Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Baby Steps: Helping Others Grow Into Using Online Learning Tools

Notes from session at TXDLA Conference
Presenters: Jeanine Wilson - Houston ISD; Pearline Williams-Brown - Galveston ISD

About Session: 
This presentation provided participants with practical tools for helping teachers, administrators, and curriculum specialists to embrace the use of online learning tools to enhance the teaching and learning process.

In HISD, online learning began as a way to help with drop out problem.

One solution was Graduation Labs:
  • Graduation Labs consisted of Credit Recovery and began with this. 
  • Students would come into Labs and work at their own pace and at their own time. 
  • Then the Labs expanded to Original Credit and AP. 
  • The next step was to add Middle School. 
Primary Areas of Focus
  1. Buy-In: Staffing; Technology - Staff were concerned about teaching online; Staff was not comfortable with technology; Focus was first on Senior teachers, then teacher department leaders 
  2. Collaboration: Approach to Dropout Prevention
  3. De-centralized Authority: Independent and Hybrid
  4. Empowerment: Involve Curriculum & Instruction
Staffing (Buy-In)
  • Graduation Coach/Lab Monitor - The Graduation Coach oversees online learning at the campus level.
  • Teacher of Record
  • Campus Scheduler/Registrar/Counselor
  • District Manager - This person is in charge of online learning at the district level and only oversees this; has no other duties other than online learning
Technology used to start intiative:
  • Technology Laptop Cart (15 or 30) - used Title I money
  • Wi-Fi - used Erate money

Collaborative Approach to Dropout Prevention
  • Truancy Caseworker
  • Counselor
  • Assistant Principal/Dean
  • Graduation Coach
Someone on campus has to own it (online learning) and someone at the district level has to own it.

Non-traditional setting (Decentralized Authority)
  • HISD uses Desire to Learn and moved from Moodle.
  • No product has everything. The C& I Department still have to tweak the courses.
  • Left it up to principals on how they were going to monitor the hybrid classrooms.
  • Some students work late hours and need flexibility in their schedule.
Curriculum & Instruction (Empower)
  • Curriculum Review - CI filled the gaps; team effort
  • Instructional Design - helps teachers with building in the online environment and how to teach online
  • Partnerships - reached out to other districts teaching online.
Historical Results
  • Original Credit
  • Credit Recovery
  • Advanced Placement
CyFair has a similar program.
The number of online classes that can be taken is unlimited.

Grad Labs is different from the Virtual School.
Grad lab - there is no charge other than principal having a teacher in campus.
Virtual school does cost and charge for the online classes.

Jeanine Wilson

Pearline Williams-Brown

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