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Friday, September 29, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Sorry that there hasn't been any other content this week, but here is the virtual schooling in the news for this week, beginning with the Yahoo! news alert for virtual school.

Leavenworth Virtual School hosts first Friday Fun Day
Leavenworth Times Mon, 25 Sep 2006 9:59 PM PDT

It’s called a virtual school, but on Friday it had the appearance of a gym class at what one might call a traditional school. “This is our school,” Director Kevin Lunsford told about 15 students of the Leavenworth Virtual School.

Online school graduates its first crop of animators
Inside Bay Area Tue, 26 Sep 2006 2:52 AM PDT

THE CREATORS of theBambis, Lion Kings and Nemos of the future marched down the virtual aisle Monday as they graduated from Berkeley-based online art school Animation Mentor.

An alternative to high school
Fairfax Times Wed, 27 Sep 2006 4:15 AM PDT

Forget about bus rides to and from school, crowded hallways between classes, lugging books around in an overstuffed backpack and cafeteria lunches. Some Virginia high school students have found an alternative to getting an education inside a brick-and-mortar building: "The Online Academy."

Virtual school 'beats real thing'
BBC News Thu, 28 Sep 2006 3:17 AM PDT

They may miss out on PE and a playground, but students at one of the UK's first virtual schools say they love learning online.

Virtual schools and tutors offer students new opportunities
Ars Technica Thu, 28 Sep 2006 12:08 PM PDT

New options for virtual tutoring and schooling are gaining popularity all over the world. Is the traditional classroom on its way out?

The Online High Scool
Addict 3D Thu, 28 Sep 2006 8:29 AM PDT

The BBC News website has published an article about the first ever online school, where pupils attend virtual classes by simply logging on.

Moving to the Yahoo! news alert for cyber school.

Cyber Academy students, parents help flood victims in Hatch area
The Observer Wed, 27 Sep 2006 3:48 PM PDT

The devastation caused by flooding this summer in Hatch was frightening, but even more frightening - and with longer-lasting effects - is what happens to first-graders who struggle while learning how to read.

And finally the Google news alert for cyber school.

Politics family-style
Sunbury Daily Item - Sunbury,PA,USA

... in response to a controversy about the use of Penn Hills School District money to pay tuition for several of Santorum's children at a cyber school between 2001 ...

Self-confidence and soul
Lancaster Newspapers - Lancaster,PA,USA

... She is the daughter of Arlene and Jacqui Ackerman and studies performing arts through the Pennsylvania Leadership Cyber school. ...

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Starting with the Yahoo! news alert for virtual school.

Classes Go Virtual
Dade County Sentinel Wed, 20 Sep 2006 7:57 AM PDT

High school classrooms go beyond school property, state, and even national lines. Floral Crest Academy is a Seventh Day Adventist school in Bryant, Ala., just past the Georgia state line on Sand Mountain.

Virtual school won't hold meetings
Billings Gazette Wed, 20 Sep 2006 11:47 PM PDT

CHEYENNE - As state lawmakers on Wednesday prepared to delve into public virtual home-schooling, the curriculum provider for a virtual elementary school in Gillette said it had canceled a series of meetings about the school around the state.

Educators seek online school direction
Casper Star-Tribune Thu, 21 Sep 2006 1:17 AM PDT

CODY -- Wyoming lawmakers are trying to catch up with the boom in online learning opportunities available to students and school districts today.

Virtual school wants stamp of approval
The State Thu, 21 Sep 2006 9:06 PM PDT

State superintendent Inez Tenenbaum will ask for $3.1 million for the S.C. Virtual School today when she presents her 2007-08 budget request for the S.C. Department of Education to Gov. Mark Sanford.

'Virtual school' policies sought
Billings Gazette Fri, 22 Sep 2006 0:05 AM PDT

CODY - Lawmakers asked the Wyoming Education Department to work with the Legislative Service Office to draft legislation that would govern online "virtual schools" at the K-12 level in Wyoming.

Company scrubs online school meetings
Casper Star-Tribune Fri, 22 Sep 2006 1:14 AM PDT

CHEYENNE -- As state lawmakers on Wednesday prepared to delve into public virtual home-schooling, the curriculum provider for a virtual elementary school in Gillette said it had canceled a series of meetings about the school around the state.

Virtual School helps boost district enrollment
Lawrence Journal-World Thu, 21 Sep 2006 10:10 PM PDT

Lawrence’s public schools gained about 300 students from last year — a nearly 3 percent increase to 10,303, an official state head count taken Thursday showed.

Tenenbaum wants $3 million for online high school
WIS News 10 Columbia Fri, 22 Sep 2006 12:34 PM PDT

(Columbia-AP) September 22, 2006 - State Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum wants $3 million to help pay for an online high school that would be available for all South Carolina's students.

Tenenbaum wants $3M for online high school
The Times and Democrat Fri, 22 Sep 2006 6:31 AM PDT

COLUMBIA, S.C. - State Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum wants $3.1 million in next year's budget to help pay for an online high school that would be available for all of South Carolina's students.

Educators seek online school direction
Casper Star-Tribune Fri, 22 Sep 2006 1:14 AM PDT

CODY -- Wyoming lawmakers are trying to catch up with the boom in online learning opportunities available to students and school districts today.

