foli hugged his daughter, Kyndall, as she prepared to enter Dugger/Union school as a high school freshman. It was just after 7:30 a.m., and they had joined about 80 other people to pray around a flagpole and launch a new year – and a new era. Dugger/Union school is now a campus of Indiana Cyber Charter School…

Access, activity, and outcomes in digital learning (Keeping Pace with K-12 and Blended Learning)

Virtual school newsAs we are nearing completion of writing Keeping Pace 2014, we’ve been thinking quite a bit about the different lenses through which to consider the digital learning landscape. Among the words that best describes the landscape is uneven. Three of the key elements of digital learning that may be described as uneven are access, activity, and outcomes…

Berkeley County schools to offer online learning (Post and Courier)

Brick-and-mortar classrooms will no longer be the only learning space available to Berkeley County students. The Berkeley County School Board voted 6-0 to approve a new district policy allowing online learning. The online learning program is through the state’s VirtualSC, which serves kindergarten through 12th grade….

Virtual school’s enrollment on rise (The McPherson Sentinel)

A growing number of Kansas students no longer have to attend school to be enrolled in school. The Smoky Valley School district created its virtual school to provide students with educational opportunities outside of the traditional classroom. Since the school opened in 2005, it has continued to develop an online curriculum that appeals…
Virtual Schools: A Flexible Option for Students (KTVT –TV)

NewspaperMost students spend the first day of school finding their locker or their home room. But Tristin Thomas spent his first day of 8th grade at home, logging into his virtual classroom. “We’re just going to look around the live lesson room,” Thomas told his teacher online as he scrolled around a home page…

Online Courses Offer PHS Students another ‘Choice’ (The Prescott News)

The motto for the Prescott Unified School District is “The Smart Choice,” and at Prescott High School the word ‘choice’ has been truly embraced. With high academic standards, college dual enrollment opportunities, athletics and numerous extracurricular activities, PHS offers their students…

Virtual Learning News – July 2014

Virtual Learning News

by Mark Sivy

Virtual Learning News

Here are some highlights and links to what was reported in July 2014 concerning virtual schooling and online courses:

Virtual School Offers 48 Courses for High School Credit – As an approved Supplemental Course Academy provider, the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts Virtual School offers 48 online high school and Advanced Placement courses to any middle and high school student in Louisiana for high school credit….

A Virtual Analysis – A new analysis of four blended-format courses taught last fall offers practical guidance for faculty members interested in fresh pedagogical approaches…

Educators at California’s Largest Virtual Charter School Choose to Form Teachers Union – A clear majority of educators employed by the California Virtual Academies (CAVA), an online charter school affiliated with K12, Inc., have signed petitions to join the California Teachers Association (CTA)…

Extra: Illinois Virtual School Looks to Expand OfferingsIllinois Virtual School stayed out of the fray this spring when a political fight broke out over creating a new virtual charter school in the western Chicago suburbs…

Use a Personal Learning Network to Keep Up With Instructional Technology – Given the pace and breadth of technology innovation these days, keeping up with the latest in instructional technology is difficult to do alone, especially if you’re not sure where to begin…

Ghosts, Stars, and Learning Online: Analysis of Interaction Patterns in Student Online Discussions – Discussions are commonly used in online teaching and have been shown to foster student learning and collaboration. This case study uses content analysis to explore the interaction patterns of student online discussions during a semester-long teacher preparation course using concepts from sociometry…

University Virtualisation in Latin America – This article analyses the process by which higher education in Latin America is being digitalised, and how it is radically changing the educational dynamics in the region. The incorporation of digital technology implies a transformation of traditional distance education and the creation of new distance education dynamics…

Students’ Learning Behavior, Motivation and Critical Thinking in Learning Management Systems – Computer mediated communication (CMC) offers new opportunities for learners to create communities of inquiry that allow for more active learning…

Peer Learning in Virtual Schools – This article is about peer-to-peer learning amongst students within K–12 virtual schools. This issue is examined through a case study of experiences of three students with disabilities enrolled in one virtual school and that of their parents, teachers, and school administrators…

NMC And Cosn Release The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 K-12 Edition – The NMC and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), with the support of HP, are releasing the NMC Horizon Report 2014 K-12 Edition at a special session at the 2014 NMC Summer Conference in Portland, Oregon. This sixth K-12 edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in education…

Reflection Point – “There are two fundamental equalizers in life – the Internet and education.” ~ John Chambers

Virtual School Leader Development

Recommendations for Virtual School Leader Preparation

by Mark Sivy

Based upon the outcomes of my recently completed virtual school leadership study, recommendations are made for:

