Posted by: staceykelly1 | February 22, 2010

What Works in Distance Learning

A great resource looking at practical strategies that work in distance and or blended modes of curriculum delivery. This resource distills ideas down to basic principles that are easy to apply, based on research. Available as an eBook or through Amazon.

What Works in Distance Learning.

Posted by: staceykelly1 | December 13, 2009

Centre for Learning Innovation Goodies

For those of you that teach within the NSW DET you might be interested in the following three goodies from the Centre of Learning Innovation some have been around for a while, some have been updated and some are new:

  1. CLI CURLS – Social bookmarking tool much like delicious.
  2. CLI Learning Activity Wizards (LAW) – The Learning Activity Wizards (LAW) enable users to create reusable, interactive and accessible multimedia learning activities. They are pretty easy to use and would be great for IWBs.
  3. CLI Learning Reference Repository (LRR) – is a collaborative distributed resource management tool that provides a range of services for DET staff, teachers and content developers where they can Search, Browse, Deposit, Approve and collaborate on learning resources.

These can be accessed from your portal under  the tab “My Applications”. I have had a bit of a play the CLI Learning Activity Wizards which by the way can be exported and then imported in LMS like Moodle, I am hoping CLI will build the option in shortly of sharing activities, commenting on others and some functionality like the LRR. In terms of CURLS I still use delicious for social bookmarking and I have only had a short look at the LRR.

Posted by: staceykelly1 | December 13, 2009

VOISE Academy, Chicago

This week I am visiting VOISE in Chicago. VOISE stands for ‘virtual opportunities in a school environment’ providing a blended approach utilising online learning, traditional f2f teaching with online curriculum. The systems utilised for this are Apex Learning which provides the curriculum/content and a LMS called School Town. VOISE started in 2008 with all freshman receiving a netbook for school, a refurbished desktop for home and support for internet access at home. 99% of students at VOISE are entitled to the reduced or free lunch program. The school also support its students by being opened longer hours Monday-Friday and being opened on the weekends for students. I took the following from their website: 

“The mission of VOISE Academy is to provide all students with choice, flexibility, scholarship, and individual attention by combining the use of technology, best distance learning practices, and quality online curriculum with exemplary secondary classroom teachers and student-centered philosophy. Our vision is to create a safe, academically successful school with a positive, interactive, technologically advanced environment that is rooted in developing relationships and respect. VOISE Academy will prepare its learners for living and working in today’s society while honing communication skills through online learning as a catalyst to future success and a lifelong love of learning.”

Posted by: staceykelly1 | December 10, 2009

Killick Centre for E-Learning Research

The Killick Centre for E-Learning is found within the School of Education at Memorial University, St John’s NL. It is focused on research into distance learning with a particular focus on Aboriginal students. I cam across it today while I was at CDLI at St John’s Memorial Univeristy…looks like it has some useful research articles on the front page which might be useful to people back k in NSW.

Posted by: staceykelly1 | December 7, 2009

Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (SCIL)

I met a fellow Aussie at the Virtual School Symposium, Stephen Harris who is the principal of the Northern Beaches Christian School, Sydney. He presented a session at the conference on transforming pedagogy in K-12 online and or blended settings reflecting on his schools journey and his own. He himself was a premier’s scholarship recipient a few years ago and visited schools and education departments in Scandinavia. At a result of this trip and also his progressive staff a number of innovative things have occurred including:

1. Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (SCIL) which is a unit within Stephen’s school which provides innovative professional learning for staff and also conducts research. A number of their papers are available for download from this site. They are currently exploring virtual worlds as an example of their projects.

2. NSW HSC Online which is an online site powered by Moodle which provides various stage 5 and 6 courses entirely online. There are currently around 300 students enrolled in courses offered by this service at various schools.

3. Beyond Borders is another initiative of this centre which actively promotes online collaborative projects between various schools and students internationally.

Some of you might also be interested in checking out their recent buildings and school improvement projects very impressive!