Tenenbaum wants $3 million for online high school
WIS News 10 Columbia Sat, 23 Sep 2006 5:36 PM PDT

(Columbia-AP) September 22, 2006 - State Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum wants $3 million to help pay for an online high school that would be available for all South Carolina's students.

Moving to the Yahoo! news alert for cyber school.

PDELA Starts School Year with New Administrator
SYS-CON Media Wed, 20 Sep 2006 6:00 PM PDT

The Pennsylvania Distance Electronic Learning Academy (PDELA) recently kicked off the 2006-2007 school year with new leadership. Dr. James Hoover joined the school as the Chief Administration Officer in the spring, and is ready to guide in the new school year.

PDELA Starts School Year with New Administrator
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance Wed, 20 Sep 2006 2:04 PM PDT

The Pennsylvania Distance Electronic Learning Academy recently kicked off the 2006-2007 school year with new leadership.

And the Google news alert for cyber school.

Editorial Santorum's Residency
Philadelphia Inquirer - Philadelphia,PA,USA

... The senator has been plagued with questions about his decision to enroll his children in a cyber school with tuition paid by the Penn Hills, Pa., school ... [See all stories on this topic]

Cyber-bullies becoming a threat to students
Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City,KS,USA

... Middle school students use cyber-bullying to gain popularity. High school students tend to use the technology in more sexual way said McBride. ...

School board accepts $55,000 from state in Santorum tuition flap
Wilkes Barre Times-Leader - Wilkes Barre,PA,USA

... but an acknowledgment that the department gave conflicting rules about when a district can challenge the state's decision to withhold cyber school tuition fees ...

Virtual learning
Pasadena Weekly - Pasadena,CA,USA

... report notes a “lack of comprehensive data and evaluations on the effectiveness of online learning,” it also highlights the potential of cyber school. ...

School board accepts 55G in Santorum tuition flap
Philadelphia Daily News - Philadelphia,PA,USA

... Five of Santorum's six children were enrolled in the Midland-based cyber school, but he withdrew them in November 2004, after Penn Hills officials objected to ...

Finally, the Google news alert for virtual school.

Virtual school opens in face-to-face session
Chicago Tribune - United States

... Less than two weeks after narrowly winning approval from the Illinois State Board of Education, Chicago Virtual Charter School opened Wednesday in Chicago. ...

Board to hear about wellness efforts
Lawrence Journal World - Lawrence,KS,USA

... A purchase contract for K-12 curriculum at the Lawrence Virtual School at a total cost up to $1.26 million. The average cost ...

'Virtual school' policies sought
Billings Gazette - MT, USA

... a charter school that offers some online courses, the Wyoming E-Academy of Virtual Learning, and Campbell County started the Wyoming Virtual School to serve ...

Virtual school wants stamp of approval
The State - Columbia,SC,USA

State superintendent Inez Tenenbaum will ask for $3.1 million for the SC Virtual School today when she presents her 2007-08 budget request for the SC ...

Educators seek online school direction
The Casper Star Tribune - Casper,WY,USA

... Lawmakers were wondering how to handle situations like the new Wyoming Virtual School, a project of the Campbell County School District. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Tenenbaum wants $3M for online high school
The State - Columbia,SC,USA

The SC Virtual School actually launched last year even though a bill to get money for the school was held up in the Legislature. ...

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Some Items From My Bloglines

Here are some items on virtual schooling from my Bloglines account for the past couple of weeks, with some comments of my own...

Virtual Schooling for the Accelerated
These entries represent one of the things that concern me about virtual schooling. I'm concerned by this because I think that virtual schooling CAN be a way for ALL students to access opportunities that they wouldn't otherwise have - not only the best and brightest students who have many opportunities above and beyond what the average or typical student would have.

This Needs No Title
Just read my friend Derek's entry. There is really little more to say.

New Virtual Schooling Initiatives

Virtual School Problems

Nothing really to say about these one...

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Once again, starting with the Yahoo! news alerts for virtual school.

Opportunities: Elverado HS on Target With Its ‘Virtual School'
Du Quoin Evening Call Fri, 08 Sep 2006 11:20 PM PDT

With EHS senior Lee Stewart's decision to 'transfer' to an Olympic training facility in California to hone in on his archery skills, his parents asked the district how their son could make that move but still remain an active student at Elverado High.

Oregon virtual charter school faces loss of funds
KGW Portland Sat, 09 Sep 2006 2:30 PM PDT

PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon virtual charter school which serves hundreds of students is in danger of losing its state funding.

Virginia company dominates burgeoning virtual school business
The Times-News Sun, 10 Sep 2006 12:10 PM PDT

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- Erik and Suzanne Johnsrud and their 11-year-old twin boys travel a lot - scuba diving in Bonaire, mountain biking in Moab, summers in Oregon, visits to family in Maine - and home-schooling allows the whole family to get away three months out of the year.

Iroquois School to pilot on-line health course
Huron Plainsman Sat, 09 Sep 2006 4:17 PM PDT

BY PLAINSMAN STAFF Students at Iroquois School will be among young people in South Dakota benefiting from an on-line health education curriculum developed with a $44,300 grant from The Wellmark Foundation.

