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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

Sorry that I haven't been active this week, but things have been busy at work. Next week will be better.

Now, beginning a little differently with the DEC Weekly News.

NH's First Virtual High School To Open In Jan.
Source: eschoolnews.com


Starting next January, the New Hampshire Virtual Learning Academy will launch live and e-mail based classes for students looking to accelerate their traditional coursework, take Advanced Placement courses or even study for their SATs. The virtual charter school will be funded by a $500,000 start-up grant, the New Hampshire Education Trust and donations ... http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/Article15589.phtml

Now back to the Yahoo! News alert for virtual school.

Tracy school board meetings may use electronic agenda
Tri-Valley Herald Sun, 23 Sep 2007 3:15 AM PDT


TRACY — Although the concept of a "virtual school board" where trustees conduct their business through holographic recreations is likely years away, the Tracy Unified School Board may embrace

Welcome to quotidienmutations.net
Quotidien Mutations Sun, 23 Sep 2007 1:37 PM PDT


Lesson Plan Award Winning Educational Products. Fun Learning ! Animated Movies, K-8 http://www.brainpop.com/ Virtual School See Why California Parents Choose Connections Academy.

Kaplan Virtual Education Launches Kaplan University High School
Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance Mon, 24 Sep 2007 5:30 AM PDT


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.----Kaplan Virtual Education, a subsidiary of global education provider Kaplan, Inc., today announced the opening of Kaplan University High School, an online national high school.

Atlanta developing virtual classrooms
Alpena News Sun, 23 Sep 2007 6:55 PM PDT


Technology — friend or foe? That is the question the Atlanta School District is dealing with regarding its virtual high school. Students enrolled in the district can choose to take all of their classes online in the Atlanta Learning Center.

Welcome to quotidienmutations.net
Quotidien Mutations Sun, 23 Sep 2007 4:46 PM PDT


Homeschool Curriculum Accredited Programs For Grades 4-12 w/ Rolling Admission. Apply Today http://www.northtexasacademy.com/ Virtual School See Why California Parents Choose Connections Academy.

Welcome to quotidienmutations.net
Quotidien Mutations Sun, 23 Sep 2007 1:53 PM PDT


Virtual School See Why California Parents Choose Connections Academy. Grades K-12 http://www.connectionsacademy.com/ Lesson Plan Water Lesson plans for water crisis and World Water Day.

Competition increasing in online education options
Lawrence Journal-World Sun, 23 Sep 2007 8:18 PM PDT


On the surface, Lawrence resident Ben Knight, 17, is like any other high school senior. He has spent first through 11th grades in public schools, and last year he finished his junior year at Free State High School. But instead of returning for his senior year this fall, Knight is technically enrolled in the Manhattan-Ogden school district, in its virtual school, iQ Academy Kansas.

Baltimore County to test online school
The Frederick News-Post Tue, 25 Sep 2007 5:21 AM PDT

TOWSON — Baltimore County’s school system will start testing a free full-time online school this week. The Baltimore County Virtual Instruction Program, thought to be the first of its kind in Maryland, will provide certified teachers and lesson plans for home-schooled students.

How a Virtual AP Course Changed Her Son
Washington Post Tue, 25 Sep 2007 6:27 AM PDT

Maria Allen worried about her son Matthew's prospects in high school and beyond. He had always been regarded as an underachiever by his teachers. He received B's in middle school with virtually no effort because he did well on what were, she thought, very easy tests.

Online charter school waiver draws opposition from state
Newport News-Times Wed, 26 Sep 2007 10:43 AM PDT

The Oregon Education Association and the Oregon Virtual School District (OVSD) Advisory Council were among those who weighed in as the State Board of Education began discussions about a waiver request from local school officials pertaining to their effort to establish an online charter high school sponsored by the Lincoln County School District.

Baltimore County to test online school
The Daily Times Tue, 25 Sep 2007 4:10 PM PDT

TOWSON (AP) — Baltimore County’s school system will start testing a free full-time online school this week. The Baltimore County Virtual Instruction Program, thought to be the first of its kind in Maryland, will provide certified teachers and lesson plans for home-schooled students.

Cirque du Soleil setting up a 'virtual school'
Montreal Gazette Fri, 28 Sep 2007 0:31 AM PDT

The Cirque du Soleil is embarking on a one-year pilot project with the Eastern Townships School Board to create a "virtual school" to educate young performers who work under its big top as well as the children of adults featured in the shows.

Florida Virtual School Receives $314,000 AT&T Grant to Study Best Practices for Online Learning
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance Thu, 27 Sep 2007 1:46 PM PDT

Florida Virtual School , a nationally recognized e-Learning model for developing and providing virtual K - 12 education solutions to students, will use a $314,000 grant to conduct a two-year project to gather best practices and methodologies for developing and delivering high-quality online learning for students.

Next the Yahoo! News alert for cyber school.

Teachers ask Lapus to scrap Cyber Ed
The Manila Times Tue, 25 Sep 2007 7:39 AM PDT

PUBLIC-school teachers want Education Secretary Jesli Lapus to scrap the P26.48-billion Cyber-Education Project and instead focus on undertaking basic reforms like solving the shortages in textbooks, teachers and classrooms and increasing the salary of teachers.

Cyber charter schools provide opportunities
South Hills Record Thu, 27 Sep 2007 8:53 AM PDT

Pennsylvania has 11 cyber charter schools with more than 20,000 students enrolled. And all those students need their tuition paid -- an issue that's gained critics on school boards, at the state level and in the Legislature. read more »

Moving on to the Google News alert for virtual school.

