Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sad News

To all who read this blog, knew and loved Jim Tice -

Our beloved Mr. Tice passed away Monday, December 8, 2008. The world will not be the same without him.

More information will be posted as it is received.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Keeping Pace With Online Learning

The Annual NACOL Virtual School Symposium announced the 2008
"Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning" . Note below several
links regarding this report.
Report assesses K-12 online learning
While online learning is growing rapidly, its continued growth will require specific policy and funding changes that focus on increasing educational choices and opportunities while ensuring high quality and improved student achievement, according to a new report. Read More
"Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning," the fifth in an annual series of reports examining the online-learning landscape, debuted at the North American Council for Online Learning's (NACOL's) Virtual School Symposium on October 27. The report recommends several policies to increase online learning options for students. Link: Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning 2008
Don't forget to visit the Online Learning for High School Success resource center. Preventing high school dropouts has become a key focus of education stakeholders and government officials across the country, as the skills taught in high school are imperative to students' success. But with online credit recovery programs and virtual learning becoming more accessible to more students, many are able to regain momentum and graduate with high school diplomas. Go to: Online Learning for High School Success

International Distance Learning Day in the virtual world of Second Life: The French Connection

The US Distance Learning Association is sponsoring National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) held on November 10-14, 2008 and seeks to promote and celebrate the tremendous growth and accomplishments occurring today in distance learning programs offered by schools, businesses, and governmental departments (USDLA).

In support of this initiative, and highlighting the global reach of virtual environments, several organizations are collaborating to present and celebrate the tremendous potential of the virtual world of Second Life for distance learning. On November 10th, a full-day conference is scheduled that will include presentations from within Second Life and in real life at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne. Those attending in Second Life should go to Selmo Park: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Selmo%20Park/67/174/26

Presentations will begin November 10 at 12:30 am SLT and run through 8:00 am SLT
“We hope that you will join us by logging in to Second Life and teleporting to Selmo Park to attend the presentations virtually,” said Bryan Carter, Conference Coordinator. “The live presentations will be broadcast into Second Life. There is no charge to attend the event at Selmo Park in Life.”

Those attending in Second Life need to have audio capability and the latest version of Quick Time to view events from the real world.

The first presentation will be at 9:30 am Paris time/12:30 am SLT students of the L’Ecole Nationale Sup√©rieure des Arts D√©coratifs de Paris “Eden of the Lost Animal.”

Other featured speakers include Bryan Carter, University of Central Missouri; Ed Lamoureaux, Bradley University; Jeremy Kemp, San Jose State University; Claudia Linden from Linden Labs; AJ Kelton from Montclair State University; Tim Linder Meramec Art Department; Beth Ritter-Gluth, Literature Alive, and more (see schedule).

Collaborating organizations include: University of Central Missouri, the Alliance Virtual Library in Second Life, the Bibliotheque Francophone, and the L’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs de Paris. For more information about this exciting day, please contact Bryan Carter at bc7@mac.com.

Orientations for those new to sl will be held in Selmo Park on Sunday, November 9.
12noon SLT - Georgette Whitfield will do hers in French and English for the European time zones.

1pm SLT - Daisyblue Hefferman will do those in US time zones
People are free to attend either one.

Location slurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Selmo%20Park/67/174/26

Texas Expands Virtual School

by Dave Nagel

According to information released , the Texas Virtual Academy at Southwest (TXVA) has received approval from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to expand its service area and enroll more students from across the state. The move will double the number of students that can enroll in the school, which is operated by K12 Inc. and Southwest Schools under TEA's two-year-old Electronic Course Program.

According to the school, it will now be able to enroll up to 1,500 students from 13 regional education service centers (regions 1 through 8, 10 through 13, and 20). In 2007-2008, it served 750 students from three regions. The school serves students in grades 3 through 8.

"Our goal at Southwest Schools is to give students access to high quality educational opportunities," said Janelle James, COO and CAO for Southwest Schools, in a statement released Monday. "TXVA provides an exciting education experience that provides kids with the benefit of personalized learning along with public school structure and accountability. We are grateful for the leadership and guidance of Kate Loughrey from TEA's Department of Distance Learning as we've expanded this program to meet the needs of more children across the state."