Seattle Times: Hundreds of kids flock to state's new online schools
KING 5 Seattle Mon, 11 Sep 2006 7:24 AM PDT

Two online schools in Washington signed up more students than expected. Insight School hit its limit of 650 high school students and has 1,000 more who expressed interest. The Washington Virtual Academy for elementary students has 652 students and 500 more who have applied.

Company controls virtual schools
Billings Gazette Sun, 10 Sep 2006 11:48 PM PDT

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Erik and Suzanne Johnsrud and their 11-year-old twin boys travel a lot - scuba diving in Bonaire, mountain biking in Moab, summers in Oregon, visits to family in Maine - and home-schooling allows the whole family to get away three months out of the year.

Hundreds of kids flock to state's new online schools
Seattle Times Mon, 11 Sep 2006 0:14 AM PDT

Washington's two newest online schools didn't know how many students to expect when they announced they would open their virtual doors this...

Schools In The 21st Century
Scoop.co.nz Mon, 11 Sep 2006 4:28 PM PDT

In the future will schools have robotic teachers? Will classrooms only exist in the virtual world? What will the school of the future look like? These are some of the possible questions that teams from four secondary schools hope to raise at the inaugural Our School of the Future Challenge.

'Virtual' schools tap public dollars
Casper Star-Tribune Wed, 13 Sep 2006 1:19 AM PDT

CHEYENNE -- Erik and Suzanne Johnsrud and their 11-year-old twin boys travel a lot -- scuba diving in Bonaire, mountain biking in Moab, summers in Oregon, visits to family in Maine -- and home-schooling allows the whole family to get away three months out of the year.

Virtual school opens in face-to-face session
Chicago Tribune Thu, 14 Sep 2006 3:46 AM PDT

Controversial charter has traditional start Kindergartners Jonathan and Nathan Martin started their first day as virtual students in a most unexpected place--a classroom.

Charter school to keep funding
Albany Democrat-Herald Thu, 14 Sep 2006 12:15 PM PDT

SCIO — Oregon Connections Academy, the state’s first virtual charter school, has made adjustments to its regulations and will keep its state funding. Randy Harnisch, the policy adviser for the state superintendent, said he’s reviewed the school’s decisions with the state’s legal counsel.

Charter school alters admission rule
The Oregonian Thu, 14 Sep 2006 0:25 AM PDT

Oregon's largest charter school has agreed to change its illegal admission practices and will continue to receive state funds, the Oregon Department of Education said Wednesday.

E-learning project starts at girls’ school in Wakrah
Gulf Times Thu, 14 Sep 2006 0:28 AM PDT

THE first phase of an e-learning project – eSchoolbag – was launched by ictQATAR (Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology) at Al Wakrah Independent School for Girls yesterday.

'Virtual' schools tap public dollars
Casper Star-Tribune Thu, 14 Sep 2006 1:13 AM PDT

CHEYENNE -- Erik and Suzanne Johnsrud and their 11-year-old twin boys travel a lot -- scuba diving in Bonaire, mountain biking in Moab, summers in Oregon, visits to family in Maine -- and home-schooling allows the whole family to get away three months out of the year.

e-learning benefits from ASB Trust
Scoop.co.nz Thu, 14 Sep 2006 10:27 PM PDT

An e-learning centre at the northernmost primary school in New Zealand is the latest hi-tech Northland project to gain a grant from the ASB Community Trust.

Moving to the Yahoo! news alerts for cyber school.

15 minutes with ... Christina O'Wade
Connellsville Daily Courier - Connellsville,PA,USA

... O'Wade attended Mt. Pleasant Area High School until 2004 when she enrolled with the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School. She worked ...

Santorum ad uses his kids to help deflect cyber-school tuition ...
Philadelphia Daily News - Philadelphia,PA,USA

... The Santorums withdrew their children from the Pennsylvania-based cyber school and resumed home-schooling after Penn Hills officials raised questions about the ... [See all stories on this topic]

Uganda: Science Teachers Get Computer Skills
AllAfrica.com - Washington,USA

CYBER School Technology Solutions, a multinational computer company, has facilitated the government's new science-teaching policy by training secondary school ...

Non-Profit offers online classes for high school students
KTVF Fairbanks Mon, 11 Sep 2006 6:33 PM PDT

Interior students now have another way to earn a high school diploma.

Putting the cyber into learning
The Daily Iowan Mon, 11 Sep 2006 11:47 PM PDT

Matthew Bisanz never set foot on the UI campus when he was taking Spanish III during the summer of 2005. A senior at Hofstra University on Long Island, N.Y., he took the course through the UI guided independent-study program, which was developed to allow students to take classes without physically being on the university grounds.

School board accepts state settlement
The Times Express Wed, 13 Sep 2006 1:39 PM PDT

Penn Hills School Board on Tuesday approved a $55,000 settlement offered by the state Department of Education regarding cyber charter school tuition paid for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's children.

School board accepts $55,000 from state in Santorum tuition flap
phillyburbs.com Wed, 13 Sep 2006 3:14 AM PDT

PENN HILLS, Pa. - A western Pennsylvania school board voted to accept $55,000 from the state to settle a dispute over whether it should have paid tuition for the children of U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. to attend a cyber charter school.

Pa. school district accepts money to settle Santorum school flap
WRIC 8 Wed, 13 Sep 2006 9:20 AM PDT

PENN HILLS, Pa. The Penn Hills School District near Pittsburgh accepted 55-thousand-dollars from the state to settle a dispute about whether it should have paid to send Senator Rick Santorum's children to a cyber charter school.

