The Instructor Role in the Virtual Classroom

Cindy Hamblin, Director – Illinois Virtual School, shares expertise with the Virtual School Leadership Alliance (VSLA)

For many, the virtual classroom is difficult to understand without first hand experience. It is true that a virtual classroom does not have walls, rows of desks or an end-of-class bell BUT it does have the most critical component of any successful classroom, an instructor who is present and engaged with students.

As Director of the Illinois Virtual School (IVS), I regularly visit with district and school administrators, as well as community members around the state. A typical question is, “How does the online course work?” or “How do students interact with the instructor in the virtual classroom?”   I use this opportunity to share practices IVS has found to be essential for a successful online course experience. The instructor role is key.

–> Read the FULL ARTICLE

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IVS Celebrates Digital Learning Day March 13, 2015

Digital Learning Day March 13, 2015

What do we mean by digital learning?

Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience. It emphasizes high-quality instruction and provides access to challenging content, feedback through formative assessment, opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere, and individualized instruction to ensure all students reach their full potential to succeed in college and a career.Digital learning encompasses many different facets, tools, and applications to support and empower teachers and students, including online courses, blended or hybrid learning, or digital content and resources. Additionally, digital learning can be used for professional learning opportunities for teachers and to provide personalized learning experiences for students.

Digital learning advances school reform by increasing equity and access to educational opportunities, improving effectiveness and productivity of teachers and administrators, providing student-centered learning to ensure college and career readiness for all students, and recognizing teachers as education designers.

Why celebrate Digital Learning Day?

With so many new types of digital devices, educational software and mobile apps continuously developed, it’s hard to keep up with the latest and greatest advancements in educational technology. In some classrooms and out-of-school programs across the country, educators are doing some pretty amazing things with technology. Yet, these pockets of innovation are confined to a small number of schools and communities. Digital Learning Day was started as a way to actively spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live.
Started in 2012, Digital Learning Day has provided a powerful venue for education leaders to highlight great teaching practice and showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes. This grassroots effort blossomed into a massive nationwide celebration as teachers realized that Digital Learning Day is not about technology, it’s about learning. It’s not about laying off teachers for laptops, it’s about enhancing the role of the teacher in America’s classrooms. Digital Learning Day promotes the effective use of modern day tools afforded to every other industry to improve the learning experience in K-12 public schools.

– See more at: http://www.digitallearningday.org/

In the News: Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2015

This 2015 report is third in a series of annual reports on virtual education in the U.S.. It is organized in three major sections. Section I examines the policy and political landscape associated with virtual schooling and describes the current state of affairs related to finance and governance, instructional program quality, and teacher quality. The authors analyze to what extent, if any, policy in the past year has moved toward or away from their 2014 recommendations. Based on an analysis of legislative development across all states, the authors find that troubling issues continue to outpace informed policy.

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From the National Education Policy Center

Read More >> http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/virtual-schools-annual-2015

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