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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Who Benefits From Virtual Schooling?

The crowd over at Allied Online High School Blog ask the question, Who Benefits from Online High School? And it is a good question (even though they are asking it about their specific cyber school). I have often asked the questions Why Do People Take Virtual School Courses or Who Are We Trying To Serve? , but this is a slightly different take on the issue and a responsible one to consider.

So, who does benefit from virtual schooling?

One that I have seen in the blogsphere a lot lately looks at the issue of summer schooling:

Another one that I came across, which I guess also didn't surprise me was Online classes click with athletes - BAO ONG, Pioneer Press from Online Learning Update.

Darren, over at Teaching and Developing Online posted an interesting series on the topic from his own cyber school, which isn't a cyber school in American terms (i.e., it is not a charter school, it is a public school).

So, what do you think? Who benefits from virtual schooling and why?

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Starting off with the Yahoo! news alert for virtual school.

Barren boasts first virtual high school
Bowling Green Daily News Fri, 21 Jul 2006 10:09 AM PDT

At the Barren Academy of Virtual and Expanded Learning, there are no crowded hallways, no wobbly desks, no dented lockers. In fact, there is no building.

Educationjust mouseclick away
The Post and Courier Fri, 21 Jul 2006 6:59 AM PDT

State forges ahead with online school

Kids give up vacation time to take required courses
The Leader Sun, 23 Jul 2006 0:15 AM PDT

PAINTED POST While many kids are using their summer vacation to travel, work a summer job or just goof off with friends, others in the Corning-Painted Post school district are using the months of July and August to get a head start on their education.

Students, parents find educational alternatives online
The Steubenville Herald-Star Sat, 22 Jul 2006 1:43 PM PDT

With displays of school supplies already cropping up in local stores, the start of the 2006-07 school year fast approaches. But for some students and parents, going back to school doesn’t necessarily mean heading to the traditional classroom learning environment.

Students begin enrolling in Internet-based school
Leavenworth Times Mon, 24 Jul 2006 7:22 AM PDT

A dozen students have already enrolled in the new Leavenworth Virtual School. Director Kevin Lunsford said a total of 20 students have said “yes” to the program and he anticipates more will be attracted to the Internet-based school.

Virtual Word Teaches Deaf Children Math
Kotaku Mon, 24 Jul 2006 1:34 PM PDT

A group of computer graphics tech students at Purdue's Envision Center for Data Perceptualizatoin have thrown together a bunch of cool technologies to create a virtual world designed to teach deaf...

Virtual Reality World Teaches Deaf Children Math Skills
Newswise Mon, 24 Jul 2006 12:35 PM PDT

Purdue University is using technology employed in the films "King Kong" and "Lord of the Rings" to create colorful characters in a virtual reality world who teach deaf children math.

School via computer idea delayed
Gillette News Record Mon, 24 Jul 2006 1:25 PM PDT

Plans for an out-of-the-classroom school taken via computer this fall have been halted after Campbell County School District officials were told Friday that it does not qualify for state funding.

Teachers in Michigan want to keep teaching Las Vegas students
Las Vegas Sun Mon, 24 Jul 2006 8:29 AM PDT

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A pair of high school English teachers who moved to Michigan and have been conducting summer classes online say they want to keep instructing students in southern Nevada, some 1,600 miles away.

Planned virtual school hits snag
Billings Gazette Tue, 25 Jul 2006 0:31 AM PDT

GILLETTE, Wyo. - Plans for a virtual school run by the school district here have been halted after state education officials said such a program wouldn't qualify for state funding.

School via computer idea delayed
Gillette News Record Mon, 24 Jul 2006 1:25 PM PDT

Plans for an out-of-the-classroom school taken via computer this fall have been halted after Campbell County School District officials were told Friday that it does not qualify for state funding.

Oil City board approves funding for online courses
The Derrick Mon, 24 Jul 2006 9:20 PM PDT

The district also OKs participation in the Riverview IU 6 broadband initiative. Oil City school directors on Monday approved funding for membership in a program offering online courses through a cyber services.

Virtual school faces hurdles
Casper Star-Tribune Wed, 26 Jul 2006 7:08 AM PDT

GILLETTE (AP) -- Plans for a virtual school run by the school district here have been halted after state education officials said such a program wouldn't qualify for state funding.

Classes to come?
Northwest Herald Wed, 26 Jul 2006 3:26 AM PDT

Tomorrow's education for today's children. That's how the Chicago Virtual Charter School headlines the program it will offer up to 600 students this fall, if it receives state approval.