State Pays Penn Hills Schools In Santorum Dispute
WTAE ThePittsburghChannel.com via Yahoo! News Wed, 13 Sep 2006 5:13 AM PDT

The Penn Hills School Board argued that the school district shouldn't have to foot the bill for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's children to attend cyber classes.

Santorum tuition OK'd
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Wed, 13 Sep 2006 9:33 AM PDT

The school board last night voted unanimously to accept $55,000 from the state Department of Education to settle a dispute over money withheld from the district to pay for the children of U.S. Senator Rick Santorum to attend a cyber charter school.

Penn Hills accepts state money to settle Santorum school flap
WHP CBS 21 Harrisburg Wed, 13 Sep 2006 2:51 AM PDT

The Penn Hills School District near Pittsburgh accepted 55-thousand-dollars from the state to settle a dispute about whether it should have paid to send U.S. Senator Rick Santorum's children to ...

District Accepts Settlement On Santorum Schooling
KDKA Pittsburgh Tue, 12 Sep 2006 8:57 PM PDT

The Penn Hills School District has reached a compromise with the state over payment for the cyber-school education of Senator Rick Santorum's children.

School board accepts $55,000 from state in Santorum tuition flap
The Morning Call Thu, 14 Sep 2006 1:17 PM PDT

A western Pennsylvania school board has voted to accept $55,000 from the state to settle a dispute over whether it should have paid tuition for the children of U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., to attend a cyber charter school.

And from the Google news alert for virtual school

Hundreds of kids flock to state's new online schools
Seattle Times - United States

... Representatives from both new schools have traveled the state to promote their programs, and the Virtual School is planning another round of meetings this ... [See all stories on this topic]

Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School Expands Partnership With ...
Market Wire (press release) - USA

... The Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School is a public virtual school of choice chartered and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in 2001. ...

Infamous events about to unfold in textbooks
New Philadelphia Times Reporter - New Philadelphia,OH,USA

... 11.” The class is taught by Phil Tidrick, and the videoconference is being hosted by Vanderbilt Virtual School in Nashville, Tenn. ...

Oregon virtual charter school faces loss of funds
OregonLive.com - Portland,OR,USA

... It has used that policy because the virtual school has not reached its capacity of about 2,000 students, said Thomas, the principal. State Rep. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Virginia company dominates burgeoning virtual school business
Seattle Post Intelligencer - USA

... Wyoming stands to become K12's 14th virtual-school state, although much would still need to be resolved, including how a virtual school would fit into the ...

Finally, from e-School News.

Virtual schools again in spotlight
Sep 12 FULL STORY

Another school year, another series of controversies involving virtual schools: In Oregon, a virtual charter school that serves hundreds of students is in danger of losing its state funding, while in...

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Updates From The Blogsphere

Well, just wanted to give ou a sense this week of some of the other things being posted to blogs that I monitor about virtual schooling. Also wanted to let you know that for the next three to four weeks I'm going to be quite busy trying to get all of my interviews transcribed, synchronous recorded classes observed, and asynchronous classes reviewed for my dissertation research - so I may not be posting as often or the posts may feature few of my own original thoughts.


That's all for now folks... Over the next three or four weeks I'll try to keep the regular features rolling and add what I can, when I can...

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Virtual High School Success Stories in Rural Illinois

Below are the remarks delivered by Matthew Wicks, Associate Director for Operations at the Illinois Virtual High School to a recent town hall meeting hosted by Senator Durbin.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Good morning. I am Matthew Wicks, Associate Director for Operations at the Illinois Virtual High School. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about IVHS, a program operated by the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy for the Illinois State Board of Education; a program that has been providing tremendous opportunities for students in rural communities and throughout Illinois since 2001.
IVHS is all about providing opportunities. We provide opportunities for students to take a course that isn’t offered at their local schools, either because there isn’t enough demand or the school hasn’t been able to hire a qualified teacher. We provide opportunities for students who have not been academically successful in an area, by providing a different approach to teaching and learning. We provide opportunities for students in the summer to accelerate their pace by taking additional courses or perhaps instead to allow the student to stay on pace by re-taking a failed course. This has become increasingly important as fewer schools offer summer school. We provide opportunities for a homebound student to have regular instruction in a quality curriculum.
Ok, you get the theme – we provide opportunities and these opportunities are made possible by the Internet. Students take these classes online, receiving instruction from a certified Illinois teacher and interacting with their classmates from around the state. The students communicate using email, discussion boards and internet messaging as well as a web-conferencing system that combines voice communication, desktop video chat capability, a shared whiteboard for presentations and the ability to share computer desktops for demonstrations.
The quality of online learning is degraded by a slow or unreliable connection to the internet, both at school and at home and IVHS students learn both at school and at home. Over the past 10 years great progress has been made connecting k-12 schools through broadband to the internet, although many schools are now facing connectivity shortfalls because of the use of new kinds of learning content like streaming video, simulations, modeling, and collaborative workspaces. The “bandwidth problem” becomes even more acute when we look at the bandwidth shortfall that rural students face at home, knowing that rural communities have ½ the broadband connectivity as urban and suburban areas. Rural online students do not have the same opportunity to learn as their urban and suburban classmates.
While I could go on for quite some time about the impact of IVHS as we have provided over 9,000 course enrollments over the past 5 years, I will tell just a few stories that demonstrate the value of these opportunities to show why it is important to invest in IVHS and the broadband infrastructure that is necessary to maximize online learning. There are the two boys from a rural town in central Illinois that were enrolled in an alternative high school for that area. These boys had come to view a D as success. They took an IVHS online history course and decided to compete to see who could earn the most points in the course. Not only did both of these boys pass, they both earned an A. In the second semester, they continued on and this time there was a girl from their community who was also having difficulty in her school enrolled in the course. While, we may never know their exact motivation for helping this new student, the end result was that all three students succeeded and were back on track to complete high school.
There is the girl, a competitive Olympic athlete who had started German at her high school but was away from school frequently for training. She utilized IVHS to successfully complete a second year in German so that she met the college admission requirement of 2 years of the same foreign language.
Both of these stories are stories that show how IVHS assisted students in completing high school and preparing for college. However, this last story is one of my favorites because of its uniqueness. A 50-year old businessman that had never graduated from high school took an IVHS online English course and obtained his high school diploma, in the process, providing an incredible example to the other students in the course.
IVHS makes a difference and will continue to make a difference by providing ALL Illinois students expanded opportunities to learn. Let’s make sure that everyone, including the students in rural Illinois has access to the technology required by programs such as IVHS.