  1. Continued research
  2. Development of leadership standards
  3. Creation of leadership preparation and development opportunities
  4. Application of current findings to leadership practice

To continue the work started by this dissertation research, additional virtual school leadership study is recommended. The initial focus should be further study of virtual school leadership to discover remaining factors or factor details that influence the role. It is then suggested to broaden the scope of study to produce generalizable findings for the field of virtual school leadership. These findings would be inclusive of and applicable to state-led virtual schools (e.g., Florida Virtual School and Michigan Virtual School), charter virtual schools (e.g., Wisconsin’s Online Charter School), online school consortia, commercially-backed virtual schools (such as those using K-12), and other virtual learning endeavors.

virtual school leadershipIt is then recommended that the study of the virtual school leadership role be complemented by the development of a vetted and accepted compilation of virtual school leadership standards. The standards should be developed in association with a professional organization such as the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).

With standards in place, the next recommendation is the design and creation of comprehensive certification agendas, higher education programs, and professional development programs. These learning opportunities should be based upon research, practice, and standards and be created in a manner that ensures virtual school leaders develop knowledge and abilities through meaningful rhetoric, critical thinking exercises, and case study analyses. It is suggested that the development of these offerings include broad input and review from stakeholders, subject matter experts, existing leaders, and national professional organizations.

It is advocated that certification agendas and professional development programs be crafted to provide comprehensive leadership preparation that addresses all the themes presented in this study. These should be supplemented by ongoing communities of practice and support. In addition to the inclusion of central topics, professional development offerings should also include special topics as they arise, panel discussions, case presentations, and content for other levels of virtual school administration and leadership.

With the understanding that currently there is a relatively small group of individuals who would be interested in virtual school leadership, at least one graduate level course that introduces virtual instructional leadership should be offered in higher education programs at larger institutions. This overview course would benefit individuals who are in a variety of roles, from the leader of a traditional school offering online courses to the leader of a virtual school to individuals who are in other leadership roles associated with online learning.

virtual school leaderRealizing that online and virtual education and virtual schools are rapidly expanding and reaching a critical mass, the next recommendation is for the creation of a national center for virtual school studies at a higher education institution. This center would take the lead in the study of virtual school theory and practice including, but not limited to, leadership. Based upon the work of this center and other researchers, a graduate program offering a specialization in virtual school leadership should be created.

Individuals who are currently interested in becoming a virtual school leader should seek membership in professional organizations, read existing academic literature on virtual schools and virtual leadership, and take advantage of networking opportunities with current virtual school leaders. Virtual school employees who are considering advancement into a leadership position within their virtual school should inquire about succession planning. For purposes of support, documentation, and ongoing development, it is suggested for existing leaders to create a formal consortium or collaborative organization that is open to leaders from various online and virtual school efforts.

Reflection Point – A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. ~Lao Tzu

Virtual School News

 Announcing my new blog – Virtual School News

by Mark Sivy

<img src="image.gif" alt="Virtual School" />My dissertation in now complete and will soon be published, bringing an end to a long doctoral program journey for this mid-career professional-gone-student. The short version of the rationale for taking this life-altering path was to gain a breadth and depth of knowledge, research skills, and theoretical perspective that would augment many years of practical experience in educational technology, e-learning, and educational leadership. It’s now time to regroup and put this wealth of abilities, wisdom, and education to good use.

Did I accomplish what I expected? Yes and more! On the surface I knew I was pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership with a specialization in instructional systems technology. Done! Then there was the strengthening of self-motivation, self-esteem, self-efficacy and indomitable character that enabled the completion of years of coursework and research, all while moving into an unknown future. Made it! Studies included organizational theory, advanced instructional design, policy, learning theory, educational technology, instructional systems, leadership, research design, and more. Suited my desires and needs! Then came the freedom to explore educational innovations and technological trends in the areas of e-learning, online professional development, virtual school ecosystems, and virtual school leadership. Icing on the cake!

So, now what? Well, I’d been thinking about creating a blog for virtual school news (which includes cyber schools, online school programs, and such) as a way to share what I’ve learned and will yet discover. Since I have many other interests and curiosities, I decided to create the following blogs in addition to Virtual School News:

<img src="image.gif" alt="Virtual School" />

As I mentioned, I’ve used this post as a common introduction to all my blogs and after this point they shall each set sail in their own direction. The destinations are many, with several being charted, others pursuing intriguing trends, and some going where the winds might blow. So now onward with these journeys…this one being on virtual school news.

Reflection Point – I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking, And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.  ~ First stanza of Sea Fever by John Masefield