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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Repost from the AECT BlogTrack - Struggling with Virtual Schooling Issues

A busy week this week in terms of posting. This entry from the AECT BlogTrack is the second entry for the month of August and the nineteenth overall in the re-posts from this series.

A colleague of mine, Derek Wenmoth, has posted an entry to his blog (see Derek’s Blog) which I think is particularly interesting. The entry, Tackling online learning in our secondary schools, talks about some thngs going on down in New Zealand in K-12 online learning and then proceeds to ask a long series of questions to specific groups of individuals involved in almost every aspect of K-12 schooling. His questions include:

General Issues
  • Is what we are doing truly learner-centric?
  • Are we simply replicating the practices of the f2f classroom?
  • How can we get policy change to provide the flexibility we require?
  • Is our view of the technology future-proofed?
  • Where is the evidence that what we are doing is supporting the claims we are making?

Policy issues

  • How can student funding be shared between schools?
  • How can staffing, including management units, be shared among schools?
  • What evidence needs to be gathered to demonstrate the worth of this?

Technology issues

  • Connectivity and interoperability – who sets the standards?
  • Networks – VPNs or MUSH etc?
  • Bridging – what is required? What technologies must be supported?
  • Scheduling – enable direct access and school level control?

Curriculum issues

  • assessment – developing consistency in approach
  • reporting – enabling a unified student report from several ‘schools’ etc
  • modularisation – a different view of ‘course’
  • RPL – includes recognising the value of informal learning

Staffing issues

  • Creating more flexibility in recognising teacher roles: e-teachers, m-teachers, c-teachers
  • How to involve those with real subject expertise as mentors, hotseats etc?

Pedagogical issues

  • “personalisation” – what does it mean? How do we make it happen?
  • staff training – how to train a large group of the teaching force in these new approaches?

Leadership and coordination issues

  • Where does the leadership come from?
  • What form should leadership take?
  • What coordination is required nationally, locally etc?

Learning Resource issues

  • How best to provide resources for learning to support teachers in this environment?
  • Learning objects, repositories, search tools – who provides them, who manages them etc?
  • How to cater for user-generated resources?
  • Copyright and IP issues – how are these to be managed?

Quality issues

  • What is best practice?
  • What are quality indicators?

What is most interesting about this list of questions/issues is that even though Canada and the United States are about a half a decade ahead of New Zealand and Australia when it comes to K-12 online learning or virtual schooling, I don’t think that we have really tackled many of these issues on this side of the Pacific pond yet either.

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