Remarks of Matthew Wicks, Associate Director for Operations of the Illinois Virtual High School, given at a town hall meeting on August 25, 2006 organized by Senator Durbin at SIU-Carbondale

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

As always, starting with my Yahoo! news alerts for virtual school.

'Virtual' school stays small
Casper Star-Tribune Sun, 03 Sep 2006 1:15 AM PDT

CHEYENNE -- Following a note of alarm sounded by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim McBride over statewide mailings encouraging parents to enroll their children in a "Wyoming Virtual School," the Campbell County school board has decided not to open up its planned virtual school to

'Virtual' school stays small
Casper Star-Tribune Mon, 04 Sep 2006 1:14 AM PDT

CHEYENNE -- Following a note of alarm sounded by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim McBride over statewide mailings encouraging parents to enroll their children in a "Wyoming Virtual School," the Campbell County school board has decided not to open up its planned virtual school to students outside the county.

Students go virtual to catch up on studies
The Leaf Chronicle Mon, 04 Sep 2006 3:03 AM PDT

The state has approved a proposal from local schools to allow students an alternative method of completing needed credits.

Opportunities: Elverado HS on Target With Its ‘Virtual School'
Du Quoin Evening Call Tue, 05 Sep 2006 1:23 PM PDT

With EHS senior Lee Stewart's decision to 'transfer' to an Olympic training facility in California to hone in on his archery skills, his parents asked the district how their son could make that move but still remain an active student at Elverado High.

Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School Expands Partnership With Blackboard Inc.
SYS-CON Media Fri, 08 Sep 2006 8:29 AM PDT

Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB), a leadingprovider of technology to the education industry, today announced thePennsylvania Virtual Charter School (PAVCS) has selected the BlackboardAcademic Suite as the school's sole instructional platform.

Virtual High School program marks 10 years
BizJournals Fri, 08 Sep 2006 7:56 AM PDT

A Maynard-based consortium of schools announced the 10-year anniversary of a project to provide a high school education online.

Opportunities: Elverado HS on Target With Its ‘Virtual School'
Du Quoin Evening Call Fri, 08 Sep 2006 9:50 AM PDT

With EHS senior Lee Stewart's decision to 'transfer' to an Olympic training facility in California to hone in on his archery skills, his parents asked the district how their son could make that move but still remain an active student at Elverado High.

Moving to my Yahoo! news alerts for cyber school.

State To Refund School Over Santorum's Kids
WJAC 6 Johnstown Sat, 02 Sep 2006 7:02 PM PDT

U.S. Senator Rick Santorums kids participate in cyber school, now school district gets money back.

Next the Google new alert for virtual school.

'Virtual' school hits obstacles
Jackson Hole Star-Tribune - Casper,WY,USA

... The mailing says parents can enroll their kids in the Wyoming Virtual School and give them "the excellent education they deserve.". ...

Reasons to Not Enroll in the Wyoming Virtual School
Home School Legal Defense Association - USA

The Wyoming Virtual School claims to combine “the best of home-based education with the support and accountability of a regular public school.” Home School ...

Charter school going online
Chicago Tribune - United States

... "This may not work, but there are kids we're leaving behind every single day," said board member Andrea Brown, who voted to approve the virtual school. ...

'Virtual' school stays small
The Casper Star Tribune - Casper,WY,USA

... of Public Instruction Jim McBride over statewide mailings encouraging parents to enroll their children in a "Wyoming Virtual School," the Campbell County ...

Virtual school enrollment is limited to Campbell County
Gillette News Record - Gillette WY,USA

... voiced by State Superintendent Jim McBride about enrolling students from around the state in a Campbell County-based “Wyoming Virtual School,” the Campbell ...

McBride 'deeply concerned' by virtual-school mailings
Billings Gazette - MT, USA

... State education officials have approached the proposal cautiously, pointing out that Wyoming doesn't yet have laws and rules in place to fund a virtual school. ...

