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Teaching Effectively Online



Lesson One: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Instruction



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Required Submissions for Lesson One:

                    1.  Post your introduction on the class listserv as requested via an email you should have already received; 

                         Email to teaching-L@netpals.lsoft.com Confirm with your instructor that you are able to both send and 

                         receive message to and from the class listserv (without spam or junk folder complications.) 

                         Read the other introductions and invest some time meeting new friends, particularly those who share your interests.

         Confirm with your instructor via a private email your preferred timeline for
         doing the lessons (which you can change at any time.) 

         AND to schedule an appointment to Skype.  

          (half hour)

     2. Read the following lesson and be sure you have carefully read the Class Welcome
          at  http://lone-eagles.com/teachingwelcome.html  and viewed the videos listed in the
          Welcome, and in lesson below. Read the
"How to Begin" page 

          at  http://lone-eagles.com/teachingbegin.html 

          (one and a half hours)


          3. Conduct the Jing hands-on activity listed here.

    You can create similar how-to videos using free software for Mac and PCs without
     a video camera – it is very easy – view the 1 minute Overview Video
    (right side of screen) at  http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html#


    Next, read the short article comparing jing and Camtasia and view the
    excellent six minute demonstration of Jing, created with the additional
    capabilities of Camtasia.

                     (Do you think Patricks's website might have more great tutorials?)

     Jing Tutorials with Sample Jings and More:


     Here's an example of jing in action


     From lesson one at  http://lone-eagles.com/workforce101.htm

     Create one to share via our class listserv with your classmates!
     Let your instructor know if you need help with this mastery learning activity.

     View the Getting Started video (very short) for Camtasia for Mac ($99)

      (note 30 day free trial!)


          (one hour)

          4.  Download the Free Edupunks Guide and read the first section 

               "DIY Education Manual" pages 1-22 for this lesson.

   Consider this a review of the literature from the private sector regarding open source 

   and commercial Elearning innovations.

   Free download of Edupunk's guide, sponsored by the Gates Foundation is at this link

    See also: http://diyubook.com/

                   (one hour)



A Quick History of Elearning

A quick history, in 1994 when the WWW launched, there was debate about the usefulness of the Internet in education – to fingertip access to the world’s knowledgebase. Then, when Elearning started, there was debate as to whether it was inferior to face-to-face instruction. Eventually, the U.S. Dept. of Education determined online learning can often prove more effective than the classroom. The National School Board association later in favor of social media. Used properly, and assessed thoroughly, we’re learning what works, and what modes of learning learners prefer, including teachers.


Informal self-directed learning is preferred by the majority of learners, over formal structured classes. Constructivism “building one’s own knowledge” and “learning by doing” is generally preferred to the traditional classroom “Sage on the Stage” model of instruction. Teachers are becoming “Guides on the Side” as mentors, with core content increasingly delivered via various media that allows remediation as necessary. (khanacademy.com)  Most GED programs (often online)  are presented in a mastery learning format, providing whatever remediation and support is necessary for success.


The technologies provide many options for mastery learning instructional models, unlike industrial age traditional classrooms where there is a risk of failure. There is a demographic shift of HS students choosing Virtual High Schools over physical High Schools, which is impacting the FTE and budgets of already stressed traditional High Schools. As class sizes are projected to double, the realistic ability of a teacher to provide personalized attention to each student diminishes.


We are always ready to learn, never to be taught.
Winston Churchill, Constructivist Learner



In the current K12 institutional environment, including No Child Left Behind and Annual Yearly Progress reporting, teachers are responsible to meet established benchmarks.


There is much debate as to whether teaching to the test will produce self-directed innovative learners to provide America with a globally competitive workforce. There is a great deal of disruptive change currently at many levels, as predicted by Alvin Toffler’s book “Future Shock” in 1970.


In the class welcome the high level of HS drop outs was referenced, begging the issue of how best to motivate all students.


