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Online Education of K-12

I have spent my holiday today, between loads of laundry, immersed in the readings and exploring different websites, that discuss online learning for K-12 students.  Our reading in Palloff and Pratt helped me get a sense of what online learning might look like in secondary and post secondary situations.  To be honest, I don’t think I would have been ready for this type of learning until my last few years of college.  It was not surprising that our second reading was a study that showed that the numbers of online programs grew as the grade level advanced.  This of course made me question what a program would look like with younger students.
The first site I found was  http://www.k12.com/what-is-k12/approach-to-learning/part-6-avoiding-misconceptions/.  This site, which I actually registered with, allowed me to search for a location in Illinois.  I learned that the Chicago Virtual Charter School has an online program.  It is affiliated with the Chicago Public Schools (my Alma Mater) and sounded interesting.  This link takes you to a series of videos that gave me information regarding their teaching philosophy. Their program was based on Core Knowledge, a philosophy that our district rejected some eight years ago.  I did check out some of their sample lessons that were nicely done. .  I just spent the next hour checking out sample lessons for younger kids ( My fifth grader did do the HS Virtual Lab for Acids and Bases since this is something our Science Olympiad team is working on)  We both liked the material but I just could not get past the fact  the whole core knowledge thing.
The next site   http://www.inacol.org/ took me to the website of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning offers education in the form of webniars for teachers (cheap if you become a member) and they also had an excellent article from 2007 from the North American Council for Online Learning, http://www.inacol.org/research/docs/national_report.pdf , that reviewed many of the things we have been learning about in this course.  Although it is a long article it is nicely organized and a good resource to refer to later.   Have a great week!

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Module 5-Purpose, Social Loafing, Group Size Edmodo Resources

Looking for some resources this week was fun because there is so much out there on online communities, however,  kids did threaten an intervention when I told them to “just toss a frozen pizza in the oven”  for the second night in a row.  I found two excellent resourcesthat related to this weeks readings. The first one, Defining the Purpose of Your Community,  <http://www.fullcirc.com/community/communitypurpose.htm>  focusing on defining the purpose of the community and how this is crucial to the success.  The second article, Online Groups and Social Loafing: Understanding Student-Group Interactions, <http:www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter84/piezon84.htm>, explains what social loafing is and its impact, discusses building task interdependence and  group size.   The article proposes that the larger the group the better for brainstorming but smaller groups are better for online learning and discussion.  Unlike Palloff and Pratt,who propose 5-10 members, this article  does not suggest any particular number.  Students perceptions in larger groups are what often holds them back as the members do not feel as effective or as capable of making meaningful contributions.  I am also including three resourses about Edmodo.  I found the first two during my own search and the last was sent to me this morning from our media specialist.  I hope you get a chance to check these out.  See you all tomorrow at our F2F ( is that text language for face to face?)

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter84/piezon84.htm

http://www.ourschool.ca/secure-social-networking-for-the-classroom-using-edmodo.html

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/special_segments&id=7267977

Module 4 Online Learning Communities- The Good, the Bad and the Future

I was very struck by this weeks reading, that very honestly looked at both the positive and negative aspects of on-line learning.   It also brought up many of the current and future challenges as well.  I was doing fairly well with the material until it mentioned  the challenges that extroverts have, to be successful with on-line communication in general.  Since I fall into this catagory I had to accept this challenge.  My eyes and back , as the text mentioned, are not always cooperating but my heart is in this for the long haul. 

    Check out some interesting videos I came upon.  I will admit my brain just needs some visual entertainment now and again . The first two are educational, however, the quality is not that great.  They talk about many of the points that were discussed in this weeks reading.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KMJCZNmHEw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iody0dP9GVw&feature=related

This one is a well done slide presentation with nice music and a good summary of  online communities.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxPyccpa-LU 

This ones just for fun but you have to be a very fast reader and like some Star Wars humor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj4M2bgzdhQ&feature=related

This final one is a glimpse into the future by looking at whats going on today in online Communities Public Education-K-12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jU1WujyADk&feature=related

I hope you have the time to watch!

Karen’s Top Three Resources for Module 3

     I realize that I should have posted this before the discussion question, however, I needed to get my DQ  done early as I have church tonight and Boy Scout Court of Honor tomorrow night.  As usual the visual learner in me was drawn to media presentations.  I found some wonderful presentations in SlideShare and was not surprised after reading Martin-Kniep, that many of these  learning communities were done for business.  They really have done some wonderful presentations to encourage innovation, development and change.  After narrowing my search I found two presentations that were specifically related to schools.   The first was a presentation by Stephen Downes, Trinity College, University of Melbourne in 2001. http://www.slideshare.net/Downes/building-a-learning-community  While an older resource, the message rings true today.  Downes answers the question, “Why have learning communities?,” as well as reviewing the attributes of a community and the roles of a facilitator.   The second presentation “Virtual Learning Communities by Sheyl Nussbaum-Beach,  http://www.slideshare.net/snbeach/virtual-learning-communities referred to some models that could be compared to Martin-Kniep’s writings.  The 4L Model inspired by John Seely Brown is highlighted (Linking, Lurking,, Learning, Leading) and the Four C’s (Consumer, Commentor, Contributor and Commentator).  The four C’s seemed to be inline with the four levels mentioned by Martin-Kniep (beginning, developing established and systemic).  I think what was so intriguing to me about both of these presentations was their focus on using  technology, to connect, support, and disseminate learning, in these communities.  Not surprising with the University of Melbourne presentation as Australia were early pioneers in distance learning (for obvious reasons).   My last resource recommendations really is not directly related to our topic, but does challenge traditional isolation of the teacher in a classroom.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfXWvNuJOkE  It is a great YouTube flick about  “thinking out of the box” with education.  It was just so well done that I had to share it .

I am not sure if I am doing this correct but here goes.  In my stumblings over the last 3-4 days I noticed that I was late doing this.  I am finding that I love to read to much and I sit down to read some of these blogs and 4 hours later I’m still reading when my husband comes down to ask me if I plan to go to bed.  I found a great number of new blogs out their for OT’s in the schools, (I was only really familiar with the American Occupational Therapy Associations) which I am happy to say I even read some of the achives back two years.  I won’t bore you with OT stuff but I did want to share one I found that I can use with the students I work with.   http://kidblog.org/home.php  I am excited to work with one of my groups and their teacher in setting up a project.  I hope some of you get a chance to check it out.

On another note: For our family movie night Sunday we watched  “Julie &Julia” based on a true story about a women who cooks and blogs her way through Julia Child’s entire cook book in one year.  It’s a great movie. I will try to be more prompt with my postings in the future.  This is all so new to me.

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