Finally, the Google news alert for cyber school.

State agrees to pay Penn Hills schools for Santorum
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

... The cyber school, based in Midland, Beaver County, provides online education, enabling the children to attend school anywhere. Under ...

Santorum tuition spat is settled by state?
Philadelphia Daily News - Philadelphia,PA,USA

... maintained that since Santorum lived primarily in Leesburg, Va., the district should not have to pay for his children to attend a cyber school in Pennsylvania. ... [See all stories on this topic]

New program offers cyber-school alternative
Sewickley Herald - PA

... But once school districts had to pay for cyber schooling of students, it became a priority to find a way to keep the money from going elsewhere. ...

OC principal just happy to have opportunity to return to school
Oil City Derrick - Oil City,PA,USA

... other programs. Of the 11 students now participating, four are returning from other programs and seven are new to cyber school.”.

State pays to settle Santorum tuition spat
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

Rick Santorum to attend a cyber charter school. ... Districts must pay the equivalent of 80 percent of their per-pupil costs toward cyber school students' tuition. ...

State to settle spat over Pa. pol's kids
Seattle Post Intelligencer - USA

... district that had sought a refund for tuition it paid for Sen. Rick Santorum's children to take classes through a cyber school. ...

CYBER SCHOOL TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS GIVE DIGITAL SCIENCE TEACHING ...
Coastweek - Mombasa,Kenya

Coastweek - - The CSTS teaching Aids are available for all KCSE and IGCSE schools in the Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics subjects and are developed ...

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Perfecting the Art of Teaching

Over the weekend, Annette Jurczak sent me the link to this article:

American School Board Journal - September 2006
Special Reports - Technology in a Flat World

Teaching Your Students: Building connections -- through online learning and
a rigorous curriculum -- is a must for today's students
by Victor Rivero

http://www.asbj.com/specialreports/0906SpecialReports/S4.html


This is interesting, because it was only two weeks ago that I wrote an entry on Teaching Online, and now these guys publish this article.

In looking through my Bloglines account, this is also a common theme of things that I ahve left there to eventually comment on. Some of these entries include:

Each of these entries either raise another issue dealing with teaching online (such as teaching in a virtual school) or offer an opinion on how to do it.

In the last entry, one of the concerns that I raised with virtual schooling was the issue of performance of virtual school students only equally that of classroom students, even though as a population virtual school students have traditionally been the more academically inclined students. Online Learning Update includes an entry that outlines a research study which gives a possible explanation for this difference (see Student Success in Face-To-Face and Distance Teleclass Environments: A matter of contact? - Teddi S. Deka and Patrick McMurry, IRRODL). I mention this because it is yet another piece of infomration that could be incorporated into the list of good virtual instructional strategies.

So, what are theses? If we could generate a list of good online or virtual instructional strategies, what would you include?

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Updates From the Blogsphere

Okay, so my Bloglines account has gotten so full again with things that I wanted to talk about, I'll never get to them all. So, I'm just going to post some of them here now so that you've aware of them and I can add a comment or two about them.

The Relationship Between Homeschooling and Cyberschooling

This is something that continues to divide me. I understand that legislative decisions in many states have created different types of schooling and that supporters of those types of schooling want to ensure that th terms are applied correctly in the popular media to ensure that the right (or at least accurate) message is given to the public. I can understand, appreciate, and even support that.

But as a supporter of public education, I'll be honest and say that I am against the choice movement. I watched this 20/20 thing a couple of nights ago which apparently everyone else in the world had already seen, "Stupid in America", where the opinionist (I can't call him a journalist after watching that piece) was making the case for competition and/or choice in the American education system. In doing so he kept using Belgium as his comparison point because they scored higher on the PISA tests than the United States. Given that the United States, according to the show scored 25th I was left wondering why Belgium. I mean Belgium is a small country with a much more homogenious population in comparison to the United States. It has federal control of education, as opposed to local. Why Belgium, whynot other English-speaking nations like Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, or Canada (which actually placed one higher than Belgium and has a population and system of education much more common to that found in the United States)? The reason is quite clear, none of these country have system of competition or choice in them. In the prologue to the piece, the opinionist detailed the firestorm creaed by the fire airing of his piece and one of the teachers accused him of yellow journalism. Can't say I disagree.

Growth of Virtual Schooling

This is something that I am cautious optimistic about. I'm optimistic because I am a supporter of virtual schooling, I think that it is an excellent way to provide the same quality of education for students who have been disadvantaged by circumstance (i.e., geography, behaviourial, etc.). I am cautious of this growth because there is still a lot that we don't know, and haven't figured out about virtual schooling. For example, in research studies that look at the performance of students in virtual schools compared to students in the classroom, in recent years there has tended to be no difference in performance, which should be a good thing. The problem is that the vast majority of virtual school opportunities are still designed for the more elite students, students that tend to be described as college or university-bound, self-directed, independent, self-motivated students with access to technology and a strong academic support systemat home. This is not the description of your typical K-12 student. This is essentially your top 5% or 10% or 25% of students in your school system.

Now let's go back to the performance issue, if the top X% of students can only do as well in their virtual schooling as all levels of students (including the ones who are in the bottom X%) can do in the classroom, what would happen if we started to let anyone take virtual school courses? This is why I am cautious about this growth, because I don't think we have figured out the answer to that question yet.

