Tag Archives: Mark Sivy

January 2015 News

January 2015 News

Presented by Mark Sivy

Personalized LearningDuluth’s Online High School Gives Students Flexibility (Duluth News Tribune)

When Deb Halver began teaching 30 years ago, the technology discussion was about whether students should be allowed to use calculators in their math classes and the best way to clean an overhead projector sheet. Her students now learn their math lessons entirely from online curriculum…

This Will Revolutionize Education (Keeping Pace)

The YouTube video This Will Revolutionize Education explores education technology, explaining how numerous earlier predictions of technology revolutionizing education have not panned out, and suggests that most current predictions will be wrong…

2015 Predictions: Competency-Based Ed to Grow, Debt Could Topple Some Schools (Campus Technology)

Online learning will grow this year, but only modestly; more colleges and universities will test out competency-based assessment; and education technology will continue expanding as an industry, driven by investment capital. Those are three of the predictions…

NC Must Take Care in Adapting to the Digital Classroom (&newsobserver.com)

…educators in North Carolina are inexorably marching toward abandoning traditional books as the standard medium of instruction. In March 2013, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill initiating a transition…

How Asia is Emerging as the World’s Edtech Laboratory (edSurge)

If the US is the world’s education technology leader, Asia is fast becoming its most critical testing ground. The reasons are unambiguous: Asia has the…

Postsecondary Trending Now: Personalized Learning in K-12 (Next Generation)

In K-12, there’s a growing network of schools that are looking to personalized learning strategies to improve student success. They are breaking the mold of traditional schools and reimagining what learning could look like when each student has a personalized experience. A report…

MOOCs in 2014: Breaking Down the Numbers (edSurge)

At TechCrunch Disrupt this year, Coursera Co-Founder Daphne Koller claimed that 2014 is the year MOOCs will come of age. An ecosystem has now developed around MOOCs: hundreds of people employed full-time…

Education: ‘More turning’ to online learning (The Yorkshire Post)

Business, health and language are among the most popular subject areas for “massive open online courses” – known as MOOCs – offered through a UK-based “hub” and women are more likely to join than men. The statistics come from…


Reflection Point – “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~Nelson Mandela


Online Learning News – Sept 2014

September 2014

by Mark Sivy

MOOCDon’t Dismiss MOOCs – We Are Just Starting To Understand Their True Value (Science 2.0)

Over the past couple of years, massive open online courses (MOOCs) have taken the academic world by storm. Despite much debate about whether the idea of running free online courses for everyone is both a good and cost-effective idea…

Log on and learn: The tech geeks working to transform Africa’s education (CNN)

Fresh faced and full of energy, five recent graduates sit around the conference room table. They all hail from a different African country, and they all have big dreams about revamping education in their continent for a digital era. These are the headquarters…

State education board eyeing Hancock ‘Cyber Academy’ online curriculum (Charleston Daily Mail)

The West Virginia Board of Education is closely monitoring online courses being offered to students in Hancock County with hopes it can replicate the program statewide if it becomes successful. In response to several students withdrawing from the school system and enrolling in online schools located in neighboring states…

blended learningBLENDED: A Conversation With Michael Horn & Heather Staker (Getting Smart)

Team Christensen is out with an updated implementation guide to blended learning. “BLENDED: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools” (out November 3) suggests that “Innovating is a process, not an event.” Their new resource lays out that process in a useful level of detail making it a must read for educators…

Mentor Schools plan for new blended, online learning initiatives (The News-Herald)

Mentor Schools has begun to strategize improvements to the district, thanks to a recent grant from Ohio’s Straight A Fund. At the regular meeting of the Mentor School Board Sept. 9, Michael Lynch, director of Straight A initiatives, provided an update to board members and the public on how the district plans to use the funds…

Enrollment Grows at Online School Based in Manistee (WWTV 9 & 10 News)

An online school based in Manistee is seeing substantial growth this school year. The Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy serves students across the state and has nearly tripled in size in just two years. The academy is part of the Manistee ISD, and it’s giving them an impressive enrollment boost…

Virtual Schooling and Student Learning: Evidence from the Florida Virtual School (Harvard Kennedy School research article)

Virtual schooling is rapidly gaining a foothold in K-12 education in the United States. In 2012-13, 30 states had multi-district, fully online schools with enrollment of about 310,000 students, and 26 states had state virtual schools with over 740,000 course enrollments…

Reflection Point – “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” ~Albert Einstein

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

Administrator Research

Exploratory Study of the Leadership Characteristics of a Virtual School Administrator

Call For Participants

A doctoral candidate at NOVA Southeastern University’s Department of Education is looking for individuals to participate in an research study that will look at the Leadership Characteristics of a Virtual School Administrator. This study will be paramount in determining the leadership and management skills an individual will need to successfully govern in a virtual learning environment and the beneficiaries of this study will include stakeholders such as the next generation of virtual school administrators, human resources, and policy makers.

Virtual schoolThey are looking for individuals that meet the following criteria:

1. Over 18 years old.
2. Administrator of a virtual school community (i.e. Principals, Directors, CEOs).
3. Bachelors or Graduate Degree.
4. Professional experience in the field of education.

As a participant you will be asked to participate in a short fifteen (15) minutes interview (in person, telephone, or via Skype). Please note information given by all participants will be coded and kept confidential.


If you’re interested in participating and are a member of iNACOL, please log into the Member Forum and find this under General Announcements. If you’re not a member, please enter a comment and I’ll find a way for you to contact the researcher. Thanks.


Virtual School Effectiveness

Michigan Virtual School Course Effectiveness

by Mark Sivy

The effectiveness of virtual learning for K-12 students was studied and presented In a recent report from the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute™ (MVLRI™), a division of Michigan Virtual University (MVU). Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report indicates that virtual course enrollments in the Michigan Virtual School have seen rapid growth, increasing from 89,921 in 2010-2011 to 185,053 in 2012-2013. This report was prepared at the request of the Michigan Legislature to examine the overall impact of virtual courses on K-12 students

Mike Flanagan, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, stated “It is very helpful to see the data that schools are required to submit for virtual enrollments being turned into useful information that can help impact instruction and policy in Michigan.” Jamey Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of MVU, adds “The data suggest that students with lower academic success in traditional classroom environments are more often directed to virtual learning options. I am surprised that schools are not doing more to guide students with demonstrated success as independent learners into virtual learning options.”

Michigan Virtual School

Michigan Virtual School is a division of Michigan Virtual University

The researchers, Dr. Joe Freidhoff (Executive Director of MVLRI), Kristen DeBruler, and Kathryn Kennedy, concluded:

  • There are inherent issues in the reporting of data that could lead to an inaccuracy in the current findings.
  • The current process that’s in place for the collection of state data at the school level is not producing sufficient data to be able to have a definitive understanding of what does and doesn’t work.
  • The data that does exist has resulted in mixed outcomes, indicating virtual course successes and weaknesses.

Please visit THE Journal’s article to read about David Nagel’s views on the report

To view the full report >>