Presentation on theme: "Educational Technology in Arkansas Promises and Pitfalls in Virtual Schooling."— Presentation transcript:
Educational Technology in Arkansas Promises and Pitfalls in Virtual Schooling
The Promise of Virtual Schooling – Learning Outcomes By now, nearly everyone has heard about the U.S. Department of Education study on the effectiveness of blended and fully online learning. Reality check – there are very few rigorous research studies of the effectiveness of online learning for K-12 students.
The Promise of Virtual Schooling Expanding educational access Providing high-quality learning opportunities Improving student outcomes and skills Kellogg and Politoski (2002); Berge and Clark (2005); Cavanaugh (2001); Zucker (2005); Freedman, Darrow, Watson, and Lorenzo (2002); Hernandez (2005); Fulton (2002b);
The Promise of Virtual Schooling – Reaching Marginalized Students Students who have not been successful in the traditional school environment, due to behavioral problems and other issues, may find success in online education (Fulton, 2002b).
Cyber schools generally A haven for the bullied, the bored, the sick, and the slow. Better for special needs and alternative students – No bells or distractions – No seven periods, so you can continue a focus – No commute (green!) – Better teacher monitoring through new software – Constant measurement – As much time as you need – Better at-risk intervention
SunTech charter Special education students and parents were more likely than their general education peers to cite teaching/learning and bullying/social issues as reasons for choosing a virtual school.
more Special education students and parents were more likely than their general education peers to cite school culture and teaching and learning criteria as important to their satisfaction with SunTech as a cyberschool.
In the Classroom at Suntech Customize schooling – Teachers build relationships with families – At-risk intervention teams – Teachers select programs, assign them, and monitor empowered kids – Technology adapts to individual learning style: “I was a great math tutor, but we have a number of programs than are better than I am, so now I just assign and monitor their progress, and then assign again.” – Instant access to data and instant feedback! – Differentiate in the classroom – Admin can monitor
There was no flexibility for my son at his old school, and he needed it. We were trying different add/adhd meds which had some negative side effects and very little grace was given to him for tests and homework, despite many efforts to communicate to all the teachers…Also, learning in a structured environment where he has to focus all day was frustrating for him and he came home unmotivated. I have none of those concerns now. [Suntech] has set it up for me to be always "in the know." I can keep accountability while my son focuses on the academic stuff. Also, he can take breaks, get up, and walk around as much as he wants. It suits him so much better. No peers or teachers are annoyed by his fidgeting. If he misses something in class, he can just play it back later. My son is very relational and the school really makes efforts to flesh out the teachers. They see their pictures and sometimes see them live in class. The teachers really make entering their virtual classrooms unique based on their personality. Also, we can go to the teaching center and get face to face help or interaction if needed. ADD/ADHD case
Post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety. Work full time and having a baby soon. I was being bullied in school. I don't like to fight unless I have to. I cannot concentrate [sic]. Talked too much in school. Here I can study and to my work at my pace and don’t have problems with the students. I wasn't being bullied. I just got into lots of fights. I was having severe migraines that were causing me to miss a lot of school. My sleeping cycle was very off because of the loss of control I had over it due to my migraines. I did not want to continue missing school, so I decided to keep up academically at least at home through cyber school. A cousin had done it after she got married, so I took her advice and did it too. After my migraines ceased, I continued here because I felt the environment was keeping me from otherwise negative influence from my peers in traditional school. Although I do miss the interaction and being able to get to know my teachers and classmates better. Alternative students
I do not have to deal with my daughter coming home from school upset almost everyday [GIC] because of peer pressure and the bullying. I also do not have to deal with school administrators who, in my opinion, try to handle the situation to the point that being politically correct and not hurting the feelings of the bully is important. My daughters [GIC] guidance counselor to my daughter and her previous two friends who were spreading rumors and picking on her, in his office, "just make up and be friends again." Bullying
Teaching and learning Compared to my child's previous school I find [SunTech] to be better for my son. He is able to focus better on assignments since they are thoroughly [SIC] explained. If he has any questions he can contact his teacher online and gets a response right away. He can also go over his virtual recorded [SIC] classes if he misses or wants to go over class again. Assignments are always explained in a way he can follow. He gets plenty of time to do assignments for each class. My daughter is learning at a faster pace at the cyber school. In fact her math teacher saw that she was a little bored and he invited her into his stats class so she was in two classes. She had gained that much more from going to the cyber school because our brick and mortar local school does not even offer statistics.
Pitfalls The “Silver Bullet” mentality Need for technology infrastructure The “walled garden” approach