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East Bay students thrive at online 'school'

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  • Cathy Travlos
    Here s an excerpt from Kim Wetzel s article in the Sunday s Times: Insight allows students to take courses, participate in class discussions and do homework
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 6, 2009
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      Here's an excerpt from Kim Wetzel's article in the Sunday's Times:
      "Insight allows students to take courses, participate in class
      discussions and do homework and quizzes through the virtual world of a
      school-issued laptop. Julian "attends" the recently opened Insight North
      Bay branch, where teens living in Contra Costa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake,
      Napa, Solano and Marin counties can learn tuition-free. The charter is
      overseen by the Windsor Unified School District in Sonoma County and is
      funded on a per-student basis like other California schools. Online
      schools, where students perform the bulk of their class work remotely,
      are increasing in popularity throughout the nation and have become
      common in states such as South Carolina, Wisconsin and Idaho. Insight of
      California — one of several schools offering online services to students
      — enrolls about 650, but the number is growing as young people from all
      walks of life choose the online route for many reasons, said Sheila
      Shiebler, executive director."

      You can read the entire article here:
      http://www.contracostatimes.com/education/ci_11362973

      The idea of "schools without walls" has been a hot topic in the gifted
      education community recently.
      Cathy
    • Ralph Bedwell
      I m currently working on a Master s degree in Online Teaching and Learning, and my own children attend an online-based charter school (a different one than the
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 6, 2009
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        I'm currently working on a Master's degree in Online Teaching and
        Learning, and my own children attend an online-based charter school (a
        different one than the one in the article, but the same general idea),
        so obviously I think this sort of thing can be a great idea for many
        students. As with anything else, one size does not fit all, so I don't
        think it would ideal for everyone. But if a student (either K-12 or
        college level) is self-motivated and curious, I think it can be a
        superior education to what that student might get in a more
        traditional setting.

        Studies of students taking online college classes have shown that
        these students actually learn more, at deeper levels, than students in
        traditional classes. I'm not sure if the matter has been studied in
        K-12 students yet (the phenomenon is newer for this group), but I
        wouldn't be at all surprised if the results were similar. Students
        learn best by doing -- by constructing their own knowledge, as the
        now-trendy constructivist theory of education would say -- and tend to
        be more motivated when given more freedom to explore. "Drill and kill"
        is still alive and well in our standardized testing-driven K-12
        classrooms, but is largely irrelevant to the online student; in its
        place comes the exploration through additional resources of aspects of
        interest that leads to a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
        Online learning tends to be more project-based and less test-driven;
        in other words, what can you produce rather than what can you
        regurgitate?

        I did have some issues with the article, however. First is Ms.
        Wetzel's use of 'school' rather than school (without the quotes).
        Putting quotes around school implies that it is not really school,
        that it is somehow inferior, or at least artificial in some way. It's
        not; a well-designed online program is designed to teach the same
        state content standards that "regular" K-12 schools attempt to teach,
        the students have to take the standardized tests just the same as
        "regular" students do, and probably has more academic rigor. Second,
        she makes it seem like this form of alternative education is mainly
        for "misfits" -- for kids who can't get along socially, who get
        bullied, etc. That is not true; it could work for any student who is
        self-motivated and/or has a self-motivated parent, and can produce
        great results.

        Ralph

        --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, Cathy Travlos <cbt@...> wrote:
        >
        > Here's an excerpt from Kim Wetzel's article in the Sunday's Times:
        > "Insight allows students to take courses, participate in class
        > discussions and do homework and quizzes through the virtual world of a
        > school-issued laptop. Julian "attends" the recently opened Insight
        North
        > Bay branch, where teens living in Contra Costa, Sonoma, Mendocino,
        Lake,
        > Napa, Solano and Marin counties can learn tuition-free. The charter is
        > overseen by the Windsor Unified School District in Sonoma County and is
        > funded on a per-student basis like other California schools. Online
        > schools, where students perform the bulk of their class work remotely,
        > are increasing in popularity throughout the nation and have become
        > common in states such as South Carolina, Wisconsin and Idaho.
        Insight of
        > California — one of several schools offering online services to
        students
        > — enrolls about 650, but the number is growing as young people from all
        > walks of life choose the online route for many reasons, said Sheila
        > Shiebler, executive director."
        >
        > You can read the entire article here:
        > http://www.contracostatimes.com/education/ci_11362973
        >
        > The idea of "schools without walls" has been a hot topic in the gifted
        > education community recently.
        > Cathy
        >
      • Tammera Campbell
        Ralph, You are correct that one size does not fit all.  Knowing my son, he would not be the type of student who would thrive with an online school.  His
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 8, 2009
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          Ralph,
          You are correct that one size does not fit all.� Knowing my son, he would not be the type of student who would thrive with an online school.� His extra curricular activies at school make him who he is and cyberspace does not provide that outlet.� His participation and social growth�in school events, school government, and sports are a part of who he is as a growing young adult.� This is just one aspect of school that I know he would miss.� Not to mention the friendships and relationships he has fostered with his fellow teammates on several of the sports teams.� These types of relationships you cannot find online.
          Tammy