Many schools have been far slower to adopt use of information technologies than the students themselves. Often, students know more about how to use the Internet to find whatever information they want, than their teachers, or parents. The same is now true with mobile devices and the booming number apps (mobile applications software modules, which are often free).  It looks like digital self-directed learning is in may ways outperforming traditional classroom K12 instruction, particularly with just-in-time learning relevant to one’s immediate need of the moment.


The DIYU free Edupunks guide might seem at first to be at odds with current K12 and Higher Education institutional models, but also represents the rigor of staying current that is the hallmark responsibility of “higher educational institutions.” We all grew up believing in the necessity of a HS diploma, a college degree, and then a job; often the same job for life, such as being a teacher in the traditional classroom.  Suddenly everything is uncertain in our age of accelerating change, except perhaps that “In times of change, learners inherit the Earth. Eric Fromm”


The Lumina Foundation, supported by the Gates Foundation, (which funded the Edupunk’s Guide) says we need more adults engaged in higher education, perhaps via community colleges, with shorter alternative accreditations, which are stackable – ideally leading to a final degree. Bill Gates touts the Khan Academy model as the future of education, as you saw in the video. The other videos inform the potential for students to “build their own knowledge” as constructivists; as self-motivated, self-directed learners.



Rigor in education in the Victorian Industrial age of education generally meant you must suffer when necessary, and the threat of failure was ever present for every test and every class, and such failure was presumed to impact your whole life’s opportunities for self-actualization and happiness.


While the debate on K12 reform continues, the number of HS students opting for Virtual High School alternatives speaks for itself. Future workforce retraining demands will require the ability to learn and collaborate effectively online, and likely will include the ability to create instructional units for others, as well.


The theme for the 21st Century is proving to be:
"Everyone both learner and teacher, both consumer and producer, all the time."


The relevance of digital self-directed learning skills often outperforming traditional classroom K12 Instructional models raises many questions regarding intrinsic motivation to learn.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


The Value of the Teacher-Student Relationship

We can all agree right now, that as educators we believe in our unique value to motivate students through our skills creating a face-to-face relationship. We all can tell stories about which educators most motivated us to be all we could be. The importance of the one-to-one mentoring role goes back to the very beginnings of our socratic educational beliefs and systems.


One reality, is Face-to-Face instruction is prohibitively expensive for the majority of third world learners worldwide. And the numbers don’t match up for 2-way video between teachers and students; with far too few teachers. ( You viewed the Hole-in-the-Wall Video that addresses this, as well as the Khan Academy video.)


Missouri has banned educators from any private email or social media interaction with students due to the inappropriate sexual attentions of a tiny minority of educators. This has rather huge implications on many levels and flies in the face of what many believe the teacher-student relationship is based on; trust.


Mobilization and Modularization of Education

View the video below and think about State-driven virtual schools that ignore the quality resources already produced elsewhere and invest limited resources in essentially reinventing wheel. Think about the obligation teachers may have to provide the best resources possible for their students, given new access to a growing library of free video and online resources. Think about the opportunities teachers now share for effective global collaboration, and crowd accelerated innovations.”


Attention spans are getting shorter, learning demands are more immediate (just-in-time-inquiry-based), education is becoming more video-based, digital, and interactive, Ipads are already causing more rapid educational innovation than any technology previously, yet amid all this – Standards still rule.


How Web Video Powers Global Innovation


(18 minutes)


               Take a look at the listing of 2200+ high quality instructional videos at http://khanacademy.org

               as but one brief example related to resources for YOUR curriculum related to the above video.

 See also http://youtube.com/education

Four Fundamental Historical Firsts

It is important to emphasize the four indisputably important major historical firsts the Internet brings to your classroom.

1. The ability to find specific information from world-wide sources within seconds of having the need.
This allows self-empowerment through self-directed, inquiry-based learning.