Online school draws twice as many students as expected
The Olympian Thu, 27 Jul 2006 11:29 AM PDT

Enrollment in a new Washington Virtual Academy has ballooned to 600 students — more than twice as many as the Steilacoom Historical School District had expected.

Next the Yahoo! news alert for cyber school.

The stakes have never been higher for area students to perform well on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment math
The Daily Review Sun, 23 Jul 2006 1:29 AM PDT

The stakes have never been higher for area students to perform well on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment math and reading tests.

Cyber school enrollment increasing
Pottstown Mercury Mon, 24 Jul 2006 0:22 AM PDT

BOYERTOWN -- Since the start of the new millennium, members of today’s work force travel virtually beyond conference rooms by teleconferencing, further their education via webinars and receive streams of information through podcasts. The technology revolution is in full force.

Oil City board approves funding for online courses
The Derrick Mon, 24 Jul 2006 9:20 PM PDT

The district also OKs participation in the Riverview IU 6 broadband initiative. Oil City school directors on Monday approved funding for membership in a program offering online courses through a cyber services.

Moving to the Google news alert for virtual school.

Valley students a click away from virtual class
Bakersfield Californian (subscription) - Bakersfield,CA,USA

... Connections Academy, which will serve students in grades seven to 10 this year, is a virtual school, meaning curriculum arrives online. ...

School via computer idea delayed
Gillette News Record - Gillette WY,USA

... “There is an awful lot of disagreement as to what would constitute a virtual school and how you would guarantee that every student would receive an equal ...

District considers ‘virtual school' for those who prefer staying ...
Gillette News Record - Gillette WY,USA

A virtual school offered in the fall through the Campbell County School District will provide an out-of-the-classroom education option that supplements or ...

Students begin enrolling in Internet-based school
Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth,KS,USA

... Board members also approved a handbook for the virtual school as well as a contract for a company to provide online registration and high school courses for ...

And finally the Google news alert for cyber school.

By design, school is for playing games, working on skills to ...
Dayton Daily News (subscription) - Dayton,OH,USA
... purely online curriculum of "cyber" schools combined with the in-the-classroom intensity of schools designed for dropouts. The technology design school will be ...

Powering up
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

... The option allows students to complete cyber classes, and either earn credit or explore a specific subject, without enrolling in a cyber school. ...

Cyber school enrollment increasing
Pottstown Mercury - Pottstown,PA,USA

... While parents view cyber charter schools as an alternative form of education, school district officials view the increase in cyber school attendance as a drain ... [See all stories on this topic]

Area wrestlers set for nationals
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

The 17-year-old from Cranberry attended a charter cyber school, wrestled in Wyoming and Washington, trained in Bulgaria and, last month, won a Pennsylvania ...

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What Characteristics Are Needed?

Okay, this is an entry that I have been meaning to post for some time... What are the characteristics of a successful virtual school learner?

A quick look around the blogsphere indicates that Allied Online High School Blog believe that Time Management: The Key to Success, as does Teaching and Developing Online (see Time Management: The Key to Success). AHA Focus: Charter Schools see Independence and dependence-OHEC-April 2005 as important characteristics.

E-Learning Perspectives and Instructional Design Open Studio even speculates that learning styles may play a role, see So Many Learning Styles! and Are Learning Styles Simply A Myth? - If not, are they really that important? respectively.

The most recent time that I have discussed the issue of learning styles was on my AECT Blog Track - Virtual Schooling, when I posted the entry Learning Styles, Student Performance and Web-based Design. Before then the topic made an appearance here when I posted the entry, Supporting Different Learning Styles Through Virtual Schooling, but I haven't said a lot about it recently.

But that's not important now, what is important now is what you think... So, what are the characteristics of a successful virtual school learner?

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Starting A Virtual School

Annette forwarded this message to me this morning and it got me thinking about a couple of things.

PLANNING FOR THE "VIRTUAL SCHOOL" PROGRAM

The "virtual school" bill (Senate Bill 912) was signed June 12 by Governor Blunt; it becomes effective August 28. This legislation requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish a public virtual school, serving K-12, by July 1, 2007. Many states have worked to establish some form of Internet-based virtual education program. Missouri will build on the best established and developing models that we can identify nationally.