          --- On Tue, 1/6/09, Ralph Bedwell <bedwellr@...> wrote:

          From: Ralph Bedwell <bedwellr@...>
          Subject: [wccusdtalk] Re: East Bay students thrive at online 'school'
          To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Tuesday, January 6, 2009, 6:57 PM






          I'm currently working on a Master's degree in Online Teaching and
          Learning, and my own children attend an online-based charter school (a
          different one than the one in the article, but the same general idea),
          so obviously I think this sort of thing can be a great idea for many
          students. As with anything else, one size does not fit all, so I don't
          think it would ideal for everyone. But if a student (either K-12 or
          college level) is self-motivated and curious, I think it can be a
          superior education to what that student might get in a more
          traditional setting.

          Studies of students taking online college classes have shown that
          these students actually learn more, at deeper levels, than students in
          traditional classes. I'm not sure if the matter has been studied in
          K-12 students yet (the phenomenon is newer for this group), but I
          wouldn't be at all surprised if the results were similar. Students
          learn best by doing -- by constructing their own knowledge, as the
          now-trendy constructivist theory of education would say -- and tend to
          be more motivated when given more freedom to explore. "Drill and kill"
          is still alive and well in our standardized testing-driven K-12
          classrooms, but is largely irrelevant to the online student; in its
          place comes the exploration through additional resources of aspects of
          interest that leads to a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
          Online learning tends to be more project-based and less test-driven;
          in other words, what can you produce rather than what can you
          regurgitate?

          I did have some issues with the article, however. First is Ms.
          Wetzel's use of 'school' rather than school (without the quotes).
          Putting quotes around school implies that it is not really school,
          that it is somehow inferior, or at least artificial in some way. It's
          not; a well-designed online program is designed to teach the same
          state content standards that "regular" K-12 schools attempt to teach,
          the students have to take the standardized tests just the same as
          "regular" students do, and probably has more academic rigor. Second,
          she makes it seem like this form of alternative education is mainly
          for "misfits" -- for kids who can't get along socially, who get
          bullied, etc. That is not true; it could work for any student who is
          self-motivated and/or has a self-motivated parent, and can produce
          great results.

          Ralph

          --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogro ups.com, Cathy Travlos <cbt@...> wrote:
          >
          > Here's an excerpt from Kim Wetzel's article in the Sunday's Times:
          > "Insight allows students to take courses, participate in class
          > discussions and do homework and quizzes through the virtual world of a
          > school-issued laptop. Julian "attends" the recently opened Insight
          North
          > Bay branch, where teens living in Contra Costa, Sonoma, Mendocino,
          Lake,
          > Napa, Solano and Marin counties can learn tuition-free. The charter is
          > overseen by the Windsor Unified School District in Sonoma County and is
          > funded on a per-student basis like other California schools. Online
          > schools, where students perform the bulk of their class work remotely,
          > are increasing in popularity throughout the nation and have become
          > common in states such as South Carolina, Wisconsin and Idaho.
          Insight of
          > California � one of several schools offering online services to
          students
          > � enrolls about 650, but the number is growing as young people from all
          > walks of life choose the online route for many reasons, said Sheila
          > Shiebler, executive director."
          >
          > You can read the entire article here:
          > http://www.contraco statimes. com/education/ ci_11362973
          >
          > The idea of "schools without walls" has been a hot topic in the gifted
          > education community recently.
          > Cathy
          >


















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