Competition increasing in online education options
Lawrence Journal World - Lawrence,KS,USA


Knight is a high school senior living in Lawrence but taking online classes at iQ Academy Kansas, a virtual school in the Manhattan-Ogden school district. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Basehor-Linwood school district releases official enrollment numbers
Basehor Sentinel - Bonner Springs,KS,USA


The Basehor-Linwood Virtual School also gives the district's enrollment a boost. While the majority of Virtual School students do not live within district ... [See all stories on this topic]

NH's first virtual high school to open in January
The Union Leader - Manchester,NH,USA


The curriculum will be purchased from the Florida Virtual School, the biggest virtual high school in the country, with more than 70000 students. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Virtual school spurs district increase
Lawrence Journal World - Lawrence,KS,USA


By George Diepenbrock Enrollment appears to be steady in Lawrence schools with the district gaining another boost from the Lawrence Virtual School. ... [See all stories on this topic]

EHS launches statewide virtual high school
Exeter News-Letter - Exeter,NH,USA


The money will help purchase curriculum from the Florida Virtual School (FLVS), a pioneer in virtual school learning that started in 1997. ... [See all stories on this topic]

New virtual school uses Internet as classroom
KTVB - Boise,ID,USA


"Connections academy is a virtual school program that is done at home," Taylor said. Founders say Inspire Connections Academy is an alternative to ... [See all stories on this topic]

Kaplan opens online high school
Sun-Sentinel.com - Fort Lauderdale,FL,USA


Fort Lauderdale-based Kaplan Virtual Education announced Monday the opening of Kaplan University High School, an online national high school. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Google moving in on Second Life?
Computerworld - Framingham,MA,USA


Besides the strong existing ties between Arizona State University and Google, what else suggests Google might be interested in starting a virtual world? ... [See all stories on this topic]

'Virtual school' appoints headteacher
eGov monitor - London,UK


Children in care in Stockport now have their very own headteacher to help raise educational achievement in the 'Virtual School' for looked after children. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Virtual school becomes a reality
FayObserver.com - Fayetteville NC,USA


By Corey G. Johnson Methodist University chaplain Michael Safley became a witness to the magic of virtual reality Friday as he wobbled across a wooden plank ... [See all stories on this topic]

The Google News Alert for cyber school.

Readsboro Arts holds first artist showcaseBennington Banner - Bennington,VT,USAThe group, he said, was developed from the non-profit group Readsboro Cyber School. The original group focused on providing student interaction outside of ... [See all stories on this topic]

Cyber Charter School DebateCBS 21 - Harrisburg,PA,USA... and the fact that this is an innovative approach, and we love being students enrolled at PA virtual school," says Sophia Lewis, cyber school parent. ... [See all stories on this topic]

DepEd claims Cyber Ed program has backingInquirer.net - Philippines... (DepEd) asserts its Cyber Education Project has the support of at least 10 national organizations of teachers, educators and school administrators. ... [See all stories on this topic]

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning with the Yahoo! News Alert for virtual school.

Re-2 goes virtual with online courses offered to students
Rifle Citizen Telegram Mon, 17 Sep 2007 12:15 PM PDT

RIFLE — With the completion of the new Colorado Mountain College Western Garfield County Campus, the old facility on Railroad Avenue in Rifle became available for Garfield School District Re-2 to fill.

Welcome to quotidienmutations.net
Quotidien Mutations Sun, 16 Sep 2007 1:49 PM PDT

Lesson Plan Award Winning Educational Products. Fun Learning ! Animated Movies, K-8 http://www.brainpop.com/ Virtual School See Why California Parents Choose Connections Academy.

EHS launches statewide virtual high school
Exeter News-Letter Tue, 18 Sep 2007 3:02 AM PDT

EXETER — Click. Learn. Succeed. The Granite State's first online statewide school takes student enrollments starting Oct. 1 for the Jan. 22 start date. The Virtual Learning Academy Charter School open to high school students statewide offers 14...

NH's first virtual high school to open in January

New Hampshire Union Leader Mon, 17 Sep 2007 9:10 PM PDT

New Hampshire teenagers have already been hanging out online for years, but starting in January they have the opportunity to attend the state's first virtual high school.

State launches online high school
Eagle-Tribune Online Tue, 18 Sep 2007 8:59 AM PDT

Come January, state high school students can roll over, log on and go to school without ever leaving their bedrooms. The Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, approved by the state in May, was unveiled yesterday.

New Hampshire to Open First Cyber High School
New Hampshire Public Radio Mon, 17 Sep 2007 3:16 PM PDT

The virtual high school is scheduled to open in January, offering online high school classes and degrees.

New Hampshire Launches Online High School
FOX 13 Tampa Bay Wed, 19 Sep 2007 3:50 AM PDT

LONDONDERRY, N.H. -- Starting in January, New Hampshire will have an online charter school for high school students. The Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, approved by the state in May, was initiated by the Exeter Region Cooperative School District.

ESC hears encouraging reports on VLA
The Steubenville Herald-Star Wed, 19 Sep 2007 10:25 AM PDT

STEUBENVILLE — The Educational Service Center governing board heard encouraging news Tuesday from administrators of the Virtual Learning Academy. Craig Closser, chief executive officer of regional services, said the VLA, an online school, now has 18,000 students worldwide.

Cyberclass in session: Districts offer online alternatives
Gloucester County Times Thu, 20 Sep 2007 0:57 AM PDT

Dana Demiduke plans to major in chemical engineering when she heads to college next year, but felt she needed more preparation than a general chemistry class could offer an opportunity fulfilled by Virtual High School.