We have employed Dr. Curt Fuchs to serve as director of the virtual school program. He is a veteran school administrator who served, until recently, as director of technology and media for the Columbia Public Schools. One of his first initiatives will be to help create a Web page to provide information about the virtual school planning process. Requests for provider proposals (invitations for bids) will be developed this fall and issued in January 2007. Content providers selected through the IFB process will be in place and ready for the July 1, 2007, start-up date.

In theory, any school-age child (K-12) who lives in Missouri will be eligible to participate in the program. Participation, however, will be limited by the amount of funds annually appropriated by the legislature.

There was strong legislative support for this measure, and there is strong interest in this program across the state – and in other states. We are receiving almost daily contacts from individuals and organizations who are involved with other virtual programs. We will keep you informed about the preparations for launching Missouri's virtual school.

Sincerely,
D. Kent King
I found this interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is that it is an example of how many of the public virtual schools begin these days. You will note that they have indicated that there will be a bid process for content providers and I imagine during the first five years or so many of the courses offered through the Missouri Virtual School will come from the likes of APEX, Class.com, FLVS, Aventa Learning, and others. I don't know if they will have any home grown (i.e., developed themselves) courses their first year - as there is no indication in the message above that there will be a call for developers - I would imagine that after the first year or two they'll start to develop their own content as well, which is typical of most virtual schools.

Another thing that I find interesting is that this is a virtual school and not a virtual high school (which is becoming more common, see Wireless Technology Spawns Chicago's First K-8 Online Public School from Online Learning Update ), and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I have often contended that well designed virtual schooling opportunities should be designed in such a way that students who aren't necessarily independent, self-motivated, self-directed students can take advantage of them. But I also often wonder if there an age when the level required for these characteristics cannot be bridged by technology and mediated communication?

Any thoughts about or comments on either of these issues:
  • a typical start-up of a virtual school; or
  • whether or not virtual schooling is or can be appropriate for younger students?

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

I'm sorry I haen't had any content this past week (if you read She's Sleeping With The Angels from one of my other blogs you'll see why). I promise that I'll get something up over the weekendfor you to ponder.

Starting with the Yahoo! news alert for virtual school.

Virtual schools offer real diplomas
UPI Fri, 14 Jul 2006 2:14 PM PDT

ORLANDO, Fla., July 14 (UPI) -- Internet-based schools like Orlando's Florida Virtual School are on the rise in the United States, offering credits and diplomas to computer savvy students.

Charter School Chain Targets Florida
The Tampa Tribune Sat, 15 Jul 2006 9:39 PM PDT

TAMPA - Florida is the next frontier for a politically powerful businessman who built Ohio's largest charter school operation and helped pass its charter school and voucher laws.

Californian School News
North County Times Sun, 16 Jul 2006 8:38 PM PDT

Class Notes, Student Standouts CLASS NOTES Virtual school hosts info session TEMECULA ---- The California Virtual Academies, a network of online public charter schools, will host an information meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Maggie Moo's Ice Cream and Treatery.

School Just a Click Away
Kansas City InfoZine Mon, 17 Jul 2006 2:57 AM PDT

By Pauline Vu - Online classes, such as this biology course, allow teachers to post assignments on Web sites instead of distributing handouts to students in a classroom.

Californian School News
North County Times Mon, 17 Jul 2006 7:39 PM PDT

Class Notes, Student Standouts CLASS NOTES Virtual school hosts info session TEMECULA ---- The California Virtual Academies, a network of online public charter schools, will host an information meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Maggie Moo's Ice Cream and Treatery.

North Platte high students can attend virtual classrooms
North Platte Bulletin Tue, 18 Jul 2006 2:12 AM PDT

Students at North Platte High School will be able to take courses via the Internet this coming year, following approval by the board of education Monday.

School without walls coming to LVUSD
The Acorn Thu, 20 Jul 2006 8:06 AM PDT

A new high school is being built in the Las Virgenes Unified School District, but without walls, classrooms or the trappings of a typical school structure.

And from the Yahoo! news alert cyber school.

Clarifying Cyber School Matters
RedNova Fri, 14 Jul 2006 11:16 AM PDT

TO THE EDITOR: In an article ("Paying the virtual bills"), Rep. Mike Sturla is quoted as saying of cyber schools: "We'll send you a new computer and some online classes that may or may not have been proven to get your kid somewhere.

Santorum struggles for support at home
AP via Yahoo! News Sat, 15 Jul 2006 1:23 AM PDT

Phyllis Sharkady has voted twice for the local boy who made good, Republican Sen. Rick Santorum. Not this year.