Net Effect: Teaching effective searching skills and sensitivity to
authenticity of information and copyright/plagiarism issues,
are vitally important as life-long learning skills.


2. The ability to self-publish globally using multimedia on a
shoestring budget on equal par with the world’s largest
institutions, corporations and governments. This allows for every
story to be told and dramatically facilitates the sharing of

Net Effect: Our students will need to be effective authors
with a growing variety of multimedia tools.


3. The ability to collaborate with individuals without restraint due to
distance or time, either privately one-to-one or publicly
involving whole communities and bringing people together around
purposeful causes to take organized action. The Internet potentially
increases the quantity and quality of human relationships.


Net Effect: Our students will need to be effective collaborators,
developing leadership and social skills using online collaborative
social media tools as well as in face-to-face situations.


4. The fourth historical first is that most students' technology skills are
far superior to those of most teachers. As you read about
project-based learning, you'll see many opportunities for you to
let your students learn the technologies, build self-esteem, and
increase their self-motivation through developing their self-directed
learning "survival" skills.


Net Effect: Students can be your best source of technical
support in the classroom! You do more for your students
by facilitating THEIR learning the technologies instead of
making them directly dependent on you.



Key differences between the Traditional Classroom and the Online Classroom.

A really good teacher can make the traditional classroom an exciting place, and the same is true for the online classroom. The specific goals of any class, or course, must be clear in the mind of the teacher, as well as the best methods for the type of classroom, and type of content presented.


Traditional education and online education each have unique advantages. The emotively supportive face-to-face environment of the classroom allows immediate feedback, and an immediate social environment, which has been viewed as essential to a quality educational experience. Facial expressions and body language are vital clues to the level of student understanding and engagement, and fundamental to recognizing those "teachable moments!".


The traditional classroom usually requires everyone travel to a single location, and there is a fixed amount of time for interaction. Larger class sizes limit the opportunity for interaction and the true individual attention students receive. Private interaction between teacher and student is often severely limited in a busy classroom. Due to diversity of background, attitude, and other factors, the ideal of Socratic small group interaction at a high level is often beyond practical attainment in many traditional classrooms.


The online classroom can also be emotively supportive, but in a medium “interactive reading and writing” that is so new that the dynamics are still poorly understood. Not all students are equally prepared to function well in the online classroom. An online classroom allows anyone, anywhere, anytime the opportunity to participate, without pressure from limited time or public speaking in front of a group.


While there are too many subtle advantages and disadvantages to list here, the reality is that both the traditional classroom and the online classroom have very real advantages, and disadvantages, which require a teacher to think clearly about specific student and curriculum needs and the most effective means for presenting different types of content.


The issue becomes: when does use of the online classroom most benefit the student, and when does the traditional classroom most benefit the student? We now have alternatives to the traditional classroom which, when used wisely, benefit students and teachers, alike. As we gain more experience, and confidence, with use of the online classroom, our expectations will become clearer. Most teachers would agree our goal is to teach the love of learning, and to do the very best we can for our students. Online opportunities for individualizing instruction to best meet students’ needs are growing.


Whether using online activities within a traditional classroom, (called blended learning) or as out-of-class "homework" activities, combining online activities to create whole online courses presents additional possibilities and issues.


The availability of online courses at anytime, from any location, supports the current boom in home-based learning. Home-based Internet access supports ongoing opportunities for lifelong learning, group dialogue, participation in communities of interest, and access to local community and global expertise. At the same time, online courses can be an inferior alternative to the traditional classroom for some students.


Keeping a Clear View of the Importance of Building Social Skills.

If we taught an online course, would we lose the face-to-face emotive support of the classroom, and those near intangible human benefits, that literally define good teachers as role models, listeners, and personal mentors? Not necessarily. This direct student contact is the source of satisfaction that motivated most of us to become teachers in the first place! Is this something that can be replaced by collaborative Internet tools and written interaction?