New Virtual School and Cyber School Programs

I guess this is along the same lines as the last commentary, cautious optimism. It is interesting to note, however, the variety of ways that virtual schooling is being implement and the diverse populations that are being targetted by each initiative.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Starting with the Yahoo! news alerts for virtual school

Opportunities: Elverado HS on Target With Its ‘Virtual School'
Du Quoin Evening Call Fri, 25 Aug 2006 11:33 PM PDT

With EHS senior Lee Stewart's decision to 'transfer' to an Olympic training facility in California to hone in on his archery skills, his parents asked the district how their son could make that move but still remain an active student at Elverado High.

Opportunities: Elverado HS on Target With Its ‘Virtual School'
Du Quoin Evening Call Tue, 29 Aug 2006 1:28 PM PDT

With EHS senior Lee Stewart's decision to 'transfer' to an Olympic training facility in California to hone in on his archery skills, his parents asked the district how their son could make that move but still remain an active student at Elverado High.

Classroom loses walls in new charter school
Post-Tribune Tue, 29 Aug 2006 2:38 AM PDT

Indiana students who dislike the confinement of a classroom and love the Internet may soon get a school choice of their dreams.

Committee accomplishments:
Berkshire Eagle Tue, 29 Aug 2006 0:15 AM PDT

Completed the first draft of a districtwide Building Use Study on Jan. 24. Participated in the legislative Regional Caucus. Helped to establish the Virtual High School program in the district for 2006.

McBride 'deeply concerned' by virtual-school mailings
Billings Gazette Wed, 30 Aug 2006 10:59 AM PDT

CASPER - State Superintendent Jim McBride said he was concerned about a company's mass mailings to parents around the state to drum up business for its virtual-school curriculum.

'Virtual' school hits obstacles
Casper Star-Tribune Wed, 30 Aug 2006 1:17 AM PDT

The Campbell County School District's effort to open a "virtual" elementary school hit another bump in the road recently, with Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim McBride criticizing an effort to market the school to families across Wyoming.

Virtual academy numbers at 10,000
The Steubenville Herald-Star Wed, 30 Aug 2006 7:37 AM PDT

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County Governing School Board on Tuesday learned the Virtual Learning Academy, an Internet-based learning alternative, will likely reach 10,000 students within the week.

Opportunities: Elverado HS on Target With Its ‘Virtual School'
Du Quoin Evening Call Wed, 30 Aug 2006 10:17 AM PDT

With EHS senior Lee Stewart's decision to 'transfer' to an Olympic training facility in California to hone in on his archery skills, his parents asked the district how their son could make that move but still remain an active student at Elverado High.

Farmer continues online charter school effort
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Wed, 30 Aug 2006 2:45 AM PDT

A Fort Wayne man is moving forward with his plan to start an online charter school in the city now that Ball State University has approved amended guidelines for how the school should be operated.

Schools in the 21st Century
Scoop.co.nz Tue, 29 Aug 2006 5:50 PM PDT

In the future will schools have robotic teachers? Will classrooms only exist in the virtual world? What will the school of the future look like? These are some of the possible questions that teams from four secondary schools hope to raise at the inaugural Our School of the Future Challenge.

Ky. students lag on AP test scores
The Kentucky Post Wed, 30 Aug 2006 12:12 PM PDT

LOUISVILLE - Advanced-placement classes are attracting more Kentucky high school students, but the percentage of Kentucky seniors who pass an advanced-placement test lags behind the national average, officials said.

More state students taking AP courses
Louisville Courier-Journal Wed, 30 Aug 2006 2:53 AM PDT

More Kentucky high school students are taking advanced-placement classes -- and earning college credit, state education officials reported yesterday.

'Virtual' school hits obstacles
Casper Star-Tribune Thu, 31 Aug 2006 1:17 AM PDT

The Campbell County School District's effort to open a "virtual" elementary school hit another bump in the road recently, with Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim McBride criticizing an effort to market the school to families across Wyoming.

McBride 'deeply concerned' by virtual-school mailings
Billings Gazette Wed, 30 Aug 2006 10:46 PM PDT

CASPER - State Superintendent Jim McBride said he was concerned about a company's mass mailings to parents around the state to drum up business for its virtual-school curriculum.

NIIT, IIM-C to launch virtual classroom together
ZDNet India Thu, 31 Aug 2006 0:13 AM PDT

Leading business school Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta (IIM-C) Tuesday entered into a strategic alliance with NIIT, Asia's largest IT trainer, to offer executive development programmes through virtual classrooms.

Mailings concern state's school chief
Billings Gazette Thu, 31 Aug 2006 0:04 AM PDT

CASPER - State Superintendent Jim McBride said he was concerned about a company's mass mailings to parents around the state to drum up business for its virtual school curriculum. The company, K12 Inc., has been working with the Campbell County Schoo ...

Opportunities: Elverado HS on Target With Its ‘Virtual School'
Du Quoin Evening Call Thu, 31 Aug 2006 1:13 PM PDT

With EHS senior Lee Stewart's decision to 'transfer' to an Olympic training facility in California to hone in on his archery skills, his parents asked the district how their son could make that move but still remain an active student at Elverado High.