Even in his old congressional district, Santorum struggles
phillyburbs.com Sat, 15 Jul 2006 1:07 AM PDT

PITTSBURGH - Phyllis Sharkady has voted twice for the local boy who made good, Republican Sen. Rick Santorum.

School Just a Click Away
Kansas City InfoZine Mon, 17 Jul 2006 2:57 AM PDT

By Pauline Vu - Online classes, such as this biology course, allow teachers to post assignments on Web sites instead of distributing handouts to students in a classroom.

Teaching And Learning Online: Meeting Learners In Their Natural Cyber-Habitat
MasterNewMedia.org Tue, 18 Jul 2006 1:22 AM PDT

"Teaching and learning are changing with the Internet. Students are by and large vastly more digitally literate than many of their instructors. This is a generation that was born to and came of age online. The Internet and technology, in many cases, appears second nature for most. Therefore, setting learning outcomes and educational objective must be concomitant with student behavior. We have

Moving on to the Google news alert for virtual school.

Virtual school may open in Illinois
Chicago Tribune - United States

... a more structured teaching environment. In virtual school, parents will set their own school hours. Children will get an online ...

Chicago prepares for virtual school
DailyIndia.com - Niskayuna,NY,USA

CHICAGO, July 13 (UPI) -- Chicago's first virtual elementary school, expected to open this fall, will put parents, not teachers, in charge of their kids' study ...

School just a click away
Stateline.org - Washington,DC,USA

... High School, which opened in 1993 and taught a course to about a third of the state’s recent graduating class, and Florida Virtual School, which serves ...

Cyberspace an alternative to classroom
Yakima Herald-Republic - Yakima,WA,USA

... students across the state — mostly because of the high demand for the service, says Randall Greenway, the chief administrator for the state's virtual school. ... [See all stories on this topic]

School Just a Click Away
Kansas City infoZine - Kansas City,MO,USA

... Florida students who would rather spend their in-class time in an AP course with a teacher in the flesh have flocked to the Florida Virtual School, where they ...

Virtual Charter School Plans Fall Opening In Chicago
WBBM780 - Chicago,USA

CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio 780) -- It would be the first of its kind in Chicago: an on-line virtual school for kindergartners though 8th graders. ...

Chicago Virtual Charter School Board of Directors Announces City's ...
Yahoo! News (press release) - USA

... The Chicago Virtual Charter School will be unique to other public virtual school programs because it will utilize two types of learning environments -- home ...

Virtual School Provides Alternative To Home School
CBS2 Chicago - Chicago,IL,USA

CBS 2’s Joanie Lum reports on the city’s new virtual school, one that will meet online most of the time. ... Virtual School will have an actual building. ...

CPS to open virtual charter school
ABC7Chicago.com - IL, USA

By Theresa Gutierrez. July 13, 2006 (Last Updated: 4:39 PM) - Hundreds of Chicago children could soon be attending a virtual school. ...

FLorida Virtual School Launches New Performance Driven e-Learning ...
LearningBusiness.fi - Finland

At the 2006 National Educating Computing Conference held in San Diego, California, July 5 – 7, Florida Virtual School (FLVS) launched Virtual School ...

And finally the Google news alert for cyber school.

New Releases: MSTRKRFT Finally Dole Out The Looks
Chart Attack - Canada

... sure (99.99999 per cent) that Cyber-Rap (aka Robert "Ronald" Marie MacDougall) doesn't actually exist, he's finagled help from Ninja High School and Laura ...

LETTER: Magnet school not that attractive to me
East Hartford Gazette - East Hartford,CT,USA

... I personally am not a magnet school supporter. ... Think about it - there's a big difference between laptops and blackboards, especially in today's 'cyber' world. ...

Proudly hosted by IGN FAQs
IGN - Brisbane,CA,USA

... STORY A dark day has come for the class in ACDC school's 6th grade. ... Lan's father, Yuichiro, jas been transferred to a new town called Cyber City. ...

Caution key for kids surfing the 'Net
Brockton Enterprise - MA, United States

... a man trying to entice two girls, and “Air Dogs,” a cyber bullying depiction. “The programs are super effective,” said Raynham School Resource Officer ...

Campaign 2006 - Out at home
Beaver County Times - Beaver County,PA,USA

... He owns a house in Penn Hills, and she blamed a local Democratic Party leader who sits on the school board for stirring up the cyber school dispute. "His No. ...