While we can't look into students' eyes or read their facial expressions and body language, we can read between the lines of their written interaction to a greater degree than most would anticipate. While building students' online reading and writing skills, most teachers are pleasantly surprised by the opportunity for intimacy presented by access to private online communications with students. Many teachers find they get to know students at a much deeper level than the limitations of the traditional classroom previously allowed. Many unique communication capabilities that have never existed in the traditional classroom are now available to teachers and students, include 2-way video for face-to-face instruction.


For some students, in some content areas, online education might be a very poor substitute for a good teacher and classroom interaction. For other students, in some content areas, online education might be far more motivating, efficient and more in the students' best interests, than the traditional classroom. As teachers, we need to learn how to discern what opportunities are best for individual students. Face-to-face social skills, character development, and learning to be a good citizen are more important today than ever before. Online social skills are increasing in importance as well, for many of the same good reasons. To properly prepare our students, we need to strive to improve social skills in both contexts.


Student Prerequisites for Online Learning Outside the Classroom


Blended Learning: Supplementing a Traditional Class with Online Interaction

Note: Searching for the phrase "blended learning" will yield many current resources.

Traditional classroom instruction evolved originally during the industrial age in the context of training future workers to follow instruction for rather rigid work roles. In the information age, the nature of work and the skills needed to be successful, are markedly different. Students must be able to teach themselves whatever they may need to know, at a moment's notice, and also to find highly specific information, quickly in an inquiry-based, self-directed learning context. Students must learn to collaborate effectively around short-term collaborative problem-solving projects, both face-to-face and online. Multiple emerging new Internet communication mediums require building reading, writing, and thinking skills, in preparation for self-publishing, and self-expression, in a multimedia format.


Beyond supplementing traditional instruction with use of Internet access to additional resources, and project-based learning units, if your students have access to the Internet outside the classroom, the door opens for extending your classroom beyond its walls and fixed time schedules.


With the exception of desktop video conferencing, the online classroom has no immediate verbal exchange, and no visual cues for body language or facial expressions, but it does offer immediate connections to global resources and collaborative tools. Online, using new forms of interactive reading and writing, we listen with our eyes, and speak through our fingers, at anytime convenient, leaving a written record of all interaction available for reflection at any time. This develops reading and writing skills in a new, motivating, social, collaborative context.


Online instruction, and opportunities for online interaction, can be available to anyone, anytime, anywhere, given basic literacy, minimal computer literacy, typing skills, and access to a computer with Internet connections. Affordable ongoing education is now becoming feasible for billions who have never before had the opportunity. All the more so with recent mobile devices.


Online interaction with community members, students and teachers in other classrooms, and experts Internet-wide, becomes conveniently accessible both inside, and outside the traditional classroom.  Such "extension of the classroom" discussions and activities are already replacing the national average of six hours per day of passive TV viewing with a far more engaging and educational use of that time.


Self-motivated students are often excelling outside the classroom environment via access and skills for self-directed learning via Internet, particularly at home. The reality is students spend 19% of their time in school, of which typically only a tiny fraction is spent on the Internet. The availability and use of Internet in the home will go far to helping the student develop self-directed Internet learning skills and become more self-motivated.


It is not inconceivable that SAT verbal and written scores could show a serious improvement in as little as one year using online communications. Most students, and at-risk students in particular, find online communications highly motivating. Not only will they be eager to read and write, but because they are writing for a peer audience they will often be more concerned about spelling and grammar than if they were writing only for the teacher. Your challenge will be to create educational applications for online interaction and to attempt to minimize frivolous, patronizing, and/or inappropriate online communications.


Online learning is becoming more and more modularized, similar to the short tutorials listed in the "help menu" for virtually all software programs. We can expect to see new, more efficient, models for applying these modularized online learning units for individualizing student instruction. Further, we need to be scouting for these best models as they emerge.

