The second day of CUE for me was a day of presentations.
The day began listening to Diane Ravitch – scholar, Twitter user, and strong proponent of the importance of teachers. I follow Diane on Twitter and follow her blog. She is passionate about education and I love that about her. Much of what she shares is research based. She and I do disagree about for-profit online charter schools and choice in education – she does not like it, while I believe that having more choices in school – especially in the world of online learning – is allowing more students to earn high school diplomas.
She shared how she began using Twitter and then said she was not a Luddite but is concerned about some of the perils of technology. She went on to explain these perils:
- Cyberbullying “Schools must teach students how to handle online interactions.”
- The Internet is not vetted by anyone – “Wikipedia is one of my pet peeves”
- Release of NY Teachers Evaluations Online – “This demoralizes teachers”
- For Profit Online Charter Schools and K-12 Inc – “K-12 Inc. had $522 mil in revenue last year.” “Entrepreneurs see technology as a way to make money.” “For profit schools are taking public education money.”
She gave everyone in the room a lot to think about. Personally, I think in the long term, we will see gains from students in charter schools and online schools but, because the field is so young (just 10 years old), it is difficult to have reliable research at this time. There are so many variables to consider in looking at charter schools and online schools…and if all you do is compare test scores between charter schools and traditional schools and call this research, I think this is a bit misguided. But, it is always fun the have the discussion!
Three presentations of mine are linked on my wiki here.
First, I talked about the continuum from textbook enhanced to online teaching and learning. It is important to understand that education involves the teacher, the student and the content. When thinking about blended learning, it is important to consider all areas – teacher, student and content – to determine if you are “really” doing blended teaching and learning.
Second, presented with Joyce Hinkson from the CDE and Greg Ottinger from San Diego County Office of Education about current legislation and policies regarding online learning. AB644 (Blumenfield) and the California Student Bill of Rights are the latest legislative effort to move the concept of online learning forward in California.
Third, presented with Marianne Pack and Luke Hibbard from Stanislaus County Office of Education about establishing an online learning network. Before you can really understand online or blended learning, you have to talk about it and look at the various components.