Meet me at the Improv
Beaver County Times - Beaver County,PA,USA

... Intensive, short-term workshops are also offered. Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School students can take Mancini Academy classes for free. ...

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

From the Yahoo! news alert for virtual school.

FLorida Virtual School Launches New Performance Driven e-Learning for Online Learning
PR Web Sat, 08 Jul 2006 0:13 AM PDT

Florida Virtual School (FLVS), a leading developing and providing virtual K-12 education solutions to students throughout the country, launched Virtual School Administrator (VSA) – an innovative Performance Management System designed specifically to meet the unique needs of organizations providing online learning opportunities to students. VSA tools enhance student and teacher performance

The week: July 2-8
San Diego Union-Tribune Sun, 09 Jul 2006 9:35 AM PDT

July 9 (UNION-TRIBUNE): The University of California is starting a virtual public high school for San Diego County students.

Q.C. students opt for classes online
East Valley Tribune Sun, 09 Jul 2006 7:32 AM PDT

Queen Creek has the fastest growing student enrollment into the state's largest virtual academy compared to other East Valley communities. Mary Gifford, director of the Arizona Virtual Academy, said Queen Creek, Prescott and Tucson are the online school's hot spots for growth.

Dropout rate not getting any better
The Columbus Dispatch Sun, 09 Jul 2006 3:52 AM PDT

Sherrell Mallory was in and out of foster care. Her grades slipped. After a while, school slipped away, too: In the 10 th grade, she dropped out of Northland High School.

Virtual schools expand Kansas districts' reach
The Wichita Eagle Sun, 09 Jul 2006 11:40 PM PDT

The Lawrence school district is looking for more students and has come to Wichita, about 180 miles away, to find them. Lawrence is advertising in The Eagle and other papers statewide for students to enroll in its virtual school, which allows students to attend classes without leaving their homes.

Vivox Delivers Voice to Languagelab.Com Virtual Classrooms
Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance Mon, 10 Jul 2006 6:00 AM PDT

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.----July 10, 2006--Vivox, a pioneer in delivering real-time communication to online communities, today announced that its Vivox Precision Studio solution will power the Languagelab.com immersive language school built on the Second Life platform.

Learning online: Enrollment in 'virtual' schools increases as parents seek options
BizJournals Sun, 09 Jul 2006 9:54 PM PDT

When their daughter, Lindsey, was nearing kindergarten, Dirk and Jennifer Ockerlander evaluated public, private and religious schools to determine which would offer the best education for their child.

Charter schools could go online
Louisville Courier-Journal Tue, 11 Jul 2006 2:46 AM PDT

In about a year some public school students in Indiana might be doing most of their learning at home, using computers and the Internet for many of their classes. Ball State University in Muncie is considering guidelines to authorize the formation of "virtual charter schools," allowing parents to use online instruction for their children.

Ball State developing online charter school
The Indianapolis Star Tue, 11 Jul 2006 12:11 PM PDT

Indiana would get its first online charter schools under guidelines being considered by Ball State University, which would allow parents to use largely computer-based instruction for their children.

New Virtual Charter School Delivers Positive Results For Colorado's At-Risks Childrens
SchoolBuyer'sOnline Wed, 12 Jul 2006 6:40 AM PDT

Hope Online Learning Academy Co-Op (Hope Co-Op), a virtual charter school designed to meet the needs of K-12 at-risk students in Colorado, announced initial assessment scores that demonstrate extraordinary improvement in reading for the at-risk children enrolled in Hope Co-Op during its inaugural academic year

Virtual school may open in Illinois
Chicago Tribune Thu, 13 Jul 2006 5:40 AM PDT

600 Chicago students could do studies online Illinois' first virtual public elementary school is preparing to open this fall to serve up to 600 Chicago students willing to spend their grade school years in a cyberspace classroom.

Chicago Virtual Charter School Board of Directors Announces City's First K-8 Online Public School
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance Thu, 13 Jul 2006 9:05 AM PDT

Families across Chicago will soon have access to a new high quality public school option for their kids with the announcement of the Chicago Virtual Charter School -- the city's first K - 8 online public school.

Teachers Union Opposes Virtual K-8 Charter School
Slashdot Fri, 14 Jul 2006 4:47 AM PDT

theodp writes "'You can't sit a child in front of a computer and expect him to learn things he needs to succeed in society,' said unimpressed Chicago Teachers Union president Marilyn Stewart of the Chicago Virtual Charter School, which will open to Chicago elementary school students this fall if approved by the state board of education."

