Tutoring in a flat world
Best Free Online Learning Platforms: Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat is all about what is happening now that the digital revolution has made it possible to work instantaneously with people on the other side of the world. One of these possibilities is posted at Wired News and describes the link between 12-year-old Princeton in Glenview, IL and his math tutor, Kayampurath Namitha in Cochin, India:
- Princeton sometimes struggles with math;
- Kayampurath helps him twice a week;
- Princeton’s doing better in math;
- He’s happy, his parents are happy; and
- Computers and networks make it happen.
Simple. End of story. Except for the implications. My first thoughts are:
- If education in the US has become “pass the test” and the tests are the way they are now, why not?
- Teacher shortage? What teacher shortage?
- What value-added do classroom teachers provide over Kayampurath who earns about $230/month? I’m not saying there isn’t any, but we better start making this very clear and evidence-based very quickly.
vSKOOL Blog LaunchesNow available at the vSKOOL site is the *new* vSKOOL blog. The vSKOOL blog will post news items and events related to serving students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as vSKOOL consortium events, activities, and updates.
The vSKOOL blog offers RSS syndication. Point your newsreaders here to pick up the feed and stay in touch with vSKOOL related-news. We’ve also placed an XML button on the site itself. For those unfamiliar with RSS feeds and their virtues, this same link will take you to a page with additional information and details on how you can take advantage of this service. Douglas Levin (Cable in the Classroom)
VSKOOL, a creative response to Hurricane Katrina
There’s a movement afoot to provide virtual courses and/or tutoring to students who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Check out VSKOOL, sponsored by Cable in the Classroom, NACOL, and the SIIA. Kudos to these organizations for their creative response to a horrible situation…Scott McLeod
Technology and Distance Learning in Rural Settings
From Why Rural Matters 2019 comes the following policy recommendation:
“Distance learning is one strategy that has proven to be effective in ensuring that schools and districts are able to provide rich curricula without restructuring and uprooting students and communities. If rural schools and communities are to take advantage of the benefits offered by technology, they must have financial and policy assistance in developing and maintaining the kind of technology infrastructure, interlocal cooperation, and program coordination that will support the use of distance learning among clusters of rural schools.”
Other nuggets can be found therein on what needs to happen to ensure that rural communities are able to take the best advantage of online learning opportunities. Worth a gander for those interested in the intersection of rural education and technology.Douglas Levin (Cable in the Classroom)
ON-LINE PHY ED
From the Public Education Network (PEN): PUBLIC SCHOOLS BEGIN TO OFFER GYM CLASSES ON-LINE
The nation’s public schools are rushing to reconfigure scores of traditional courses from basic composition to calculus so students can take them via the Internet. One of the unlikely new offerings in this vast experiment is online gym, reports Sam Dillon. Sound like an oxymoron? Not in Minneapolis, where a physical education course joined the school district’s growing on-line catalog in the spring and already has a waiting list. See http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/02/education/02gym.html.Mary Mehsikomer
Alliance for Virtual Schools
The Southern Regional Education Board and the BellSouth Foundation are launching a new initiative to help states focus on key policy issues related to online learning, including quality online courses, quality teachers, and funding. The goal of the alliance is to help member states increase students’ access to quality academic courses through state-supported virtual schools. Scott McLeod
Coming Soon: Windward
Windward: Outsmart the Weather in a Race Around the World will launch late summer 2005 as the third in a series of award-winning and FREE online learning objects from Cable in the Classroom created to show the educational power of broadband technology and dynamic cable content.
Being developed in partnership with NASA, Discovery Education, and The Weather Channel, this online, interactive game is designed to teach middle school students about the science of weather as they sail in a virtual race around the world. The site will include helpful sections for teachers and parents that will give ideas for using Windward at school and at home. For a sneak peek, view the movie-like trailer here.
Others in this series include Shakespeare: Subject to Change (which explores media literacy concepts in this high-quality exploration of Shakespeare’s works) and eLECTIONS: Your Adventure in Politics (which offers real-world insight into the nation’s electoral process through a virtual run for the presidency).Douglas Levin (Cable in the Classroom)
Minnesota Online High School (Online Learning Platforms)
From the Center for Digital Education:
MINNEAPOLIS/WORLDWIDE/May 27, 2005 — Minnesota Online High School (MNOHS), a new public school opening in September, will offer free online courses taught by licensed Minnesota teachers to students throughout the state. The school will begin by serving students in grades 11 and 12 and will expand in future years to include grades nine and ten. MNOHS is unique among online schools. In addition to offering high quality, interactive courses, MNOHS is a full-service high school offering a wide range of student and parent support services.
Read the rest of the press release that includes a video. You can also visit the Minnesota Online High School website.
NACOL Webinar (Online Learning Platforms)
Learn from Pam Bartolo, a United States pioneer in online learning, in NACOL’s latest webinar. Bartolo is the Director of Instruction for the Florida Virtual School and will be presenting on characteristics of good online teaching. Register online here! Scott McLeod
Best Free Online Learning Platforms Link: E-Learning Options.
From Converge, an article by Susan Patrick, Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the USDOE, reporting that the U.S. Department of Education has published the first-ever data on distance education in elementary and secondary schools. The 2005 report, Distance Education Courses for Public Elementary and Secondary School Students: 2002–03, provides the first national data on distance learning in public K-12 schools. The report, Distance Education Courses for Public Elementary and Secondary School Students: 2002–03, is available online at http://www.nces.ed.gov. A copy of the report can be ordered by calling toll free 1-877-4ED-Pubs (1-877-433-7827) (TTY/TDD 1-877-576-7734); via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or via the Internet at http://www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html.
Cyberschool Increases Student Body 15-Fold
From ASCD May 16: National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” radio news program explores how tiny Branson, Colo., has grown its student body 15-fold by creating what’s become the second-largest cyberschool in the state. The rural district has spent the $5,600 it receives for each pupil enrolled on student computers, a new building, and staff. National Public Radio (Audio player required)Donna Lewis (Best Free Online Learning Platforms)
Online courses yield surprising pluses
From ASCD May 9:Johns Hopkins University President William R. Brody says his Bloomberg School of Public Health’s experiment with a new online part-time master’s program produced extraordinary, unanticipated benefits. A symbiosis between online and classroom courses instruction resulted in improved pedagogy for both, and full-time students started demanding their classroom courses include Internet supplements. The JHU GazetteDonna Lewis