Students enrolled in virtual algebra
Bowling Green Daily News Thu, 31 Aug 2006 10:14 AM PDT

Algebra is a class many ninth-graders look to with anxiety, but some sixth- and seventh-graders in the Warren County school district are taking the course early, with smiles on their faces.

State education official visits VHS
Villages Daily Sun Thu, 31 Aug 2006 6:16 AM PDT

THE VILLAGES — Steve Adams, director of Charter, Virtual and Home Education with the Florida Department of Education, liked what he saw during his visit to The Villages High School.

'Virtual' school hits obstacles
Casper Star-Tribune Fri, 01 Sep 2006 1:12 AM PDT

The Campbell County School District's effort to open a "virtual" elementary school hit another bump in the road recently, with Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim McBride criticizing an effort to market the school to families across Wyoming.

Charter school going online
Chicago Tribune Fri, 01 Sep 2006 3:47 AM PDT

State board OKs virtual elementary despite opposition In a tense and dramatic meeting, the Illinois State Board of Education gave approval for the state's first virtual public elementary school to open its cyberspace doors this fall.

Opportunities: Elverado HS on Target With Its ‘Virtual School'
Du Quoin Evening Call Fri, 01 Sep 2006 10:58 AM PDT

With EHS senior Lee Stewart's decision to 'transfer' to an Olympic training facility in California to hone in on his archery skills, his parents asked the district how their son could make that move but still remain an active student at Elverado High.

Students enrolled in virtual algebra
Bowling Green Daily News Fri, 01 Sep 2006 8:24 AM PDT

Algebra is a class many ninth-graders look to with anxiety, but some sixth- and seventh-graders in the Warren County school district are taking the course early, with smiles on their faces.

'Virtual' school stays small
Casper Star-Tribune Sat, 02 Sep 2006 1:16 AM PDT

CHEYENNE -- Following a note of alarm sounded by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim McBride over statewide mailings encouraging parents to enroll their children in a "Wyoming Virtual School," the Campbell County school board has decided not to open up its planned virtual school to students outside the county.

Opportunities: Elverado HS on Target With Its ‘Virtual School'
Du Quoin Evening Call Fri, 01 Sep 2006 11:10 PM PDT

With EHS senior Lee Stewart's decision to 'transfer' to an Olympic training facility in California to hone in on his archery skills, his parents asked the district how their son could make that move but still remain an active student at Elverado High.

Next the Yahoo! news alert for cyber school.

New program offers cyber-school alternative
Sewickley Herald Thu, 31 Aug 2006 9:16 AM PDT

Quaker Valley has teamed up with a non-profit organization to compete with the cyber-schooling trend.

Charter school may open Sept. 5
The Deming Headlight Wed, 30 Aug 2006 11:12 PM PDT

Classes will begin a day short of three weeks late at Deming's Cesar Chavez Charter High School. The first-year school, offering programs for those who have left the traditional school system, was to open Aug. 16, the same as other Deming schools on the traditional school calendar.

Charter school going online
Chicago Tribune Fri, 01 Sep 2006 3:47 AM PDT

State board OKs virtual elementary despite opposition In a tense and dramatic meeting, the Illinois State Board of Education gave approval for the state's first virtual public elementary school to open its cyberspace doors this fall.

On to the Google news alert for virtual school.

Virtual school: 100 students can take up to seven classes
Gillette News Record - Gillette WY,USA

... The virtual school will provide an out-of-the-classroom education option that supplements or replaces traditional home schooling. ...

Virtual school boosts district enrollment
Lawrence Journal World - Lawrence,KS,USA

For the third consecutive year, the Lawrence Virtual School, 2145 La., has helped keep enrollment numbers in the black. If not for ...

Finally from the Google news alert for cyber school.

Franklin board preps for school year
News-Herald - Franklin,PA,USA

... In other matters, Paranick reported that seven students are already registered for the district's cyber school program, which will debut this fall. ...

Cyber school funding debated
Lancaster Newspapers - Lancaster,PA,USA

... This was the second public hearing to let cyber school proponents and public school officials air their differences over who should pay for cyber students ...

Top Cyber News 8/28
WLNS - Lansing,MI,USA

... for launching a computer attack that hit tens of thousands of computers, including some belonging to the Department of Defense, a hospital and a school district ...

Hearing on Cyber Schools Draws Large Crowd to Allentown
WFMZ-TV Online - Allentown,PA,USA

... The hearing itself featured emotional debate from cyber school families and from representatives of public schools. State Representative ...

Back to school/West: New technology, teachers greet pupils
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

... This year, it will use Lincoln Interactive classes, developed by the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and marketed through a cyber school offshoot, the ...

Back to school/South: A brand new year
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

... The district is opening its own cyber school in a renovated area of Francis McClure Intermediate School. Cyber school students will ...

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Updates from the AECT BlogTrack

What's happening this month over at our blogging research presentation.

Just a reminder that the feed site for all of our blogs is available at:

AECT BlogTrack Feed - http://ugaonlinelearning.suprglu.com/

My own contribution to the BlogTrack can be found at:

Virtual Schooling - http://mkbvs.edublogs.org/


This month, the following entries on virtual schooling were posted:

Feel free to go over there and read and comment on any of these entries, regardless of when they were posted. Join in on any of the conversations.

Until next month...

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