Virtual School Provides Alternative To Home School
CBS 2 Chicago Thu, 13 Jul 2006 3:15 PM PDT

Starting this fall, some Chicago kids will be able to go to school without leaving home. CBS 2’s Joanie Lum reports on the city’s new virtual school, one that will meet online most of the time.

Virtual schools offer diploma programs
UPI Fri, 14 Jul 2006 7:59 AM PDT

ORLANDO, Fla., July 14 (UPI) -- Internet-based schools like Florida Virtual School in Orlando are on the rise in the United States, offering credits and diplomas to computer savvy students.

Chicago Virtual Charter School Board of Directors Announces City's First K-8 Online Public School
SYS-CON Media Thu, 13 Jul 2006 1:26 PM PDT

the city's first K - 8 online public school. CVCS is one of a number of new public schools created as part of Chicago Public Schools Renaissance 2010 initiative.

Wireless Technology Spawns Chicago's First K-8 Online Public School
Wireless IQ Fri, 14 Jul 2006 8:53 AM PDT

The Chicago Virtual Charter School to use a high-tech 'blended school'...

Computer Drive at Cannan School
RedNova Fri, 14 Jul 2006 11:16 AM PDT

Cannan Christian School, Mountville, is holding a computer drive for its Virtual Academy students. The computers need to be Windows 2000 or XP, with Pentium 3 or newer, and in good working order. For more information, contact Judith Mastros at 285-5411.

Clarifying Cyber School Matters
RedNova Fri, 14 Jul 2006 11:16 AM PDT

TO THE EDITOR: In an article ("Paying the virtual bills"), Rep. Mike Sturla is quoted as saying of cyber schools: "We'll send you a new computer and some online classes that may or may not have been proven to get your kid somewhere.

Summer school goes online
The Bay City Times Fri, 14 Jul 2006 8:31 AM PDT

Justin Kilgore recently fractured his collarbone, and while the broken bone may be a pain in the neck, it won't stop him from picking up a math credit in summer school.

On to my Yahoo! news alert for cyber school.

The week: July 2-8
San Diego Union-Tribune Sun, 09 Jul 2006 9:35 AM PDT

July 9 (UNION-TRIBUNE): The University of California is starting a virtual public high school for San Diego County students.

IN OUR SCHOOLS: Grand Forks district wraps up summer school Friday Courses let students make up past failures or get
Grand Forks Herald Mon, 10 Jul 2006 1:12 AM PDT

About 680 students who will be ninth- through 12th-graders in the fall finished summer school classes in Grand Forks on Friday, an enrollment number that has remained fairly stable in recent years, the director of high school summer school said.

Virtual schools expand Kansas districts' reach
The Wichita Eagle Sun, 09 Jul 2006 11:40 PM PDT

The Lawrence school district is looking for more students and has come to Wichita, about 180 miles away, to find them. Lawrence is advertising in The Eagle and other papers statewide for students to enroll in its virtual school, which allows students to attend classes without leaving their homes.

EL board open to NNDS cyber offer
East Liverpool Review Mon, 10 Jul 2006 10:57 PM PDT

EAST LIVERPOOL - Eventually, said Dr. Nick Trombetta, "every school will have to offer cyber. It will be a blend." A blend of paid and free services - possibly to help the city school district develop its own cyber offerings - may be the next step in the relationship between the district and NNDS.

Year passes without ruling on Santorum charter-school case
phillyburbs.com Tue, 11 Jul 2006 3:07 PM PDT

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A dispute over whether a school district can recover tax money it paid for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's children to attend an Internet-based charter school remains unresolved a year after a hearing officer recommended that the state dismiss the case.

Charter schools could go online
Louisville Courier-Journal Tue, 11 Jul 2006 2:46 AM PDT

In about a year some public school students in Indiana might be doing most of their learning at home, using computers and the Internet for many of their classes. Ball State University in Muncie is considering guidelines to authorize the formation of "virtual charter schools," allowing parents to use online instruction for their children.

EL board open to NNDS cyber offer
East Liverpool Review Tue, 11 Jul 2006 9:42 PM PDT

EAST LIVERPOOL - Eventually, said Dr. Nick Trombetta, "every school will have to offer cyber. It will be a blend." A blend of paid and free services - possibly to help the city school district develop its own cyber offerings - may be the next step in the relationship between the district and NNDS.

