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Presentation on theme: "LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES: THE RAPID GROWTH OF K-12 ONLINE LEARNING Lancaster (2012) & Malone (2012) December, 2012 WERA."— Presentation transcript:

1 LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES: THE RAPID GROWTH OF K-12 ONLINE LEARNING Lancaster (2012) & Malone (2012) December, 2012 WERA


3 PRESENT FINDINGS FROM TWO CLOSELY RELATED RESEARCH PROJECTS Lancasters (2012) autoethnography describes, analyzes and interprets one leaders experience in leading an instructional focus on student learning and a group of online teachers in one of Washingtons oldest and most successful online programs. Malones (2012) mixed-methods study examines perceptions, interpretations and reactions of K-12 superintendents in Washington in response to the rapid growth of online learning. The findings provide intriguing insight into the current landscape of K-12 online learning. SESSION OBJECTIVE

4 Rapid growth of online learning Legislation focus on metrics, not learning Lack of quality control standards Competition not collaboration 3 rd party vendor involvement Lack of research on effectiveness CONTEXT

5 Washington State Superintendents and K-12 Online Learning: Leadership Perceptions, Challenges, & Opportunities MALONE (2012)

6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS Malone (2012) Q1 What are the issues that impede or support the implementation of online learning as perceived by Washington superintendents? Q2 What do Washington superintendents identify as the purposes for online learning? Q3 What recommendations do Washington superintendents suggest for successful implementation of online learning? Q4 How does district size, years of experience, and online status affect superintendent perceptions of the online learning environment?

7 METHODOLOGY Malone (2012) Mixed Methods Study ~ Online Survey 39 Closed & 5 Open-ended Survey Items Quantitative Analysis: Descriptive Statistics Pearsons Correlation Coefficient Qualitative Analysis: Constant Comparative Method

8 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK LeadershipInnovation Online Learning Change Complexity Leadership Visionary / Emergence Leadership Disruptive Innovation Innovation ~ Recommendations Leadership ~ Purposes Change ~ Issues Malone (2012)

9 201 RESPONDENTS Malone (2012) # of Superintendents Responding to Survey

10 RESPONDENTS Malone (2012)

11 RESPONDENTS Malone (2012)

12 RESPONDENTS Malone (2012)

13 Q1 ISSUES: FINANCIAL We provide online learning to 150-200 students. 50 are from our own district. The others from across the state. We could not offer either without the other. We need 150-200 to break even... and we still lose money compared to bricks and mortar schools. I am very skeptical of the motives of private companies and some school districts' purposes. While it is not likely generalizable, my perception is that in some instances there is more interest in making money than with teaching and learning. I am deeply troubled by districts using online learning to make money. The motives are overwhelmingly financial. It is clearly a method for school districts to add additional funds to the district. School districts in Washington State have used this process, knowingly, to pirate students from districts. With declining resources how can we possibly allocate funds that we don't have to researching these opportunities. They are important but we are just trying to survive right now! FINDINGS Malone (2012)

14 Q1 ISSUES: QUALITY The harm to local districts comes when the parents get sick of baby- sitting and send the student back to the home district and we have to pick up the loss of academic gains. Students are unsuccessful in online schools and then public school has to clean the mess up. I have issue with the quality of some of the programs, since these students often end up back in our system with inadequate skills. We find that students that come back to us from an online program have significant deficits in their learning. I worry that online programs that may be legally sufficient are not necessarily quality programs that provide an alternative pathway for student success, but they do provide dollars to a district. I have never heard, in my experience, whether or not these programs make an impact on student learning. FINDINGS Malone (2012)

15 Q1 ISSUES: REGULATION Living in the midst of school districts trying to push the limits of the new laws to bring in FTE, I am a bit jaded at this point. Online programs have to be regulated to weed out the money grabbers from the legitimate educators. The ever-changing funding for ALE makes investment risky. The idea that some schools profit from online courses with FTE, and that other school loose FTE is difficult. State agencies need to work together to remove road blocks to online learning. The state taking away 20% of the funding and opening their own online competition is definitely an issue! FINDINGS Malone (2012)

16 FINDINGS Q1 ISSUES Disagree Agree

17 Q2 PURPOSES: FLEXIBILITY Scheduling Flexibility (M=3.23) The purpose of online learning is to provide flexible opportunities for students in a system that is traditionally not flexible. Online Learning allows us to provide students with an opportunity to fulfill graduation requirements when they need to accrue credits. It gives students options and opportunities in a variety of situations young students get themselves into. FINDINGS Malone (2012)

18 Q2 PURPOSES: INDIVIDUALIZATION Meeting Individual Student Needs (M=3.13) Not all students learn the same way. Online learning gives those students an opportunity for an education who may not be able to attend a brick and mortar school for specific reasons. Online learning seems best suited to meeting unique, individual needs rather than serving large numbers of students. FINDINGS Malone (2012)

19 Q2 PURPOSES: OPTIONS Expanding Course Options (M=3.11) Online learning is a tool used in creating a continuum of services to meet the mission of ensuring the learning of all our children, not a whipping post for legislators and short sighted educators who may be afraid of change. The purpose is to provide a wider variety of opportunities for students to take courses. It is beneficial to have a variety of choices for students to engage in high quality learning environments. FINDINGS Malone (2012)

20 Q2 PURPOSES: CONCERNS I do not believe the purposes of online learning align with the practice. I believe districts rip off the system and have lost site of the purpose. There is a considerable gap between the stated potential for online learning and its actual implementation, which is profit-driven. FINDINGS Malone (2012)