Web-based learning will be provided through the K12 Online School, a system that's being used by some 40,000 students in 17 states in statewide public and other e-learning programs. Through the tuition-free program, students will have access to standard core subjects (language arts, math, science, etc.). Course materials are shipped to students' homes for courses that require textbooks, hands-on materials, or other supplies. State-certified teachers facilitate learning through the program.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kindergarten Goes Virtual

by Dian Schaffhauser

Rose Tree Media School District in Pennsylvania will be continuing its Virtual Kindergarten program this year at one of its elementary schools after piloting it during 2007-2008. The program uses Wimba Classroom, a suite of virtual classroom services that include audio, video, application sharing, and content display; and Wimba Voice, which allows the teacher to embed audio, including voice, into a Web page.

The idea of the Virtual Kindergarten is to support and enrich the half-day in-person program and increase parent involvement in their child's education. Goals for the kids include teaching students about online safety and digital citizenship and to build on the technology skills the students already possess when they arrive at school.

Managed by one teacher with experience in distance learning and video production, parents have to opt in to obtain a parent email account. Registration also puts them on the list to receive "Virtual K" announcements with details about weekly extra-curricular activities. The only technical requirement for parents is having a computer with fast Internet access to accommodate video and podcasting.

The virtual school includes interactive lessons to augment literacy, numeracy, technology, and science standards, as well as individual lessons that cater to a specific child's needs. Lessons during the 2007-2008 school year included a dinosaur counting game, story reading, and number counting practice. The site provides links to other online resources for the activities that students and their parents participate in.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Colorado Virtual High School Launches

by Dave Nagel

Colorado's Julesburg School District has partnered with Insight Schools to launch a new online virtual public high school that's being offered tuition-free to students throughout the state. The new virtual school, Insight School of Colorado, will launch its first semester in August, with course selection taking place this month.

The Insight School of Colorado is a full-time, diploma-granting online high school targeted particularly to students who have not been successful in traditional learning environments or who are served better in non-traditional environments. According to Insight, these include advanced learners; home-schooled students; full-time wage earners; students with health or physical challenges; and those who may have struggled socially in a traditional school.

It's also targeted toward students who are homeschooled or have barriers to attending physical school, such as those live in remote areas or have disabilities. It's also aimed at those looking to fast track courses or make up for lost credits.

The school is offering more than 120 courses online initially, from remedial to AP-level courses. It's also offering an "iMentor" program, 24-hour support, tools for parents, and various interactive features for students to chat, meet, and otherwise socialize online and in person. (In person activities include traditional field trips and school dances.)

Laptops are being provided by the school.

Information sessions are being held throughout the state May 15 through May 22. Course selection begins this month, and the fall semester starts Aug. 25. Insight Schools serve about 2,500 students presently in California, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin. Further information about the Colorado school can be found here.

Going Virtually to High School


Reynolds High School students will have the option of attending class entirely online this year.

The online school, which will be run by Kaplan Inc., will begin with 150 students in grades 9-12, with plans to expand to a 7-12 school the following year. It will be the first online charter school based in east county.

The school board approved the school, Oregon Virtual Education Partners, at its June meeting.

The move follows statewide debates about the scope of online charter schools. Since Oregon''s first online charter, Connections Academy, opened in 2005, the state has imposed stricter regulations on how many out-of-district students virtual schools can recruit. Now, 50 percent of students attending an online school must live in the sponsoring school district. Students attending out of district must have permission from their home districts. New online schools also are limited to about 100 students per grade level.

Connections Academy, which has a contract through 2010, received a waiver. Sponsored by the small Scio school district in Linn County, that for-profit K-12 Web school has about 1,800 students. Last year, 99 percent of the students at the academy lived outside the Scio district.

Full Story

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Distance Learning in New Mexico

New Mexico Launches Statewide eLearning Initiative

As part of its Innovative Digital Education and Learning (IDEAL-NM) initiative, New Mexico is launching a statewide program to standardize on a single electronic learning platform--Blackboard--spanning K-12, higher education, adult education, and government. The initiative will also support a new statewide virtual high school.

The initiative will see new Mexico consolidate 22 existing systems into a single Blackboard system through Blackboard's Managed Hosting service. The initiative spans the state's 89 public school districts and 25 public colleges and universities, adult education, and workforce development programs, as well as state agencies, which will use the platform for training purposes.

Click to continue:


Montgomery Advertiser, AL

Money from a $1 billion bond issue will be used to expand a distance learning program to every high school in the state.

At a press conference today, Gov. ...http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080708/NEWS/80708013

Virtual school loses half its students

Friday, June 20, 2008
By Lindy Bavolek
Southeast Missourian

Joanna Thomsen compares her experience with Missouri's virtual school to childbirth: something she is glad she did but would never want to repeat.