Year Passes Without Ruling On Santorum Charter-School Case
Action News 4 Pittsburgh Wed, 12 Jul 2006 7:19 AM PDT

A dispute over whether a school district can recover tax money it paid for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's children to attend an Internet-based charter school remains unresolved a year after a hearing officer recommended that the state dismiss the case.

And then the Google news alert for virtual school.

FLorida Virtual School Launches New Performance Driven e-Learning ...
PR Web (press release) - Ferndale,WA,USA

Florida Virtual School (FLVS), a leading developing and providing virtual K-12 education solutions to students throughout the country, launched Virtual School ... [See all stories on this topic]

Virtual school lets Charlotte join in lessons
TMCnet (press release) - USA

... of Stockton City Learning Centre (CLC), she is now able to join in lessons via a virtual classroom. Charlotte, a pupil at Hartburn Primary School, in Stockton ...

Virtual schools expand Kansas districts' reach
Kansas.com - KS,USA

... Lawrence is advertising in The Eagle and other papers statewide for students to enroll in its virtual school, which allows students to attend classes without ...

Officials pull the plug on plans for virtual school franchise ...
Charlotte Sun-Herald - Charlotte,FL,USA

A year after Lee County schools revealed plans to open a virtual school, district officials say they have dropped the project. Instead ...

Finally, the Google news alert for cyber school.

When humans transcend biology
Boston Globe - United States

... Technologies and Human Rights," held at Stanford Law School in May, and ... biology -- whether through genetic engineering or artificial cyber-intelligence -- is ...

Elders share advice online
DetNews.com - Detroit,MI,USA

... Please ask the teachers for ways to enrich his program at school. ... Think of them as "cyber grandparents," a virtual shoulder to cry on, anonymously and at no ...

The virtual teenage world where parents fear to tread
Scotsman - United Kingdom

... Having done so, you have access to numerous school clubs (set up by students ... like wiredsafety.org to create safety tips on issues such as cyber-bullying and ...

The week: July 2-8
San Diego Union Tribune - United States

... UC Online Academy is a cyber charter school. As a cyber school, it offers a complete curriculum on the Internet. As a charter school ...

IN OUR SCHOOLS: Grand Forks district wraps up summer school Friday ...
Grand Forks Herald - Grand Forks,ND,USA

... with children in summer school to check out books. Some of the exploratory programs included a penmanship class; a technology class called Cyber Camp; maps and ...

Until next week...

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Are There Virtual Schooling Issues in Wisconsin?

Quite some time ago, I had a conversation going to Annette over what constitutes an issue when it comes to virtual schooling (see the comments for Who Are We Trying To Serve?). Sorry it has taken so long to get back to this...

In this instance it was specific over the issue that the teacher's union in Wisconsin was having with their state's virtual school program. This specific issue was described in a link that Annette provided, Union sues over virtual school.

From what I can gather in this article (and if the issue if bigger than this, please inform me otherwise), the teachers' union is upset because this small rural school district set up a cyber charter school and many (?most?) of their students come from outside of this school district. The other problem that they have is that because of the asynchronous nature of the K-12, Inc. instruction model, these teachers (or at least their union) feel that it is really the parents who provide the direct instruction, and not the cyber teachers employed by K-12, Inc..

Now if I'm not mistaken, a similar thing happen in Colorado when K-12, Inc. first set up shop in that state - this is probably why the article references the fact that K-12, Inc. were willing to put up the cost of any lawsuit that is brought against any school, school district, or state using the K-12, Inc. model.

In fact, if you check out the K12, Inc. website, you'll see Important news about the Wisconsin Virtual Academy which informs us that the judges has ruled in favour of the Wisconsin Virtual Academy and K-12, Inc. (i.e., against the teachers' union.

This earlier precedence in Colorado (and other states I'm sure, as K-12, Inc. has set up shop in dozens of states) was the main reason why I didn't see this as an issue. In the same way I don't see fears that virtual schooling will only serve to take teachers out of the classroom because virtual schooling needs fewer teachers. I don't see this as much of an issue because where it is being done right (e.g., Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, VHS, and Newfoundland to name a few) virtual schooling requires more than one teacher to handle the same number of students that a single teacher would be able to handle in the classroom.

Having said that, there are many other issues that I have with K-12, Inc. that I won't go into here (but for a taste of them, see the discussion that Annette and I have been having in the comments of What's Going On In Arkansas). This is not to say that I don't believe that there are issues that need to be dealt with, that need to be researched, and that we still haven't even started to face - but the lawsuit in Wisconsin is something that has been done before and,in my mind, is no longer an issue that we should be putting time, energy, and resources in.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

What's Going On In Arkansas

Okay, I'll admit that all of these references are coming from the same source - AHA Focus: Charter Schools. I should note that this source is a charter school that caters primarily to a homeschooled population, so take that for what it's worth.