EHS launches statewide virtual high school
The Rockingham News Fri, 21 Sep 2007 3:15 AM PDT

EXETER — Click. Learn. Succeed. The Granite State's first online statewide school takes student enrollments starting Oct. 1 for a Jan. 22 start date. The Virtual Learning Academy Charter School open to high-school students statewide offers 14...

Virtual school spurs district increase
Lawrence Journal-World Fri, 21 Sep 2007 2:03 AM PDT

The Lawrence Virtual School continued its growth and gained 172 kindergarten through eighth-grade students from last year. In its brick-and-mortar schools, the Lawrence public school district also has 66 more elementary students than the year before, and 69 fewer junior high and high school students.

6News video: Virtual School boosts enrollment
Lawrence Journal-World Fri, 21 Sep 2007 1:02 AM PDT

Enrollment appears to be steady in Lawrence schools with the district gaining another boost from the Lawrence Virtual School.

Virtual history
Hickory Daily Record Thu, 20 Sep 2007 10:47 PM PDT

Hickory High School students in Drew Daniels' honors history class participate in an online video conference with Rep. Patrick McHenry on Thursday. McHenry talked about the role of government and answered questions about the Constitution during the class.

Virtual school becomes a reality
The Fayetteville Observer Fri, 21 Sep 2007 9:04 PM PDT

Methodist University chaplain Michael Safley became a witness to the magic of virtual reality Friday as he wobbled across a wooden plank in an alternate world.

Moving to the Yahoo! News Alert for cyber school.

New Hampshire to Open First Cyber High School
New Hampshire Public Radio Mon, 17 Sep 2007 3:16 PM PDT

Some high school students in the state may soon be competing with their parents for use of the home office. That’s if those students choose to attend the state’s first charter school in cyber-space. The virtual high school is scheduled to open in January – offering online high school classes and degrees. Proponents say that cyber schools provide flexibility. Critics worry that students will lose ...

Cyber Charter School Debate
WHP CBS 21 Harrisburg Wed, 19 Sep 2007 11:38 AM PDT

It wasn't a safety issue that had educators arguing, but rather the need and benefit of cyber charter schools.

Board supports change in charter school funding
York Daily Record Wed, 19 Sep 2007 5:19 AM PDT

Red Lion agreed with a proposal to make the state fund cyber charter students.

PA Cyber settles with marketing firm
The Beaver County Times Fri, 21 Sep 2007 5:59 PM PDT

MIDLAND - The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School has agreed to pay a Pittsburgh-based marketing firm $48,000 to settle the firm's lawsuit filed to collect fees for services rendered.

Teachers ask Senate to look into CyberEd project
ABS-CBNNEWS.com Fri, 21 Sep 2007 10:53 AM PDT

An umbrella organization of public school teachers’ associations urged the Senate to investigate the P26.48-billion Cyber Education (CyberEd) project of the Department of Education (DepEd), which they claimed was irregular like the controversial national broadband network (NBN) project.

Next the Google News Alert for virtual school.

New Hampshire to Open First Cyber High School
NHPR - Concord,NH,USA

That's if those students choose to attend the state's first charter school in cyber-space. The virtual high school is scheduled to open in January ... [See all stories on this topic]

Michelle Mueller named dean of Appleton virtual school
Appleton Post Crescent - WI, USA

APPLETON -- Wisconsin Connections Academy (WCA), a virtual school for about 450 pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade from across the state, ... [See all stories on this topic

Taking learning off the road
Dallas Morning News (subscription) - TX,USA

To do that, he opened Simulated Virtual Driver school in Coppell. So rather than rely on conventional drives around town, he enrolled her in Greg Vachon's ... [See all stories on this topic ]

Re-2 goes virtual with online courses
Glenwood Springs Post Independent - Glenwood Springs,CO,USA

The Re-2 school district is teaming up with Kaplan Virtual Education to open the Kaplan Academy of Colorado, a virtual high school offering online courses ... [See all stories on this topic]

K12 Inc. to Provide Curriculum and School Services to the New Utah ...
Earthtimes.org - USA

The new virtual public school program will serve 500 students throughout the state in grades K-11 beginning in September 2008, and plans to offer twelfth ... [See all stories on this topic]

Finally, the Google News Alert for cyber school.

DepEd urged to implement Cyber Ed in Muslim schools
Manila Bulletin - Philippines

He said the system or technology is user-friendly and could be easily understood by elementary pupils and high school students. Lapus added that thousands ... [See all stories on this topic]

Cyberschool: Online K-12
Daily Breeze - Torrance,CA,USA

Eighth-grader Carissa, 12, of Torrance goes to school full-time online at Connections Academy, a public, K-11, national cyberschool that in Southern ... [See all stories on this topic]

'Incentive' program for eligible seniors gains South Side school ...
Williamsport Sun-Gazette - Williamsport,PA,USA

The board also discussed in the near future putting into writing a policy on cyber school students participating in the district's extra-curricular ... [See all stories on this topic]

Mindanao school execs awaiting cyber education
Inquirer.net - Philippines

By Aquiles Zonio, Franklin A. Caliguid, Richel Umel DAVAO CITY--School officials in Mindanao are awaiting the implementation of the Cyber Education Project ... [See all stories on this topic]

Lapus: It's premature to cry foul on CyberEd project
ABS CBN News - Philippines

Lapus said majority of teachers and school officials nationwide have been craving for cyber education. He said in previous years, teachers have been taking ... [See all stories on this topic]

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blogging About Today's Students

Two days ago is was the entries from my Bloglines account about virtual schooling. Today it is the entries about today's student and other generational differences.

Until next time...