"We went through a lot of work; the kids did a lot of growing. But by the time the year was over we were all totally exhausted and never wanted to go through it again," she said.

Her thoughts echo complaints raised statewide. In Missouri's Virtual Instruction Program's inaugural year, 3,200 students attempted the program, but only 1,800 completed it. Both the families the Southeast Missourian followed in November, the Thomsens and the Nanneys, finished the online courses but will not be re-enrolling.

"I attribute that mainly to people not knowing what they were getting themselves into," said Curt Fuchs, director of the program known as MoVIP. "It is a new program, and I think there were some mental ideas that it would be easier than it actually was. Online classes are not a fit for everyone."

(click on Virtual school loses half its students for complete article)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

State offers free online high school courses

Connecticut becomes the latest to launch a virtual-schooling program From eSchool News staff and wire service reports

The newly launched Connecticut Virtual Learning Center will offer 21 courses beginning Jan. 23.

Beginning this month, high school students in Connecticut can enroll in free online courses through a pilot program called the Connecticut Virtual Learning Center.

The courses are aimed at students at risk of falling behind as well as those who are interested in electives not offered at their own schools. Each Connecticut high school will decide whether to give students credit for taking the courses.

The pilot program offers courses in basic subjects, taught by state-certified teachers, for students who need credits to graduate. It also offers other electives, such as Mandarin Chinese and “Shakespeare in Film,” through a partnership with an out-of-state virtual-schooling provider.

The idea is to allow students who have fallen behind to catch up online rather than in summer school and also to provide interesting electives that are not widely available.

“We want to use online courses to increase access to high-quality content, so that every student in Connecticut will have access to the courses they need, when they need them,” said Gov. M. Jodi Rell, the state's first Republican woman chief executive.

The program is funded by an $850,000 state grant and is free of charge for Connecticut school districts and students.

The Connecticut Virtual Learning Center is offering 21 courses for its first semester, which begins Jan. 23.

Students can participate only if their local school district is enrolled in the program. Private school and home-schooled students cannot yet take courses.

Students will get help with time management from pacing charts that will tell them what work should be completed when.

Students will complete the same types of assignments as in face-to-face classes, but they will access course materials and submit work online, work at their own pace, and communicate with teachers online or by telephone and with other students via the internet, said Gretchen Hayden, director of business and partnership programs for the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium, which runs the virtual learning center.

Eight “core curriculum” courses, including algebra, English, and earth science, have rolling enrollment from Jan. 23 to Feb. 25. ("Rolling enrollment" allows student-initiated, independent participation without a specified enrollment schedule such as by quarter or semester.) Another 13 courses, including art and the internet, music composition, and biotechnology, are offered through the Virtual High School, a Massachusetts-based program open to students worldwide. Those courses will be held from Jan. 23 to May 6, with enrollment on a first-come, first-served basis.

Vincent Mastaro, senior state associate for policy services at the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, said virtual schools are quickly becoming part of the landscape of American education.“

There are some school systems with very small high schools. That extremely limits what they can offer,” he said. “You can offer it online; it can be offered to so many students in so many schools.”

Florida established the first state-funded online learning program in 1997, and 29 other states also offered state-led online learning programs as of 2007, according to a recent report.

With the launch of its Virtual Learning Center, Connecticut becomes the 31st state to offer such a state-led program. Although many of the state’s students have been taking online classes through the Virtual High School for some time, this is Connecticut’s first effort to develop an online educational program funded entirely by the state and staffed by its own teachers.


Connecticut Virtual Learning Center

Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium

Virtual High School

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

KSDK coverage of St. Louis Public Schools virtual school.

KSDK Channel 5, St. Louis recently reported on the new St. Louis Public Schools virtual school. There is no charge to St. Louis Public Schools students. Jo Anne Reese of the district, commented during the broadcast that students outside the St. Louis Public School district are invited to enroll, however, they will be required to pay tuition. Click below to view the news story at the KSDK site.http://www.ksdk.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=127641

Additional seats in the statewide MoVIP program are open for enrollment on a “first come, first serve” basis due to a few withdrawals.

MoVIP running despite bumps - Enrollment reopens for online school.

Published Friday, August 31, 2007

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.

Missouri’s virtual instruction program, known as MoVIP, allows elementary and high school students around the state to take classes online using the Internet.

School officials said yesterday they have reopened enrollment because the program now has spots to accommodate more students. There are 1,800 students currently taking part, with room for as many as 400 more this school year...

Click below for complete article...http://www.columbiatribune.com/2007/Aug/20070831News010.asp