21 FINDINGS Disagree Agree Q2 PURPOSES

22 Q3 RECOMMENDATIONS: BLENDING Face-to-face contact remains critical to maintaining an effective and sustained online learning program. Traditional and online learning together produce the best results. Strong face-to-face student-to-teacher relationships and interactions are essential as the mainstay of K-12 education. Teachers are still an important component of online learning. The human connection is critical. Online learning and blended classrooms are the future of education. We as educators must have the vision to allow these programs in our existing schools to support and enhance our more traditional academic programs. FINDINGS Malone (2012)

23 Q3 RECOMMENDATIONS: INDIVIDUALIZATION Online learning provides an opportunity for students who do not fit in the traditional classroom setting. I am very satisfied to have online learning available to the few learners who need the option but not on a widespread basis. Online learning should continue to be very limited to meet unique needs of individual students but not a replacement for the strong and good work being done with face-to-face instruction in schools. FINDINGS Malone (2012)

24 Q3 RECOMMENDATIONS: REGULATIONS OSPI needs to create reasonable reporting requirements and funding formulas. Regulate the funding of online learning very carefully from OSPI. Make an effort to limit abuse from revenue generating interests. Provide via statewide model so districts are not competing for students. Online programs, if offered to the public, should be offered and controlled 100% by OSPI. Develop stronger policies that discourage fly-by-night providers that create a churn in student enrollments for profit. Vetted courses should be made available at no cost to districts, funded by the state, so that access to educational services does not become even more inequitable. FINDINGS Malone (2012)

25 Q3 RECOMMENDATIONS: EXAMINATION Good grief, how many more hours should a young person spend in a virtual versus actual experience? Online programs exacerbate the problems of regular schools, rather than solve them. In general, online learning is not a meaningful learning experience. We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand on this issue. Technology will continue to infuse itself into education; we can embrace it or get choked by it. The decision to offer online programming should be based on student need, not the administrative prejudices or limitations of the adults in the system. We are all convinced that the breakthrough strategy for improving the quality of instruction that students receive, and for improving the quality of professional learning for teachers, is the meaningful collaboration of teachers who share students and content. This is not a feature of online instruction, and in fact online programs are a step backward toward isolation of practice and norms of autonomy vs. the norms of collaboration we have been working to establish. FINDINGS Malone (2012)

26 Q4 DEMOGRAPHIC AFFECT FACTORS Experience District Size Online Status FINDINGS Malone (2012)


28 Malone (2012) FINDINGS Agree Disagree Q4 DEMOGRAPHIC: DISTRICT SIZE

29 Malone (2012) FINDINGS Disagree Agree Q4 DEMOGRAPHIC: ONLINE STATUS

30 Leading Online: An Autoethnography Focused on Leading an Instructional Focus on Student Learning in an Online School LANCASTER (2012)

31 Q1 What characteristics of an online learning environment trigger teachers to focus on management issues rather than learning issues? Q2 What conditions might be in place to help teachers manage their online workload effectively so they can shift discussions from management and metrics to student-centered learning? Q3 What leadership behaviors need to be undertaken to inspire a culture of support to engage teachers in analyzing the teaching and learning process in the online classroom? RESEARCH QUESTIONS Lancaster (2012)

32 Autoethnography Better understand the story behind the data Analytic Autoethnography Emphasis not about self; rather it is about searching for understanding of culture and/or society through self (Anderson, 2006) METHODOLOGY Lancaster (2012)

33 SOCIO-TECHNICAL THEORY Changes in technology bring about changes in values, cognitive structures, life styles habits and communication which profoundly alter a society and its chances of survival (Trist, 1981) THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Lancaster (2012)

34 Infrastructure Learning management system (LMS) Technology support Governance Compliance Policy Promotion Teaching and learning Course planning and design Formative and summative assessment Management Management for compliance Communication Issue resolution THEMES Lancaster (2012)

35 Q1 What characteristics trigger teachers to focus on management issues? Infrastructure: LMS Teaching and Learning: Course planning and design (management) Governance: Political systems driven by financial need and accountability, metrics about money Promotion: Important due to policy Management: Required by policy and technology FINDINGS Lancaster (2012)

36 Q2 What conditions help teachers manage their online workload effectively and shift from management to student-centered learning? Infrastructure: Technology manages, teachers teach Governance: Performance based measures for compliance, clear measures for student success Clarity of course layout and design: Guidelines about modifying and restructuring Management: Clear tracking tools, integration of LMS with SIS FINDINGS Lancaster (2012)

37 Q3 What leadership behaviors need to be undertaken to inspire a culture of support to engage teachers in analyzing the teaching and learning process in the online classroom? Clear consistent message, clear definition of program, roles, responsibilities that is consistent among all stakeholders Structure professional conversations around learning metrics Provide pressure relief when needed Remove barriers from teachers role such as funding, infrastructure and formatting FINDINGS Lancaster (2012)

38 SOCIO-TECHNICAL Increased time for student Efficient technology FINDINGS Lancaster (2012)

39 Common Themes GovernanceRegulations Financial ManagementQuality Concerns Flexibility Teaching & LearningBlending Individualization Infrastructure -Lancaster (2012) -Malone (2012)

40 Recommendations Lancaster (2012) Guided by a clear vision and compelling purpose Facilitate processes for teachers to come together to discuss student learning Provide human contact and daily checks with students Learning not technology should be the driver Malone (2012) Regional Adaptive Dialogic Work Statewide Superintendent Forums Accountability Legislation Blended Online Learning Common Core Standard Alignment


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