Less motivated students often require the physical classroom environment for motivation and monitoring of their progress, as well as the emotive encouragement for which individualized face-to-face instruction is best known. Consider the benefits of allowing motivated students the opportunity learning online outside the classroom giving you more time to devote to your students who require more personalized help. Consider having your motivated "online" students mentor the initial online learning of your unmotivated students.

One possible use for online instruction might be the removal of students with serious behavior problems from the classroom. This does not have to include removing them from their obligations to learn from your online lessons. On the other hand, as stated in the last paragraph, perhaps it is indeed these students who most need direct face-to-face motivation, while the regular students would benefit most from the flexibility inherent in online learning.


Depending on the level of 'self-directed learning' vast numbers of students could benefit from your online lessons, allowing a teacher to impact more students than the traditional classroom model would ever allow. We're limited only by our imaginations!

Key Advantages of Online Instruction

There are real instructional advantages to using the online medium:

1. Interactive reading and writing can produce twice the memory retention in one quarter the time invested. Educational research suggests 15-25% memory retention from lecture and video presentations vs. 40% memory retention from reading written material. When reading, the student is participating, rather than passively listening and/or viewing. The research suggests written words are symbols concrete enough to readily form permanent memory, where images, and a spoken lecture, can be so fleeting as to leave little permanent impression or memory.

Another advantage is that students can read an online lesson at their own speed, often 400-1000 words per minute, rather than to listen to a spoken presentation of 120 words per minute. It can be boring to be presented information at rates slower than one desires to assimilate information. Thus, online instruction may offer twice the retention in one quarter the time compared to a traditional classroom presentation.


Also, the amount of time invested in lesson preparation can often reduce the time required for learning by students. Online education has the potential of providing students with learning experiences representing far more preparation time than the traditional teacher can routinely provide.


2. The depth of student engagement with curricular content is arguably greater when a student must articulate his/her thoughts online, in writing, both to the teacher and, particularly, to other students. 

Written interaction can require more depth of thought than verbal interaction. Writing for a peer audience is vastly more motivating than writing for the teacher, knowing your words can possibly end up in the waste basket without another person ever seeing them. Interactive reading and writing provides a level of mind-to-mind interaction that is fundamentally different from, and in many ways better than, verbal face-to-face interaction. Ideally, online and face-to-face interaction can be balanced to bring students the best of both mediums.


As a teacher, we need to learn what content, in what situations, for which specific students, provides for the best overall learning experience. Students think most when they have to express themselves; when they must rearticulate what they've learned. The written online medium has the potential to require that students concentrate, reflect, and articulate their thoughts and responses to both teacher and fellow students. This higher level of forced reflection requires rational deliberation and builds thinking and expressive skills.


When writing online for a peer audience, students are held accountable to articulate what they've perceived, by virtue of their online writing leaving a written record. Students must regularly USE the information they have read, when interacting online. The online medium is less socially distracted in that it presents an environment for more equitable sharing of ideas from both teacher and students than the time-limited, socially oriented, classroom.


3. Unique opportunities for individual relationships with students become viable.
This is not to say face-to-face interaction in the classroom is not vitally important; it is; but it is inherently limited based on factors of time available, class size, and social inhibitions in front of peers. Online discussions between the teacher and individual students may be the ONLY private communications the student will have with the teacher. The time required for such one-on-one interaction may be restrictive for the teacher, but the depth of intimacy from such "text-based" relationships will often be of higher value than the classroom relationships because of this valued private sharing opportunity.


4. The advantage of transcending the limitations of the 50 minute hour comes from adding an online instructional component to your traditional classroom instruction with online discussions and the opportunity to ask, or answer, questions on a 24 hour/day, seven days/week basis. As is especially true with larger class sizes, the level of one-on-one interaction is often minimal. Online interaction, both teacher-to-student and student-to-student, enhances your students' engagement with the curriculum and better prepares them for the next classroom experience. At the same time, their reading, writing and collaborative Internet skills are being developed in a social interaction context!


