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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Virtual School Clearinghouse

I think I may have posted something about this before, but if not here are the goods.

This is a research project down at the University of Florida. In their own words...
The Virtual School Clearinghouse (VSC) is a website documenting a collaborative research project sponsored by the AT&T Foundation and the University of Florida. VSC seeks to aggregate and analyze data from virtual schools, particularly focusing on state-led virtual schools in the 9 state AT&T region. Drawing on existing research and current virtual school practice, the VSC provides multiple tools and metrics vital for school improvement.

Within this site, you will find collections of resources including research on virtual schooling, instruments used to evaluate virtual schooling, and websites dedicated to the topic. As a guest, you may browse these resources. Freely join as a registered guest and you may add and comment on resources. If you are a virtual school, contact us to share your data, and you will have free access to data analyses tools and evaluation instruments. These tools will help provide timely, continuous feedback for data-driven decision making and evaluation of existing policies and practice.
At the recent Virtual School Symposium in Louisville, their team made three presentations:
  1. Informing Policy & Practice: Research on the Best Practices of Virtual School Teachers - Meredith DiPietro
  2. Improving Virtual Schools: A Collaborative Research Partnership - Richard Ferdig, Kim Mulky, Meredith DiPietro, Erik Black & Jeff Boyer
  3. Instructional Perspectives of Best Practices: Successful Strategies in Virtual School Courses - Richard Ferdig, Meredith DiPietro, Erik Black, Jeff Boyer & Kim Mulky
The third one was one of the presentations that was webcast by NACOL.
Instructional Perspectives of Best Practices: Successful Strategies in Virtual School Courses (Richard Ferdig)

This session will focus on the results of a collaborative effort undertaken between the University of Florida and Michigan Virtual to investigate the instructional practice of effective virtual school teachers. The goal of this session is to initiate conversations that can provide a basis for developing the body of research on K-12 best practices for online teaching by sharing the outcomes of this collaboration, and providing members from MVU an opportunity to share their perceptions and practices of virtual school teaching. Webcast

One of the items from the Clearinghouse's website that I will point out is their Resources > Bibliographies (see http://vs.education.ufl.edu/VirtualSchool/Bibliographies.aspx for a direct link). Apparently it is largely the citations from one of the team member's own dissertations, but still a fairly good list (even if much of it isn't specific to virtual schooling).

Anyway, this is the last sheet that I picked up while at the Virtual School Symposium, so this should be the last entry on the content of the conference (minus my own presentation, which I am still trying to figure out how to host my podcast).

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