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Instructional Strategies for Distance Learning Eric Lind, Jerry Anderson, Paul Dunkirk Summer Institute 8/15/13 Agenda 1. Overview of PD supporting DL in Minnesota 2. Instructional strategies 3. Case studies 4. Q &A 5. How to get involved in DL PD this year
DL 101 Study Group • Create a DL implementation plan through structured learning Using Google Sites • Readings on best practice • Discussion with colleagues around the state • Activities completed by your site team • Follow up Webinars Final product: a written pilot DL site implementation plan Implementation Phase – Use pilot plan supported by DL101 peers and facilitators
DL 102 Description “The Study Group on Teaching provides opportunities for experienced distance teachers to spend four weeks focusing on how to support learners in their course of study. The class is built around case studies of difficult teaching-learning challenges. Each participant develops a case study of a learner who had difficulty learning a concept online. The class discusses each of the case studies, building a "community of practice" that remains available as a resource after the course is done.”
DL102 Overview Process: Study groups form around a common DL platform, target audience, or issue Each participant develops a case study of an instructional challenge. Focus on one case study per week. Discuss the case study online and share strategies and resources that address the challenge. Example Topics from DL102 2012-13 Making Appropriate Skills Tutor Assignments Orientation and Learner Persistence Differentiating Skills Tutor and USA Learns Students DL for Low-Level ESL Students Each participant tries out a strategy learned from their study group and reports back results in a summary presentation webinar.
Timeline for DL102 October - F2F two-day kickoff in St. Paul. Began discussion on forming study groups around common DL platforms, target audience, or common instructional issues for inquiry. Brainstorm possible case studies based on real questions, problems. December- Webinar to solidify study groups & topics and to get acquainted. January - Completed and share case studies using a template. February to March - Weekly online discussions focusing on a single case study April - Sites tried strategies learned and used resources from study group and completed a report on results. May - Presentation webinar - shared results.
Evaluating Participation & Efficacy of Study Groups Facilitators will monitor groups and capture both quantitative and qualitative data on participation. •Frequency of online discussion participation •Thoughtfulness and relevance of discussion posts •Guiding and summarizing discussion on participant’s case study •Sharing materials and resources •Responding to feedback on case studies and discussion •Webinar participation and leadership
Making Appropriate Skills Tutor Assignments Issue • What lessons should students be assigned in Skills Tutor? • Considerations: • Student skill level • Student goals • Making manageable assignments Suggested solutions • Use the pre-test feature of ST to automatically assign appropriate lessons depending how well the student does on the test. Areas the student doesn't need to study are weeded out. • Use Adam's Skills Tutor Class Name TABE/CASAS Equivalent Table (See handout). • Use the TABE diagnostic tool to help determine which type of lessons to assign. • Start a student on slightly easier lessons to build their confidence, and then go from there to more difficult material. Mark Zosel – Metro North ABE
Making Appropriate SkillTutor Assignments Results • Implemented the suggested solutions with Skills Tutor students. • Saw a significant increase in proxy hours. • Students were more willing to ask for additional assignments. Lesson Learned: Students are more engaged when given Skills Tutor assignments that better match their skill level and goals.
Orientation and Learner Persistence Issue • Many DL students have low productivity and retention rates. • Would like to improve the DL orientation to increase learner retention and productivity. Suggested solutions • Have each student take a DL survey to determine if DL is a good fit. See http://hubbs.spps.org/distance_learning_online_application_2.html for an example survey from the Hubbs Center in St. Paul. • Build a community among DL learners. • The first step is to create a video of expectations which include student testimonies about the benefits and drawbacks of doing DL. Jerry Anderson – Metro North ABE
Orientation and Learner Persistence Results • Focused on creating the video last spring. • Student testimonies will filmed last spring. • A high school student will build a video from footage and earn a H.S. credit. • Will give update on progress at Summer Institute. Lesson Learned: Effective orientations can be used to determine fit, set expectations, and begin building a DL community. This can lead to improved learner persistence.
