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Monday, November 05, 2007

VSS2007 (Guest Blogger) - Informing Policy and Practice: Research on the Best Practices of Virtual School Teachers

Session notes from our guest blogger, Abby.

Research Practice and Policy with Online Teachers
Meredith DiPietro

Study overview
  • 12 teacher interviews focus general, content specific, and technology questions.
  • 2 layers of analysis-- 1. preliminary list of practices, 2. focused on distinctions.
Dimensions of Pedagogy
  • Establishing environmental context
    • Practices related to classroom management. structure-Virtual course classroom management needs to increase in focus. ALMOST UNEXPLORED from RESEARCH perspective
  • Facilitative connections between teacher and student. Student and content. Teacher student
  • Coaching content interactions (fluid practice and meeting students needs)
    • Question: how is facilitating connections – connecting students and content different that coaching student content interactions????
Facilitating connections:
  • Knowing student initially helps teachers adapt content and teaching. Core of teacher practice.
  • Standard: teacher post info about self. Student posts too.
  • accessibility issue – multiple means for contact. Helps form trust with students.
  • Connecting students and content
    • web-based and course based tools
    • Pedagogical content knowledge
    • Conversation: guided , redirected, directed student conversation. Used well designed prompts.
Experiential Context (what do to enhance, adapt course content)
  • Structuring the experience (enhancing the environment)
  • Observing the environment (delineating rules)
    • Cheating- encouraged students to keep going overwhelmingly when caught. Not give up.
    • Identifying students in personal crisis: discussion boards where found cues about student harming self or others. How address?
  • Variations – Adaptive release of content – Can't get to the next phase until pass the first phase. “Hide assignments' and only open up when sure that students covered content so not overwhelmed.
Coaching Content Interaction
  • Knowledge giver --> knowledge guide shift.
    • Individualized learning experiences
      • Mentor's role: intervened when change in performance. Filled in holes of F2F for students that needed that contact.
    • Collaborative interactions
      • group work.
  • Practice considerations
    • Diversity of students
    • Uniqueness of content
    • Affordances
      • pacing had to change based on students
      • course-based features/tools
  • Policy Recommendations:
    • Pre-service and inservice training in nuances of online learning. WHAT ARE THESE THOUGH?? Based on what she shared, seems the same as F2F.
    • Research on best practices --> Action research with teachers involved.
  • Caveat
    • Variations and variability in V.S.
    • Variation in instructor's situational context.
    • Research areas
      • Mentors
      • Distinction in practice between content areas
TPCK Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (technology is considered in the teaching of content knowledge)

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