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Friday, September 21, 2007

A Re-post for Darren -> Ok, blogosphere... I need your help. Maybe I have a job for someone.

Darren, over at Teaching and Developing Online, has posted an entry entitled Ok, blogosphere...I need your help. Maybe I have a job for someone. I don't have an answer to his question, but I will re-post it here in case any of my readers can help him.
If you have not been to the YouAreDamned.com you will not understand what I am talking about in this posting. I would like to find out who has created this site...now before everyone gets excited I am not going to rant on the person or anything. What I want to do create is the exact opposite of what this site is all about. Here at the Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School we have a chapel where the students on a daily basis post messages stating who they would like the population of the cyber school to pray for. This activity would be greatly enhanced if we could have a flash application like the one that is used to damn people, which instead of damning would post why a person should pray for...

For example today a student posted that they would like the population to pray for their grandmother who is sick and in the hospital with cancer. By posting this on the wall each day the students could view the wall and say a prayer. We would need to change the view of the site to clouds and brighter images etc.

We would be willing to try to reverse engineer this application if we could have access to the FLA file for youaredamned.com.

I understand why the creator of said site is a little concerned about someone knowing who built the site because of the flak they would get from a portion of the internet population. I am not one such person, I would like to create the opposite of the site to use for an educational spiritual component of the cyber school. I would be willing to sign an agreement to keep the authors name secret. We could meet in a dark place on the internet and exchange fla's.

Any help from the blogosphere to assist in achieving this goal would be greatly appreciated.

Can the power of the sphere do this?

Any bloggers out there that would be willing to post this on their blog spreading the word might help us solve this mystery.

If there is any flash expert person out there that is up for a challenge and would like to work on a partnership project and help develop such a site, lets talk.

So, can anyone help Darren?

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blogging About Virtual Schooling

Well, it has been almost a month of solid content so it is about time for me to clean out my Bloglines account once again. Here are some of the blog entries over the past month that have had to do with virtual schooling or distance education at the K-12 level.
Until next time...

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Series: Why Did You Decide To Take Cyber School? - Part Three

While Darren (over at Teaching and Developing Online) has slowed down a bit in the frequency of his entries in this series, he appears to be still going strong. To see previous entries in this series see Series: Why Did You Decide To Take Cyber School? and Series: Why Did You Decide To Take Cyber School? - Part Two.
As long as he keeps going, I'll keep linking them in here.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Online Professional Development Sessions

I want to bring to your attention two online professional development sessions on the horizon this semester. The first is one offered by the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education through their Wise & Witty Wednesday series. Once they get it online, the complete schedule will be online at http://www.cade-aced.ca/cade_event_ww.php?i_nMode . The schedule that I got in the e-mail has the titles and presenter names for their monthly sessions beginning on 20 September. The one I wanted to point out is from the November session, which is their only K-12 one.

21 November - 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm, Eastern time
Solvig Norman & Eleanor Liddy
Tales from the Trenches: Distributed Learning in the K-12 World: The BC Experience
These sessions are delivered using Elluminate Live. To register for this session, please contact Tim Howard of CNIE in Ottawa at cnie-rcie@cnie-rcie.ca, phone 613.241.0018 or fax 613.241.0019. You are welcome to collect your colleagues at your site. You will receive a password and toll free phone number or instructions before the event. Registrations rates are $25 per workshop per individual OR $100 per workshop per site. Please add the appropriate GST or HST.

I should also note one other one from their archives that deals with a K-12 audience. It was entitled "Millenial Learners : Are We Ready?" and the complete description and abstract can be found here - http://www.cade-aced.ca/cade_event_ww_past.php?i_nEventId=6 .

The other one that I wanted to point out to you is one that I will be delivering through the Canadian Institute for Distance Education Research (CIDER). The complete schedule for this season, which begins on 21 September can be found at http://cider.athabascau.ca/CIDERSessions/upcomingsessions . My own session is in early October and the information is below.

Lessons learned in researching virtual schools: The Newfoundland and Labrador experience
Facilitator: Dr. Michael Barbour
Institution: Wayne State University
Date and time: Oct 05, 2007 11:00 AM (MST)

In this session, Dr. Michael Barbour will focus upon the lessons learned from researching the development and delivery of virtual school opportunities to secondary school students in Newfoundland and Labrador. Through qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method studies, he captures the experiences of students, teachers, course developers, and administrators in the formative years of a new virtual high school. Issues such as effective course design for this population of students, the benefits and challenges of online learning for secondary students, achievement differences based upon delivery model and geographic location, and what students are actually doing when engaged in virtual schooling are explored.

These sessions are also delivered through Elluminate, but unlike the CNIE sessions the CIDER sessions are free of charge. Also, I wanted to point out that I have posted about the other K-12 sessions that CIDER has offered in previous posts (see CIDER Session Archive and Invitation to CIDER session - 8 June 2007).

Personally, I won't be at the CNIE (as I don't want to spend the $25 plus tax) but I hope to see you all at the CIDER one.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning with my DEC Weekly News this week (DEC = Distance-Educator.com)

Virtual Schooling Growing At K-12 Level

Source: Yahoo! NewsAs a seventh-grader, Kelsey-Anne Hizer was getting mostly D's and F's and felt the teachers at her Ocala middle school were not giving her the help she needed.

http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/Article15573.phtml

Back to regular the Yahoo! News Alert for virtual school.

Virtual schooling growing at K-12 level
The Pantagraph Sat, 08 Sep 2007 7:39 AM PDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- As a seventh-grader, Kelsey-Anne Hizer was getting mostly D's and F's and felt the teachers at her Ocala middle school were not giving her the help she needed.