Untapped Future Potential: Consider an online discussion in a computer lab setting where students would begin by reading the teachers introductory written comments, and would then write their own ideas, followed by reading the comments from their classmates, and then posting their reactions to these comments? The amount of interaction after a 50 minute hour would be many times that of a traditional verbal discussion. This one example suggests that our current understanding of the educational benefits of online interaction is only the tip of a very big iceberg! 

Elearning is still in its infancy; we're all kindergartners in the information age, and must learn through direct, hands-on exploration, one step at-a-time! Our expectations of what online instruction, and interaction, can bring to the traditional classroom will increase as we gain more hands-on experience. Be patient with yourself!


          Our sense of "play" and spirited exploration will be important to
          minimize our anxiety about the newness of these capabilities.


Required Submissions Checklist:

        ____ Posted introduction to listserv

        ____ Posted Jing URL to listserv

        ____ Send instructor private email with preferred timeline

        ____ Scheduled a Skype session.

Lesson Feedback: Optional, but much appreciated.

You're invited to privately email your instructor:

       1. What areas, if any, did you have trouble with during this

       2. What questions remain now that you've finished this lesson?

       3. Approximately how much time did you devote to this lesson?

       4. What improvements would you like to suggest?



National Ed-Tech Standards:

The following short documents are recommended reading and present the conceptual framework for this course.

ISTE NETS: www.iste.org
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)
Short Introductory Documents:

                National Educational Technology Standards 2007 

                NETS for Teachers

                NETS for Students

                NETS Essential Conditions

                NETS Student Profiles


21st Century Learning in Alaska

Alaska's Consortium for Digital Learning

Critical issues and 21st century literacy

21st century 1 page article with links to a presentation, other articles, etc 


Alaska's Apple 1:1 laptop program and Educator created videos



The New Literacy; 21st Century Learning in Alaska
six page report


National Partnership for 21st Century Skills

                21st Century Skills, Education and Competitiveness; A Resources and Policy Guide


        20 page report from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills

               Content Management Systems - Comparisons Website




The Kevin Kelly video  at http://ted.com (19 minutes) on the next 5000 days of the web is a great example of what rural folks don’t know they need to know. 5000 Days link: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/kevin_kelly_on_the_next_5_000_days_of_the_web.html


RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms - YouTube



Australia NBN video



Virtual Architecture, by Dr. Judi Harris

Teleactivities, and more.


Online Course Models to Review:


Conspiracy Code   http://www.360ed.com/Products/Conspiracy-Code-American-History/
An animated edutainment approach to teaching American History


Fast Track Math and Science Program in Ketchikan is using this curriculum:

http://www.education2020.com/ Take a Tour

Florida Virtual School Course Tours  - one of the first and most successful virtual High Schools



McGraw Hill's Spark -Engaging Learning Management Environment



Steve Spangler Science – Easy Science Experiment Videos




MISC. Innovations of Interest: 


Lone Eagle's online course innovations; 1988-2011

A short summary of your instructor's history with online learning innovations.

IPAD Classroom Application Videos and APPS

Skip Via's one transformed classroom video on Ipads for K-5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYLirypK_Yo - 

and his youtube channel has many related videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/skipvia  See other related IPad videos on the right sidebar.

Also available as an eBook for iOS devices:


K-5 ipad apps, 5 part blog series:



Schools replacing texts with Ipads


  A Guide to the Mobile Web



  Google's do it yourself app inventor:


  Facebook apps for ed http://www.interactyx.com/blog/facebook-apps-for-education

At the Apple app store: http://apple.com/webapps 

Pages for Mac can now handle Word docs, and create Epub docs for Ipad, Iphone, etc.

Pages for Ipad now available $9.

                Ipad Bookcreator App for Ipad, $9 - students easily created Epub multimedia docs for each other.

                Showme app, free, students share narrated whiteboard video capture easily.