Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Virtual High School Newbies

I had the good fortune of addressing a group of high school teachers yesterday morning as a kick-off for their venture into e-Learning. They came from various high schools in a section of the state where there are declining high school enrollments and ever-increasing encroachment from online high schools in the state and beyond. This is really a visionary journey that they are embarking on as they are not trying to create a charter school, or a private school, but rather create e-learning opportunities for the students in their district while still operating as the existing high schools in the district.

In this first set of slides I'll show the information that I gathered from them at the beginning of the presentation. I wanted to know a little bit more about them, about their hopes and fears, and about their expectations for what their experiences will be with online learning. My presentation came at the beginning of a two-day professional development opportunity where they were going to get a crash course in online teaching and learning. (Click the green Play triangle to hear the narration)

Here are a few of the most interesting (to me) take-aways from this group:
  • 39% say they are excited about this new adventure, but 61% say they are either tentative or terrified.
  • 41% say that they expect the online students to be isolated from their peers, but only 10% say that they expect the online teachers to be isolated from their peers.
  • 41% say that they expect the online students to learn less than other students.
  • 48% say that they expect online students to spend less time on task than other students.
  • 66% expect to work harder than they ever have before.
Soon I'll be posting another set of slides that looks at ten of the lessons learned during our first eleven years of online learning. That was the second part of the presentation.

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