Friday, April 17, 2015

Week 14-15

In discussion with my principle, we both agreed that the schools are struggling to keep up with the technology changes that are occurring in the state. The school’s main reason for this is resistance by the teachers to the changes that are happening. Many teachers feel that they cannot teach students without being in a face to face environment. Another issue is finances. Technology is expensive and so is training on the equipment that is being used. Most districts need to pass bonds in order to get the technology that is required. Our school is awaiting a technology bond to see what direction we will go next. The hope is to begin to have a one to one technology plan. The next step is to begin to get teachers to start using and becoming more comfortable with the technology. The hope for our school is to have a web learning portion in every class. However, when talking to our principle that date that would be started by is not something he has thought about yet.

Scenario 1 I think a rural school district would benefit greatly by offering online courses. The students would have more options to chose from when selecting courses. The school would not have to worry about having enough students enrolled in a course to make the face to face class run. It may allow the district to share responsibilities of running the course with neighboring districts to help reduce the work load that the teachers and staff would have. Maybe the online classes could be run by the county to help all districts within that area.

Scenario 2 I think the idea of not wanting a specific teacher is not a reason to move a student into a different class. I understand that sometimes there are teachers that not all students will get along with. I also understand that all teachers do not teach the same way and some teaching styles may not be best for all students. However, by moving a student into a different class simply because they do not like that teacher is not really preparing them for college or for a job. Let’s face it, everyone has to deal with people that they may not like or may not get along with as a college professor, a coworker, or even as a boss. Teaching the student to complain and avoid challenging situations does not prepare the student for life after high school.

Scenario 3 Situations like this are a great example of why we need to pretest and post test students. This way they can measure what they new before they got into the class as well as what they knew when they left the class. This will give a true representation of what the student learned or did not learn within the time they were with that teacher. Without pretesting a student’s grade does not measure what was taught by the teacher. Not every F student did not improve in their knowledge level while with the teacher, and not every “A” student improved their knowledge level while with that teacher.

Scenario 4 In this situation I think that the stress that is put on the teacher by not being able to have direct contact with a particular student is one that can make things very difficult. I think the teacher would need to work hard to embrace virtual communication tools such as email, Google hangouts, Skype, twitter, or facebook. I would hope that the district would not make the teacher teach all the regular classes as well as an online class. The teacher of an online class should teach one less class throughout the day to give them time to work on their materials and thing s that are necessary for the class.

Scenario 5 I think that online classes would be very beneficial to home bound students. It would make the current home bound situation much easier. The student would have access to the things that they need and not have to rely on one tutor to help them learn the material. The student would also learn from a person that was directly responsible form teaching that material and not a tutor that is working as a mediator between the actual teacher and the student.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

K-12 online learning part 2

I think for the most part I was correct in most of the things that I posted in my initial thoughts on K-12 online learning.  I was correct in thinking that schools offer online classes that are not offered as part of the regular curriculum, ever I thought most of this was done as part of credit recovery.

I did however find some things that surprised me when going through the readings. One of which was how quickly the growth of the online learning environment has occurred. The amount of students taking an online course has increased greatly since the early 2000's. After doing the reading I was surprised to see that Michigan had one of the bigger virtual schools, with a lot of courses offered to different students. I also did not know the Michigan had eight fully virtual charter schools. Another thing that surprised me was how many schools with smaller enrollments used online courses and virtual learning. I would've assumed that would've been more popular amongst bigger school districts. Another thing that I was surprised to see is how much your virtual schooling is used for advanced students in advanced classes. My current experience with virtual classes has been mainly in elective classes and as credit recovery. I was surprised to see that cheating in online courses is not more prevalent than regular courses.