Board of Education OKs Utah Virtual Academy for K-12
The Salt Lake Tribune Mon, 10 Sep 2007 1:05 AM PDT

ST. GEORGE - Utah elementary and junior high students soon will be able to go to school in a world without bells, cafeteria lines or chalkboards: online.

Michelle Mueller named dean of Appleton virtual school
The Appleton Post-Crescent Thu, 13 Sep 2007 2:24 AM PDT

APPLETON Wisconsin Connections Academy (WCA), a virtual school for about 450 pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade from across the state, opened this fall with Michelle Mueller as its dean.

Virtual Schools Gain in Popularity
KBCI Boise Thu, 13 Sep 2007 5:26 PM PDT

There's no school bell to signal the start of the day but, a click of a mouse.

Welcome to quotidienmutations.net
Quotidien Mutations Fri, 14 Sep 2007 5:18 AM PDT

Homeschooling Lesson Plan Christian Online Homeschooling for Pre K-12. Complete resource! http://www.thejubileeacademy.org/ Virtual School See Why California Parents Choose Connections Academy.

Moving on to the Google News Alert for virtual school.

State editorial roundup
Houston Chronicle - United States

By the 2008-09 school year, they'll be able to tap into the state's first "virtual school network" to take online courses. Those courses might be advanced ... [See all stories on this topic]

Back to Virtual School for Washington
Earthtimes.org - USA

7 -- As Washington students head back to school, thousands of students from grades K-8 will log on today to begin their virtual school year. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Look to the future; abandon lost causes
Beaufort Gazette - Beaufort,SC,USA

To what level will the state Virtual School Program or virtual schools in the district develop to save the district money on bricks and mortar? ... [See all stories on this topic]

Open enrollment closed to white Madison students
Wisconsin State Journal - Madison,WI,USA

Appleton operates a virtual school known as Wisconsin Connections Academy. "Personally, to not allow students who are home schooled and who probably are ... [See all stories on this topic]

Chicago Virtual Charter School Students Log on for a New School Year
PR Newswire (press release) - New York,NY,USA

CVCS is an open-enrollment, public community virtual school serving students across the city in grades K-9. CVCS provides a unique education opportunity ... [See all stories on this topic]

Board of Education OKs Utah Virtual Academy for K-12
Salt Lake Tribune - United States

Also, Superintendent Patti Harrington said the state is likely to open its own K-8 virtual school, leading some board members to wonder why the state should ...[See all stories on this topic]

Students return
Vernon Morning Star - B.C., Canada

He also said Virtual School, an online school of choice, will generate revenue to replenish funds lost to the district from declining enrolment. [See all stories on this topic]

Web-savvy teacher starts virtual class
Washington Times - Washington,DC,USA

Mrs. Goldberg is the founder of Write Well University, a virtual school that teaches writing skills over the Internet. The startup school offers live, ... [See all stories on this topic]

Virtual Schooling Growing at K-12 Level
The Associated Press -

But after switching to a virtual school for eighth grade, Kelsey-Anne is receiving more individual attention and making A's and B's. She's also enthusiastic ... [See all stories on this topic[

Finally, the Google News Alert for cyber school.

Lapus: CyberEd won't displace teachers
Inquirer.net - Philippines

By Jerry E. Esplanada MANILA, Philippines -- Education Secretary Jesli A. Lapus defended on Monday the P26.4-billion Cyber Education Program (CEP) and ... [See all stories on this topic]

No School Bus Necessary for Agora Cyber Charter School
Web Services Journal - Montvale,NJ,USA

Students receive a computer and printer on loan from the school. Agora Cyber Charter School is an open-enrollment, public community cyber school serving ... [See all stories on this topic]

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Opportunity - The Mind Trust's Education Entrepreneur Fellowship

I received this message from Corrie Heneghan (cheneghan@themindtrust.org), who is the Chief Operating Officer for The Mind Trust, asking me to post the notice for this fellowship opportunity to my blog. I'm not sure yet how I showed up on their radar, but I was more than happy to let people who are interested in virtual schooling know about this potential two year fellowship opportunity designed "to develop sustainable solutions to the most daunting public education challenges."

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Dear Michael:

I am the Chief Operating Officer of a new Indianapolis-based nonprofit called The Mind Trust(http://www.themindtrust.org/). Our mission is to support education entrepreneurship in Indianapolis and beyond. To achieve its mission, The Mind Trust has two principal strategies: (1) to recruit to Indianapolis those entrepreneurial education initiatives with proven track records of producing outstanding results for students, and (2) to develop a nationally unique Education Entrepreneur Fellowship that will provide talented people with ideas to transform public education the opportunity to turn those ideas into successful initiatives.

To date, The Mind Trust has successfully recruited to Indianapolis The New Teacher Project and College Summit. The Mind Trust has also committed substantial funds to bring Teach For America to Indianapolis. We will know in this month if those efforts prove successful, but all indications are positive. And The Mind Trust is working to bring a network of highly successful high school models to Indianapolis.

I am writing to you today about The Mind Trust’s Education Entrepreneur Fellowship. The Fellowship will provide promising education entrepreneurs with an unprecedented opportunity to develop sustainable solutions to the most daunting public education challenges. The attached press release provides more information on the Fellowship, as does our website: http://www.themindtrust.org/.

In short, the Fellowship is for people who envision entirely new approaches to the challenges of public education, and possess the relentless drive necessary to exploit opportunities to fulfill their visions. Fellows will receive a full-time, competitive salary, benefits, office space, and customized training and support. Fellows will be based at The Mind Trust’s offices in Indianapolis. The term of the Fellowship is two years, with the first fellows beginning their work in late spring 2008. The Mind Trust is currently accepting applications. While all fellows must include Indianapolis in the areas served by the ventures they launch, they will by no means be limited to that geography. In fact, we hope and fully expect some fellows to start regional or national enterprises.