In any regard, I'll be honest and say that I don't know much about what is going on here - which is why I am posting this as I'd like for someone who might be closer or more familiar with the situation to shed some light on this.

Anyone, anyone?

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Starting with the Yahoo news alert for virtual school.

Online classes go statewide Schools say they're following students to where they learn
The Olympian Sun, 02 Jul 2006 6:01 AM PDT

Computer screens in homes across Washington will become classrooms on the first day of school.

UC plans to launch an online academy
San Diego Union-Tribune Wed, 05 Jul 2006 2:17 AM PDT

July 5 (UNION-TRIBUNE): The University of California is starting a virtual public high school for San Diego County students. UC has offered individual online courses to the state's high school students for seven years. But the UC Online Academy scheduled to open Aug. 28 will accept as many as 125 full-time ninth-graders who will take all their classes from home via computer.

Learning Academy to help at-risk students
The Woonsocket Call Wed, 05 Jul 2006 0:09 AM PDT

WOONSOCKET -- When a student is suspended for more than 10 days in a calendar year, state law since September has required school districts to provide an interim, alternative setting to keep up with classmates and curriculum.

Officals pull the plug on plans for virtual school franchise
Bonita Daily News Thu, 06 Jul 2006 0:03 AM PDT

A year after Lee County Schools revealed plans to open a virtual school of its own, district officials say they have dropped the project.

USD Planning Online Public High School
News 8 San Diego Wed, 05 Jul 2006 3:16 PM PDT

The University of California is starting an online public high school for San Diego County students.

Officials pull the plug on plans for virtual school franchise
Sun Herald Thu, 06 Jul 2006 9:33 PM PDT

A year after Lee County schools revealed plans to open a virtual school, district officials say they have dropped the project.

Continuing with the Yahoo news alert for cyber school.

Swann & education
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

... parents to afford better schools for their children, charter schools (including cyber charter ones) and says nothing about empowering school district taxpayers ...

Chester board to hold budget hearing
Madison Daily Leader - Madison,SD,USA

... But, Chester Superintendent Mark Greguson said, the budget includes two major projects -- Cyber School and the purchase of Tablet PCs for every high school ...

Cranberry to offer cyber school alternative
Oil City Derrick - Oil City,PA,USA

... Even if no student signs up this year, Bodnar said they district will continue to market the program to its home school and cyber charter residents to recruit ...

USD Planning Online Public High School
News 8 San Diego Wed, 05 Jul 2006 3:19 PM PDT

The University of California is starting an online public high school for San Diego County students.

UC plans to launch an online academy
San Diego Union-Tribune Wed, 05 Jul 2006 2:02 AM PDT

July 5 (UNION-TRIBUNE): The University of California is starting a virtual public high school for San Diego County students. UC has offered individual online courses to the state's high school students for seven years. But the UC Online Academy scheduled to open Aug. 28 will accept as many as 125 full-time ninth-graders who will take all their classes from home via computer.

Moving on to the Google news alert for virtual school

Washington Virtual Academy Launches State's Premier Online Public ...
Yahoo! News (press release) - USA

... support structure. The Washington Virtual Academy is a statewide public virtual school program serving students in grades K - 8. ...

Virtual School and E 4 TN Building
WDEF - Chattanooga,TN,USA

By Brooke Bennett. Hamilton County's Virtual School will soon open at a new location across the county Board of Education headquarters. ...

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Virtual Schooling Updates from the AECT BlogTrack

A reminder that the feed site for all of our blogs is available at:
My own contribution to the BlogTrack can be found at:
This month, the following entries on virtual schooling were posted:
Until next month...

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Statistics for June

As I mentioned in a post on one of my other blogs (see How Do You Say Good-Bye?) this has been a tough time for me, so the stats this month will be fairly bare bones (it also accounts for the lack of activity this past week)...

As of this moment there are 5636 hits to this blog based upon the straight counter. It read 5187 at the end of May. These hits came from 327 unique visitors: 274 first timers and 53 repeat offenders for an average of 11 visitors a day.

These visitors came from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, India, Australia, Ireland, and Denmark.

Until next month when hopefully much of this will be past me.

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