Differentiating Skills Tutor and USA Learns Students Issue • Is there a score level on CASAS or TABE that marks the bottom of the successful range for students using these programs? • Should we assign Level 3 students to Skills Tutor? Should we assign Level 4 students to USA Learns? • What other factors are important to consider for placement, especially when used in a hybrid class? Suggested solutions • The Hubbs Center uses the following CASA reading score guidelines for USA Learns: Course 1: 191 -200, Course 2: 201-210, Course 3: 211-220. • Rosemount/Apple Valley/Eagan ABE has used USA Learns Course 3 with ESL students with CASAS scores in the 220s. • USA Learns written for ESL students and Skills Tutor written for native speakers. • The vocabulary is more challenging in Skills Tutor. Charles LaRue– Metro North ABE
Orientation and Learner Persistence Results • Found that USA Learns goes lower than initially thought. Level 2 (CASAS 200-210) and up can use USA Learns. • USA Learns is easier to use for ESL students than Skills Tutor. Level 4 (CASAS 220+) ESL students need support as they transition to Skills Tutor, especially in reading comprehension lessons. • Has been working on glossary for Skills Tutor. • Charles will share completed glossary with Jen Vanekto put onto the state ABE DL website. • Students in ESL classes who work on DL programs are doing better in those classes than the students who aren’t. Lesson Learned: USA Learns can be used successfully with ESL students beginning CASAS 200. Skills Tutor can be used successfully with ESL students beginning at CASAS 220, but they need additional support with reading and vocabulary.
DL for Low-Level ESL Students Issue • Having difficulty providing DL to low – level ESL students. • More often a lack of technology skill. • More often less access to technology. • How can we best implement DL with low – level ESL students using a hybrid model? Suggested solutions • Set regular computer lab time with the teacher, tech support, and/or volunteers to help students learn the DL program (how to log in, navigate, etc.). Especially when first learning the DL program, this should be 45 min. to an hour a week. • Think of it as an extended orientation session that can last up to a couple months. As the students’ technology skills improve they will become more independent and complete more lessons outside of this supported lab time. • Be sure not to count seat time when working on DL in the lab if planning to count proxy hours. • USA Learns is very time consuming and often takes much more time than allotted proxy hours, especially for low-level ESL students. Paul Dunkirk – Adult Options in Education (Hopkins School District)
DL for Low-Level ESL Students Results • USA Learns is challenging to use from administrative point of view. • Students must add “/class” at the end of website or the students will go into USA Learns and teachers can’t track that work. • No dates on student reports. • Must complete the full unit to complete proxy hours. • Paul set-up a USA Learns “At Home” and a USA Learns “At School” for students. • Paul did this because the units in USA Learns take much longer than the allotted proxy hour time. He wanted to collect seat time for the students time at school, but still collect proxy hours for their DL work at home. • “At School” is USA Course 1 for in school use. • “At Home” is USA Learns Course 2 for home use. • Not many students completed entire units for proxy hours. • Charles LaRue has found that level 2 in USA Learns takes about twice as long as level 1 so it is not surprising not many are finishing. • Paul is supporting the DL students for many classrooms without a lot of support from teachers. • At CharleLaRue’sand Eric Lind’s schools there is more support for students in the school labs for distance learners. Lesson Learned: Implementing DL with low-level students is a challenge. Having regular supported computer lab time at school is a big help inteaching students to use the DL programs. USA Learns is a good instructional program, but poses many administrative problems for monitoring student progress and proxy hours.
Get involved! http://mnabe-distancelearning.org
Who to Contact Questions about DL SS Grant Project Jennifer Weaverling: firstname.lastname@example.org Questions about Virtual Taskforce and Communication Tom Cytron-Hysom: email@example.com Questions about Professional Development and Learner Web • Jen Vanek: firstname.lastname@example.org Questions about Skills Tutor and iPathways • Susan Wetenkamp-Brandt: email@example.com Questions about DL instructional practices and the DL101 and 102 experience Adam Kieffer: firstname.lastname@example.org Eric Lind: email@example.com • Jerry Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org • Mark Zosel: email@example.com • Charles LaRue: Charles.LaRue@anoka.k12.mn.us • Paul Dunkirk: firstname.lastname@example.org