The selection process for the Fellowship will be highly competitive. We will consider selecting up to four extraordinary people to join the inaugural cohort. Successful candidates will be relentless problem-solvers with a past record of accomplishment, driven by a commitment to children and a belief that all students can achieve at high levels. Reaching this pool of talent will be crucial to our success, and we would like to ask you to help us spread the word. If you know of anyone who might be interested in the Fellowship, we would appreciate you forwarding them the attached press release. We would also appreciate it if you would be willing to post information about our Fellowship on your blog.

I would be happy to discuss the Fellowship with you further if you would like additional information. I can be reached at 317-822-8102 ext. 101. And thank you in advance for any help you might be able to provide reaching out to potential candidates.

Thank you,

Corrie Heneghan
Chief Operating Officer
The Mind Trust
407 North Fulton Street, Suite 102
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: 317-822-8102 ext. 101
Fax: 317-822-8149
Email: cheneghan@themindtrust.org

Attachment: EEF Launch Release_Final.doc


For Immediate Release

September 10, 2007

Contact: David Harris, 317-822-8102 x100

The Mind Trust launches Education Entrepreneur Fellowship; makes $900,000 initial investment in program

Fellowship is a nationally unique opportunity for entrepreneurs with great ideas to transform public education

INDIANAPOLIS – The Mind Trust, a new education nonprofit focused on promoting education entrepreneurship in Indianapolis, is now accepting applications for its flagship program, the Education Entrepreneur Fellowship. The Fellowship will provide the nation’s most promising education entrepreneurs with the support they need to develop and launch initiatives that focus on wholly new ways of confronting public education’s most vexing problems. Fellows will target underserved or disadvantaged students with solutions that attack the root problems in the delivery of public education.

“The Fellowship is designed for leaders who envision entirely new approaches in public education.” said David Harris, President and CEO of The Mind Trust. “We are looking for the most capable entrepreneurs from around the country with the most innovative ideas to transform public education.”

Each Fellowship will last two years, with the first fellows beginning their work in spring or summer of 2008. Fellows’ annual salaries will be $90,000. Each fellow will also receive $20,000 for customized training and travel over the term of their Fellowship. The Mind Trust’s initial investment in the Education Entrepreneur Fellowship is approximately $900,000.

Fellows will be based at The Mind Trust in Indianapolis. While Indianapolis will be a focus of fellows’ work, it is expected that some fellows will launch statewide or national initiatives.

“This concentration of high quality entrepreneurial talent devoted to improving public education will be enormously beneficial to Indianapolis,” Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson said. “Not only will The Mind Trust’s Fellowship make Indianapolis a national hub for effective education reform efforts, but the ventures launched will help the students in our city who need it most.” Mayor Peterson is the chair of The Mind Trust’s board of directors.

Fellowship application materials and additional information, including commentary about the Fellowship by national experts, are available on The Mind Trust’s website at http://www.themindtrust.org/. The deadline for the first stage of the application process is January 15, 2008.

The Mind Trust has already helped launch in Indianapolis Public Schools two of the nation’s most successful education initiatives – The New Teacher Project and College Summit.

The Mind Trust’s mission is to attract, support, and empower the nation's most effective and promising education entrepreneurs to transform public education outcomes for children in Indianapolis and beyond.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What Advice Would You Give?

This is another message based upon a comment that Abagail posted to my What Am I Working On? entry. In our exchange I asked her what she was interested in and this is what she wrote.


But I am starting a preliminary study looking at factors related to why students do or do not complete their courses at a state-led virtual high school. I'm looking at this question from both the student perspective and the teacher perspective. I'm curious to see how they compare and contrast.

More generally, I'm interested in why students do/don't complete courses, factors related to helping students be successful online, and how rates of completion differ among various student populations and why. The school that I am looking at does a lot of remediation, so it isn't just getting the cream of the crop student who is highly motivated and a stellar, self-directed learner like most. As with many virtual schools, attrition rates are a concern.

Any suggestions for a novice researcher?

Note that she asked for suggestions, which is why I turned this into an entry on to itself. What suggestions do you have for Abagail?

From my standpoint, I would recommend that you take a look at what some others have done that is closely related to this. The first that comes to mind is an article by Weiner that was published in the International Journal for e-Learning, which was based upon her dissertation study (that she completed at an online university so I haven't been able to obtain it - you can purchase it for $30.00 or something). Another one that immediately comes to mind is a new book that is out entitled Virtual Charter Schools and Home Schooling by Carol, L. Klein. A third resource to aim to get is a dissertation completed by Craig Butz (which you should be able to find on ProQuest). Finally, but most importantly, you need to really get your hands on everything that Roblyer and company have done around the ESPRI - as this is about as close to your area as you're going to find.


In terms of potential methodology for your particular area of interest, you could go one of two ways. Given that this is an area that you probably don't have a lot of background in, an exploratory approach may be the best route to take. If you were to take an exploratory approach, you'd want to do some sort of qualitative study with a small number of participants - but you'd want your participants to be purposively selected (i.e., you could pick someone who struggled but got through, struggled and dropped out, someone who simply dropped out without really trying, and someone who was successful without much trouble). This kind of sample you could really explore some of the factors that did and did not make these students successful in the virtual school environment. As a second step, once you get some sense of these factors, then you could develop a survey using your findings and the existing literature, that you would then need to conduct a reliability study on (which could easily serve as a dissertation study). Your reliability study would help you weed out which questions and factors were not useful in your survey and if there were potential ones that you missed.


