Christie Wylie's Blog

The Virtual Classroom Redefined

February 17, 2010

The Virtual Classroom Redefined

One more site I just found through – Great video and a student’s perspective regarding her online learning courses.  All the other articles and research I have found were written by teachers and researchers.  This site also connects to a wide variety of videos, and articles.


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February 17, 2010
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Getting Students More Learning Time Online

by Cathy Cavanaugh/May 2009

This is a 28 page article from, which you probably don’t have time to read now, but I am posting it still because I thought that this article might be helpful as you are planning your online learning community for our final project.  Specifically, between pages 7-19 there are examples of what a learning community might look like for students, parents and teachers.


A second piece of research to support online learning (2009) is a Summary of Research on the Effectiveness of K-12 Online Learning from The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (Dr. J suggested this website).  From this extensive research, online learning is supported by the following outcomes:

* virtual learning is better use of taxpayers money with no expenses toward transportation, construction or maintenance

*students performed better than in traditional classes based on common standardized testing

*online learning communities provide a more rigorous model af accountability that is “data rich and performance driven”

*online learners have better use of higher level thinking and reflective learning

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Do you suffer from “infoglut”?

February 10, 2010
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Free range chickens?  Yes! But free range students?

Have you ever walked up and down a long table of food at a Pot-Luck Dinner, to “graze” and “browse” before loading up your plate?  We can teach students how to use this same approach when sifting through vast amounts of information.

Read the following article to find out how the recent “information feast” compares to a Pot Luck Dinner:

Deep Reading and Deep Thinking in an Age of Info-Glut

I was intrigued by this term, “infoglut” which appeared on page 73 of our readings this week from Building Leaning Communities (Palloff and Pratt, 2007).  This article discusses the progression of learning from the Industrial Age to the Information Age.  Students are learning differently than in decades of the past.  This new type of learning will require independence and skill.  Teachers will need to redesign current lessons to help students sift through this massive amount of information.  The link above talks about how the access to “mountains of information threatens the deep thinking process” (Birkerts, 1994).

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Self-Directed Learning in Elementary Schools

February 4, 2010

Self-directed Learning

When you visit this link, don’t bother watching the video clip…it is not related to the topic whatsoever!

I first heard about self-directed learning when I was on a parent committee for the Deerfield District Public Schools where my children attended.  I really hadn’t heard about it as an educator.  I am still intrigued by the idea and have never been part of a school district where this online learning was implemented.  As we continue to have elementary students “catch up” with 21st Century Skills, I continue to be frustrated in my efforts to integrate technology for elementary students.

Self-directed learning may be the resource I need to help with differentiation for the diverse group of students I work with daily.  This method shows students how to obtain knowledge on their own by developing critical thinking skills and using problem solving.  Students are active in their own learning and demonstrate ownership.  They are able to discover information on their own and form their own judgments.

I am posting so late because I have spent two nights of exhausting searches trying to find an article pertinent to learning communities and elementary schools.  I used scholarly searches as well as many other search engines and tried the following topics to no avail:

*Technological Generation Gaps in Education

*Traditional lecture vs. technology and simulations

*Online learning communities in elementary schools

*ELL benefits to online learning in the classroom

If anyone finds something please let me know.  I am posting this link regarding self-directed learning since it was the closest thing I could find to what I was actually searching for.  I did see information using “Moodle” in elementary classrooms but I could not really find any informative articles – just sample school sites. In the last district I taught, I had just begun to use Moodle as a pilot program.  I left before I really had the chance to use it effectively.  I will continue my inquiry regarding this online learning community.

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Professional Learning Communities That Last Despite Possible Barriers

January 27, 2010

Richard DuFour: What is a PLC?

Two summers ago I had the privilege to see Richard DuFour in action in the Stevenson High School Auditorium!  Wow!  He was motivational.  I even danced on stage with him!  But what really spoke to me was his genuine passion for helping kids learn.

In the article above, he speaks to teachers using real language.  He explains Professional Learning Communities in simple terms and offers suggestions of what to do when kids aren’t learning.  How can we help them before they need remedial attention?

Three Big Ideas to Consider:

1.  Focus on learning rather than teaching

2.  Work collaboratively

3.  Hold yourself accountable for results

DuFour also points out several barriers.  As I was reflecting upon the reading for this week, I wanted to find more information regarding possible barriers.  I have been in districts before where PLC’s did not last.  In fact they barely even got “up and running”.  As my new district is still in the beginning stages, I wanted to be aware of the barriers so that I could perhaps help our learning community be prepared for common obstacles.

Some possible barriers according to DuFour:

  • Schools must stop pretending that giving teachers the state standards and district curriculum guides will guarantee that all students have access to a common curriculum.
  • Faculties must stop making excuses for failing to collaborate.  Have you heard this in your school teacher’s lounge or perhaps uttered these words yourself?  “We just can’t find the time.”  “Not everyone on the staff has endorsed the idea.”  “We need more training.”

The article is only six pages long and is worth the read!  Hopefullly, DuFour’s expertise in this area will give you the jumpstart you need to stay positive about PLC’s and make sure that your learning community will last.

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Resource Sharing #1: Interactive Whiteboards

January 24, 2010
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The Interactive Whiteboard Blog

Visit the above site to view a wide variety of interactive whiteboard resources for teachers.  Related posts from the site include:  Math frames, 20 interactive whiteboard sites for teachers, 13 sites for teaching ELL using whiteboards

Since I have been lucky to receive a brand new SMARTBoard in my classroom, I have spent countless hours trying to learn how to use this new technology in authentic ways…not just as a “glorified whiteboard”.  I am one of the first teachers at our school to have an interactive whiteboard, and am attempting to mentor other teachers wanting to learn.  Hopefully,  my enthusiasm will also inspire those teachers who currently don’t even want to touch the scary looking board.  Perhaps as I become more proficient with this amazing tool, I can share many ideas with other teachers.  The site listed above is great resource for using interactive whiteboards.  I spent hours looking at all of the lessons and links and didn’t even begin to skim the wealth of resources!

Ultimately, I want to use the interactive whiteboard to improve student learning.  Already, I can tell that students are much more engaged while using the SMARTBoard.  In their lives, they are already comfortable with technology.  Most of them share the fact that they would rather play video games, play Wii or PS whatever, listen to their iPods, watch movies on their hand-held DVD players or use the computer, rather than play outside or read a book.  This continues to affect classroom management.  I feel like sometimes I have to “be on stage” to get their attention.  There has also been a recent increase of ELL students and visual learners.  When all of these factors come into play, using an interactive whiteboard will help grab their attention…at least for a while, like a new toy they have just received as a gift.  Before they want to just put it on a shelf, I want to be sure I am using this new tool effectively to engage all students.

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January 22, 2010

Hi everyone!  Looking forward to learning more with you during this course.  Welcome to my blog.

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