Posted by: staceykelly1 | December 7, 2009

Starting an Online/Blended Learning Program

One of the very first sessions I attended at the Virtual School Symposium was on the steps, issues and decision required if starting an online and or blended program. An expert panel from a wide range of programs presented the 3 hour session The decisions and issues discussed are split into first level and second level decisions and issues. Below is a quick summary: 

1st Level Decisions/Issues
Nature of the organisation
Target audience
Collaborating with stakeholders

2nd Level Decisions/Issues
Regulations and policy
Learning management systems
Administrative systems
Curriculum development
Teacher recruitment
Teacher preparation and support
Student recruitment and marketing
Student support
Quality assurance and evaluation
Access issues

Each of the above areas have associated questions linked to them and I also was given a number of different planning sheets in hardcopy for starting an online/blended program.

Posted by: staceykelly1 | December 7, 2009

Visit to Newfoundland Labrador

This week I am in Newfoundland Labrador (NL) which is a Canadian providence in the North East part of Canada on the Atlantic ocean. It has a total population of just over 500 000 people and covers 42 000 sq km in land size (NL could fit into NSW nearly 20 times). Their Department of Education caters for around 68 000 students K-12 and is split into 5 school districts. With regards to rural and distance education the education department has a central Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI) which was started in 2000 in response to a government inquiry. It is based at the local university St John’s Memorial University. Its mandate includes the development and delivery of senior high school distance education programming, development and delivery of online teacher professional development, and oversight of K-12 technology integration initiatives. It currently offers 38 courses to students attending 103 schools, primarily located in rural, remote and isolated communities across the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It also provides also provides an online guidance room and virtual tutoring in synchronous and asynchronous situations. The CDLI website can be accessed here.  During my time in NL I am visiting rural schools in Gander (apparently it is a 4 hour bus ride) and other parts of NL, talking with the CDLI team and visiting CDLI support centres.

Posted by: staceykelly1 | December 7, 2009

Finally Snow…

I didn’t want this blog to turn into a personal diary of my trip OS however one thing I was looking forward to was snow and I got it! Being someone from the bush I am more confident with dust storms than snow storms. I am in St Johns Newfoundland Labrador (NL, Canada) which is located on the eastern part of Canada at the moment. It has been snowing pretty much all day I ventured out a few times today to the coffee shop and to watch Brothers. Anyway I got invited out to dinner tonight which I accepted and said I would meet them there…big mistake…the RM’s are water proof just not snow proof nearly went down a few times LOL. Currently it is -2 degrees, it is still snowing and the wind is blowing around 70km/h. My hosts at dinner tonight were telling me it is not uncommon for rural students in NL to miss up to 20 days of schooling per year due to snow. Here are some pictures I took…the lady at motel thought I was a crazy Aussie!

Posted by: staceykelly1 | December 4, 2009

Open Educational Resources (OER)

One of the sessions I attended at the Virtual School Symposium was on Open Educational Resources (OER). They are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses to re-mix, improve and redistribute. Open educational resources include learning content eg full courses, learning tools and implementation resources. I have just put a bunch of OER weblinks in my delicious account (stacey.kelly1) tagged under OER. Here is one K-12 teachers need to look at though HippoCampus, it offers lessons and homework help.

Finally here is some educational jargon for some of you…I know how much some of you like it! Learning Object Repositories & Referatories? A repository is an online place where resources such as learning objects are centrally stored. Items may be found by browsing or searching databases by keyword. A referatory guides users to learning resources by providing weblinks to relevant content online.

Posted by: staceykelly1 | December 4, 2009

Interesting Articles/Blog

This week I came across a few interesting articles and a blog some of you might be interested in:

  1. Michael K. Barbour – is a researcher from Canada who is interested in distance learing K-12 using online tools. This link takes you to his homepage but he has a number of publications, blog and wiki.
  2. Creating enabling classroom practices in high poverty contexts: the disruptive possibilities of looking in classrooms (Article in Pedagogy, Culture and Society, Oct 09)
  3. The Cult of the Faceless Boss (Article The Economist, Nov 09)

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