That's all I can think of off the top of my head. What suggestions would others have?

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

What Would I Do Differently?

In a recent post (see What Am I Working On?) Abagail asked me the following questions in reference to my dissertation:
  1. You talked a lot about member checking but with the students, it didn't seem to have a high response rate. What would you do differently, if anything, to increase member checking?
  2. What device did you use to record your interviews by phone?
  3. If you were to do it again, what would you have done differently? (i.e. do you wish that you had used the various surveys you adapted or designed on a larger student sample? Would you have used more focus groups than individual interviews? and Why? etc)
I figured that this would be a good venue to address those three questions.
  1. One of the difficulties was that there was a significant time lag between when I did the interviews and when I was able to transcribe them. This meant that approximately half of my participants had graduated by the time I got around to having them member check the transcriptions (which I believe accounted for many of the students who didn't do the member check). Second, in most instances the students said that they read through the interview transcripts, they just didn't make any changes. That could be because they didn't really read it, it could be because they weren't as invested in the research as I was so whatever they said at the time was okay (which is what I think happened), or it could be because they read through them and felt that the transcripts still represented their beliefs (which could have also bee some of what was going on).
  2. I purchased a telephone recording control from Radio Shack and attached my mini-cassette tape recorder to one plug and my telephone to the other plug (see Radio Shack website). Note that this device doesn't work with certain mini-cassette recorders.
  3. The biggest thing that I would have changed about my dissertation study was that I would have conducted a pilot study or even just a simple pilot test of my interview protocol. This would have prevented the need to re-develop the protocol for the initial interview and the creation of additional protocols for the follow-up interviews. The other thing I would have like to have done was spend more time in the school actually observing the students. I was there for a full month, but I would have like to have spent more time (particularly given the month that I selected). As for your other questions, it was never my intention that the surveys would be used for the purposes of statistical analysis so I wouldn't hope for a larger sample with those surveys. As I have used one of the surveys (the student perceptions one) in another study, I already had a data set in which I have utilized that survey for. As for the other three, the extended version of the ESPRI is no longer relevant as Roblyer et al have fairly strong reliability on a much shorter instrument (and I will be working with them in the new year on a project using that shorter ESPRI). The learning styles inventory and the transactional distance survey would make for interesting stand alone studies with a larger sample and may be something that I look at in future years, but not in the next twelve months. As for the focus groups over individual interviews, I would still have used individual interviews. I think that the one-on-one interviews were useful in that it got each student's voice included - assuming all twelve had stayed in the study (or at least that portion of the data collection). When I did the initial focus group, there was one dominant voice out of the three participants, one less participatory, and then one who simply agreed with the other two. In this situation there was one voice that was relatively silent, which didn't happen with the individual interviews.
So, what about others who have completed theses, dissertations, or other large scale research projects with virtual schools... What would you have done differently? Did you use interview or focus groups? Why did you choose one over the other?

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning with something from the ASCD SmartBrief.

Online charter competition heats up in Oregon

Because of a state law, a for-profit Oregon online charter school currently has a virtual monopoly. However, that may change, as Insight Schools -- which also runs online charter schools in California and Washington state -- has backers who reportedly plan to seek a residency requirement waiver from the state education board. The Oregonian (Portland)/Associated Press (9/5)

Back to the regular Yahoo News alert for virtual school.

Missouri virtual school reopens enrollment
Jefferson City News Tribune Fri, 31 Aug 2007 6:36 AM PDT

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri's new virtual school is up and running for the first time this month, despite bumps along the way, including hundreds of students who signed up to attend but didn't follow through.

Virtual school is the answer for many kindergartners and their parents

Gillette News Record Fri, 31 Aug 2007 12:11 PM PDT

Last year, Allie Martin had a hard time concentrating in school. She could focus well for about 20 minutes, but it was difficult to continue to grasp information after that.

Missouri virtual school reopens enrollment
Jefferson City News Tribune Sat, 01 Sep 2007 6:21 AM PDT

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri's new virtual school is up and running for the first time this month, despite bumps along the way, including hundreds of students who signed up to attend but didn't follow through.

Back to School: School prep in the virtual world
The Sentinel Sat, 01 Sep 2007 11:08 PM PDT

While most school districts work on decorating classrooms and ordering materials for inside, one online school is sending everything out.

Virtual school is the answer for many kindergartners and their parents
Gillette News Record Sat, 01 Sep 2007 4:56 PM PDT

Last year, Allie Martin had a hard time concentrating in school. She could focus well for about 20 minutes, but it was difficult to continue to grasp information after that.

Back to School: School prep in the virtual world
The Sentinel Sun, 02 Sep 2007 11:22 PM PDT

While most school districts work on decorating classrooms and ordering materials for inside, one online school is sending everything out.

Local kids link up to Virtual High School
Middletown Times Herald-Record Tue, 04 Sep 2007 11:10 PM PDT

Slate Hill — Jessica Alesandro filled her schedule at Minisink Valley High School this year with 11 classes, including three JROTC courses that stretch beyond the school day.

Griffin Bay School adds virtual academy
San Juan Journal Thu, 06 Sep 2007 10:23 AM PDT

In addition to its public schools, the San Juan Island School District has an alternative program that serves three different student bases in three very different ways.

Keystone National High School Redefines Academic Excellence with New Comprehensive Program for Full-Time Students

Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance Thu, 06 Sep 2007 8:59 AM PDT

PORTLAND, Ore.----Keystone National High School, recognized as an innovator in home education and distance learning approaches, announced today a new comprehensive program for their full-time students to ensure they have access to the latest resources and support they need to be successful in a virtual education environment.

