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The charge of the task force (09-10) is to look at new K-12 educational delivery models such as online learning and identify trends and implications for independent schools, and recommendations. How is the K-12 education paradigm changing and how will that impact independent schools? The task force will produce guidelines in the style of the PGPs and Critical Questions for school leadership teams to use in their discussions and planning. What is unique about independent schools? How do you blend new tools/methods with human contact?
Albert begun a new page to organize the content below as CRITICAL QUESTIONS.

Some essential questions...
  • How does online learning impact the traditional classroom and/or free teachers to enhance learning in other ways?
  • What is unique about independent schools? How do you blend new tools/methods with human contact?
  • How does online learning and social networking impact relationships? What are social networking trends and how does this impact education?
  • How do independent schools pursuing distance education relate to colleges and universities moving into the delivery of secondary school courses?
  • How do we address leadership? How does leadership support the vision? Who are we speaking to? Who is our audience? What is their level of expertise or understanding of these tools & technologies?
  • Is this the best use of committee time? Are the issues of online learning of higher priority and importance to most schools than continuing to promote effective strategies of using technology to impact student learning?
  • How does the plethora of "web 2.0" tools change what teachers can do with students? What tools should teachers and students be taking advantage of? How can we use these tools to help students demonstrate what they know and understand? What skills do students demonstrate proficiency in?
  • How do we balance and reconcile promotion of online learning options with the socioeconomic realities, including the digital divide?
  • How do we ensure that the proliferation of old and discarded computers and other hardware in our school communities does not contribute to the troublesome waste and pollution problems that currently exist?
  • How closely are we monitoring the impact of online, computer, and other educational technologies on brain development?
  • What ethical considerations should guide our practices and policies and procedures in this areas?
  • How will online learning impact the long-term financial sustainability of independent schools?
  • What data does the task force need to gather in order to address the above questions?
  • What professional development models best model the participatory culture that our students enjoy in their daily lives?
  • How do we prepare our teachers for this new method of teaching? What is the best way to prepare a teacher for teaching at a distance?
  • How do we prepare our students for distributed learning and distributed cognition? What are the best practices for engaging students in understanding through distributed learning?
  • What standards will be implemented to address accountability and accreditation of online course?
  • How do we assure that questions of integrity, online behavior, and ethical use of technology are addressed at all levels?
  • How do we design online learning that serves a broad range of learning styles and needs?
  • How can we best move from content delivery to offering a complete educational experience?


Delivery Models
  • hybrid (combination of online and face2face)
  • fully online (how to blend synchronous and asynchronous effectively)
  • How can schools adopt some online learning experiences to improve educational experiences? Or does it need to be a completely separate initiative as Disrupting Class indicates? What are the Essential Conditions for either model in an Independent School? An example of Essential Conditions related to effectively leveraging technology for learning are:
  • Changing role of teacher/school, " "Our faculty are there to guide, direct, counsel, coach, encourage, motivate, keep on track, and that's their whole job," Mendenhall says. Multiple-choice tests are scored by computer, while essays and in-person evaluations are judged by a separate cadre of graders. What WGU is doing is using the Internet to disaggregate the various functions of teaching: the "sage on the stage" conveyor of information, the cheerleader and helpmate, and the evaluator." from:
  • Online/Blended courses should reflect the best practices of problem based learning moving away from direct instruction. This will require training/mentoring for most of our teachers.
  • Instructional design should be informed by appropriate theories for ID as well as learning theories appropriate for distributed learning.
  • synchronous tools
  • asynchronous tools
  • student apprentice models with expert educators guiding the process? (Third Wave by Alvin Toffler)
  • students teaching students (student videos...Howard's project)
  • Need for greater internet bandwidth, especially with the growing use of rich streaming media in online instruction

  • higher bandwidth leading to more use of interactive multimedia and synchronous classroom tools
  • colleges/universities dipping into k-12 space Example: Stanford's role in online high school
  • Changing the students we serve. If, for example, schools begin an online program, is the audience/student base completely different from who we currently serve? If our self motivated students opt to get an online degree, how different will the students we serve be?
  • Independent schools moving into the online space could do so in partnerships, groups, or consortiums of other schools.
  • From the Sloan Consortium (November 2008) "more than 20 percent of all U.S. college students were taking at least one online course in the fall of 2007."
  • From a recent Chronicle Research Services survey,The College of 2020: Students..."In 2020, almost a quarter of respondents think students will take 20 percent to 40 percent of their courses online..."
  • Do we need to offer students online courses to help them succeed in college?
  • For a quick summary of K-12 online learning trends, go to iNACOL's Fast Facts About Online Learning. Points below are included:
    • "K-12 online learning is a new field consisting of an estimated $50 million market, which is growing at an estimated annual pace of 30% annually."
    • "57% of public secondary schools in the U.S. provide access to students for online learning."
    • "According to the Sloan Consortium, the overall number of K-12 students engaged in online courses in 2007-2008, is estimated at 1,300,000. This represents a 47% increase since 2005-2006."

Emerging Themes:
  • Relationships/Community
    • new ways of building and strengthening relationships
    • new forms of communities
    • teacher/student and student/student
    • questions about the "meaning" of connectedness and community
  • Accessibility/outreach
  • Self-directed/empowered learners
  • In the changing paradigm, what are the "value-added" aspects of independent schools? Do the value-added aspects become more valuable?
  • Cost: High start-up costs but efficiencies of cost over time/populations served

Implications for Independent Schools
  • Who can "teach" such an online course? Does this open up opportunities for true collaboration that is most often not possible during a "bricks and mortar" day?
  • Global connections not possible before.
  • NM started an online school and found that most students, not all, need to have some sort of local presence helping them stay focused and get help when needed, to be successful in the online environment. Would this be a role for institutions at a local level?
  • How are classes/programs accredited? How do we determine quality and fit for hybrid scenarios?
  • The need to develop a community of practice for educators (Lave, Wanger)

New School Models
  • Upside-down classroom
  • A la carte education
  • Flat-classrooms:partnerships with schools around the city/country/world
  • Customized learning: Individualized vs. group-oriented

Online Teacher Skills [from iNACOL report in eSchoolNews ]
  • be able to facilitate electronic instruction
  • be highly responsive
  • know web-based technologies
  • be trained in both synchronous and asynchronous instruction
  • Also see:
  • Training and experience in distributed learning.
  • Teachers should personally experience formalized learning through a well designed program for distributed learning. Perhaps a distributed learning institute developed and delivered by NAIS where the methodology is research based and where the participants will "experience" learning through constructivist environments, problem-based learning, and communities of practice.

  • As with all educational efforts, an experienced teacher is critical to success (good f2f teachers are not necessarily the best at teaching online)
  • For any online inclusion into programs/classes/schools, adequate support for faculty and students must be provided.
  • Encourage faculty to participate in "personal learning networks" [What guidance would we give on developing one's own PLN?]

  • Course development
  • School-created online courses vs. vendor-based courses

Draft Guideline Resources (from ning discussion)

Back to the ISEnet ning group page.