Virtual Schools and Colleges Newsletter - July 2011 Issue

Friday, 29 July 2011

Welcome to the July edition of the Virtual Schools and Colleges Newsletter

This edition of our newsletter contains a variety of articles and reports related to the use of ICT in secondary and post-secondary education for 14-21 year olds in Europe and elsewhere. The Virtual Schools and Colleges Newsletter is an outcome of the European project VISCED which is carrying out a systematic review of virtual schools and colleges at international and national levels including a study into operational examples of fully virtual schools and colleges.

You are very welcome to send us news about developments related to virtual schools and colleges in your region or country, share this newsletter with your colleagues and join us on the Virtual Schools and Colleges wiki.


Skype in the classroom

School teachers and students everywhere now have a way to find each other for collaborative projects and shared learning through a new online platform provided by Skype. "Skype in the classroom" a free global community created in response to, and in consultation with, the growing number of teachers using Skype to help their students learn.

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Learning maths online the Salman Khan way

Visit TED to hear Salman Khan talk about how and why he created Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in maths and now also in other subjects.

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e-Lyco - large scale deployment of digital learning environment in France

e-lyco is an ambitious French project which aims to offer all high school and college students from the Region of Pays de la Loire, and their parents and teachers, a common digital work environment by 2014. Organised collaborativly by the Rector of the Academy of Nantes, the region of Pays de la Loire, the five departments of Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Sarthe and Vendée, this project also includes private and agricultural educational providers.

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Case studies on social media supporting marginalised students

The European Commission supported project Links-up has published a set of interesting case studies describing how social computing is being used to support new forms of learning and new ways of supporting inclusion. Many of these cases highlight innovatives uses of ICT in different European countries targeting school going students.

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Ambitious new plan for Australian schools now underway

In the context of the Digital Education Revolution (DER) initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, a highly ambitious new plan aims at investing $2.4 billion to support the effective integration of ICT in Australian schools.
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Community-College Students Perform Worse Online Than Face to Face

Ryan Brown writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education this month quotes from a new study that found community-college students enrolled in online courses fail and drop out more often than those whose coursework is classroom-based.

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The New 3 E’s of Education: Enabled, Engaged and Empowered

Project Tomorrow in the United States have recently released a new report “The New 3 E’s of Education: Enabled, Engaged and Empowered – How Today’s Students are Leveraging Emerging Technologies for Learning”. In this report 67% percent of US parents said they would purchase a mobile device for their child to use for schoolwork if the school allowed it, and 61% said they liked the idea of students using mobile devices to access online textbooks.

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European kids more likely to be players than makers

A study recently published by from Latitudeº 42s titled “Children’s Future Requests for Computers & the Internet” investigated what children aged 12 and under expect from technology in the future. Children all over the world were invited to participate in the study which not only provides interesting insight into what children want from technology, such as the desire to interact with the technology more intuitively but also revealed some interesting regional differences.

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Calls and Announcements

Next Edition of eLearning Papers on Social Networking

The next issue of the popular elearning papers series will be devoted to social networking and the editors are currently looking for submissions. The guest editor for this issue is Teemu Leinonen form the Learning Environments research group, Media Lab, Department of Media, Aalto University School of Art and Design.

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VISCED at the EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2011

The EFQUEL Innovation Forum will take place for the 6th time this year and has been growing fast over the years. The programme of the EFQUEL innovation forum is now fully available online, headliners are Paul Bacsich, Steve Wheeler, Yves Punie, Asha Kanwar and Wayne Mackintosh.

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Featured Virtual School Initiative

The inside story of InterHigh School, UK’s first-ever online school

InterHigh have made available to VISCED the previously unpublished 2010 evaluation of InterHigh. This is based on in-depth interviews with InterHigh senior staff and with parents, teachers and pupils. It also incorporates views of two independent organisations (one public and one private sector) now associated with InterHigh.

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Think Academy - First Virtual School in Chile

The Colegio Virtual Think Academy (Think Academy International Virtual School) is based in Santiago, the capital of Chile. It was founded in 2007 and is based on a pedagogical method which aims to enable young people to learn more and to socialize better, in addition to bringing the cost of education down. It is now in the process of opening the first fully virtual school in Chile and plans to cater for its first 60 students who are enrolled for this year.

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New on the wiki

The wiki about virtual schools and colleges being created and maintained by the VISCED partners and an ever-widening community of researchers is gathering momentum. Recent additions to the wiki include country updates about Madagascar, Australia, Argentina, Norway, Spain and Italy and the addition of virtual school exemplars including Värmdö Distans in Sweden, Schools of the Air in Australia, City of Angels Virtual Academy in the US and InterHigh School in Wales.

Paul's Blog

A recent news item in the TES (Times Educational Supplement) for 22 July 2011 cites yet another barrier to virtual schools erected by a Ministry, to add to the need for "monitored assignments" in England and even fire safety checks on the homes of homelearning students in Wales!

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