Virtual School Working for One Ozarks Family
KOLR/KSFX Ozarks Thu, 06 Sep 2007 4:49 PM PDT

Missouri 's new state funded virtual instruction program is getting good grades from one local family. Missouri is the 25 th state to get a statewide virtual school program. And it really is statewide.


Virtual schooling growing at K-12 level
USA Today Fri, 07 Sep 2007 5:14 AM PDT

As a seventh-grader, Kelsey-Anne Hizer was getting mostly D's and F's and felt the teachers at her Ocala middle school were not giving her the help she needed. But after switching to a virtual school for eighth grade, Kelsey-Anne is receiving more individual attention and making A's and B's. She's also enthusiastic about learning, even though she has never been in the same room as her teachers.

Virtual K-12 Schools Can Help Students Improve Grades
Wired News Fri, 07 Sep 2007 11:47 AM PDT

Students whose grades are slipping may do better in a virtual school. Some report it's more one-on-one and they feel teachers are listening. Although it's ubiquitous at college and university, K-12 virtual schooling using e-mail, chat, IM and online lessons is just getting off the ground.

Virtual Learning Catching On At Elementary, High School Levels
WPBF Palm Beach Fri, 07 Sep 2007 5:49 AM PDT

Virtual learning is becoming ubiquitous at the college level but is still new at the elementary and secondary level, where skeptics question its cost and effect on children's socialization.

Virtual learning catching on at elementary, high school levels
Detroit Free Press Fri, 07 Sep 2007 3:39 AM PDT

As a seventh-grader, Kelsey-Anne Hizer was getting mostly D's and F's and felt the teachers at her Ocala middle school were not giving her the help she needed.

Virtual schooling growing at K-12 level
Boston Globe Fri, 07 Sep 2007 1:33 AM PDT

As a seventh-grader, Kelsey-Anne Hizer was getting mostly D's and F's and felt the teachers at her Ocala middle school were not giving her the help she needed. But after switching to a virtual school for eighth grade, Kelsey-Anne is receiving more individual attention and making A's and B's. She's also enthusiastic about learning, even though she has never been ...

More Kids Going To School Online
CBS News Fri, 07 Sep 2007 7:30 AM PDT

Virtual learning is becoming ubiquitous at colleges and universities, but remains in its infancy at the elementary and secondary level. However, virtual schools are growing fast - at an annual rate of about 25 percent at the K-12 level.

Next, the Yahoo News alert for cyber school.

Nine BEA students in district's program
Centre Daily Times Sat, 01 Sep 2007 5:35 AM PDT

Nine students have signed up to attend Bald Eagle Area's first in-house cyber school, a district administrator said this week.

Dual enrollment, flex schedules, cyber cafe features of new campus
The Ann Arbor News Tue, 04 Sep 2007 8:00 AM PDT

High school and college students attending Howell's new Parker High School Campus are in for a high-tech treat when classes resume today. The Kilt Shack, a store run by advanced marketing students, will offer a mostly staffless 24-7 operation.

Cyberschool lawsuit settled
The Beaver County Times Thu, 06 Sep 2007 6:10 PM PDT

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School plans to settle a lawsuit with a former vendor, despite claims by school officials that a fired management firm was responsible for payment.

Cyberschool nears meeting state standards
The Beaver County Times Thu, 06 Sep 2007 6:25 PM PDT

MIDLAND - The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School has met state requirements for academic progress for the first time since the 2003-04 school year, but it's got one more year to go before it gets out of the state's doghouse.

Moving to the Google News alert for virtual school.

Virtual school offers 14 classes; not just for adults
Maple Ridge News - BC, Canada

A large part in achieving that goal is the school district's Connected Learning Community, a virtual school offering courses from several of the district's ... [See all stories on this topic]

Another virtual school to come online in state
Garden City Telegram - Garden City,KS,USA

Yet another online program for Kansas high school students is springing up with Kaplan Academy of Kansas, a virtual high school operated by the national ... [See all stories on this topic]

MoVIP running despite bumps
Columbia Daily Tribune - Columbia,MO,USA

LOUIS (AP) - Missouri's new virtual school is up and running for the first time this month, despite bumps along the way, including hundreds of students who ... [See all stories on this topic]

Virtual school may soon be a reality in West Bend
Greater Milwaukee Today - WI, USA

The latest numbers from the West Bend School District have 26 students attending a virtual school - 13 of whom had previously attended West Bend schools. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Finally, the Google News alert for cyber school.

Students set own pace in online cyberschool
Arizona Republic - Phoenix,AZ,USA

Carl, 14, attends IQ Academy Arizona, a public cyberschool that has expanded to offer an online high school for the first time this year. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Kenya: E-Learning Takes Root in Schools
AllAfrica.com - Washington,USA

Cyber School Technology Solutions in conjunction with Cisco Systems has taken the challenge head on to roll out e-learning not only in the country but also ... [See all stories on this topic]

Bryn Mawr Cyber School Takes On More Students, Weathers Political ...
Evening Bulletin - Philadelphia,PA,USA

"Pennsylvania is a leader in the cyber school field," AHCS chief executive officer Wallace H. Wallace told The Bulletin. "Every parent in the Commonwealth ... [See all stories on this topic]

Nine BEA students in district's program
Centre Daily Times - Centre County,PA,USA

By Dena Pauling - dpauling@centredaily.com Nine students have signed up to attend Bald Eagle Area's first in-house cyber school, a district administrator ... [See all stories on this topic]

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