Thursday, March 25, 2010


Xtimelines was shown at one of the session at the NCTIES conference. Xtimeline is a free web-based timeline for teachers and students. Take a look at this Xtimeline for Romeo and Juliet:

Notice that students can choose to see the timeline as links to information or as more detailed information, as shown below, by changing the icon link in the upper right corner. Students use the scroll bar at the bottom to scroll through the timeline. The timelines can be printed with permission, but teachers and students can easily use Xtimelines on the web.

Xtimelines can be explored by categories, by keyword searches, or by lists.
To check out Xtimelines go to:
Image from

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NCTIES Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina: March 3-5, 2010

I attended the NCTIES (North Carolina Technology in Education Society) conference in Raleigh this past week.  I enjoyed several of the sessions, met some great people and now I want to take time to go through my notes and learn more about several Web 2.0 tools that I previewed.  In the coming weeks I want to blog about some of these tools and how they can benefit teaching and enhance learning for all students.

For now I have outlined the sessions I attended in my wiki workspace.  Please look over my outline and check out the other wiki pages posted within NCTIES 2010.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

meStudying: Algebra I

Just released January 7, 2010, meStudying is an app for your iPhone or iTouch. meStudying: Algebra I allows students to choose a topic and interact with questions on their iPhones or iTouch to help them learn Algebra I, practice and prepare for tests. meStudying is brought to students by Florida Virtual Schools, one of the leaders in k-12 virtual education.

Some of the features:
  1. Covers the entire scope of Algebra I
  2. Includes over 300 Algebra I questions
  3. Immediate feedback
  4. Detailed explanations
  5. Review all questions or only the ones answered incorrectly
  6. Sort by algebraic topic or FLVS Algebra I course module
  7. Integrated reference guide
  8. Easy navigation
  9. Score tracking
  10. Orientation locking
The app, meStudying: Algebra I is only $4.99 and was designed by gWhiz - affordable, mobile productivity and learning tools. Go to the iTunes store or to to learn more about this app.

Image from iTunes Apps

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Virtual Education for all Students - Are you a "Gifted Gatekeeper"?

Dr. Bryan Setser, Chief Executive Officer of North Carolina Virtual Public Schools and Learn and Earn, was in Washington, DC last week at the Virtual K-12 Public Schools Forum that focused on students with disabilities. According to Dr. Setser one theme became apparent during the forum – some educational leaders are “gifted gatekeepers” who continue to "learn by doing", "pilot", and ultimately just take risks if there may be a chance to reach a kid a different way while other “gatekeepers” "hem and haw" over policy and procedure while kids are denied services to virtual education. 

After reading this blog post, see if you can answer this question concerning online learning for all students - What kind of "gate keepers" do you have in your school and in your district?

There were seven key themes that emerged from this forum that could be called “gifted gatekeeper” strategies to make virtual opportunities for students in North Carolina with disabilities.

Theme #1: Personnel Quality and Preparation
  1. Need for professional development
  2. Need for teaching standards that specifically address the unique challenges of providing education within a virtual environment, and specifically special education and related services within this environment
  3. Need for training of appropriate personnel (including parents) in accessible technology and assistive technology
Theme #2: Accessibility for Students with Disabilities
  1. Ensuring that the relationships among the state education agency (SEA), local education agencies (LEAs), and virtual schools do not result in students with disabilities being denied admission and enact policies to ensure this is not the case
  2. Ensuring accessibility of virtual curriculum to students with disabilities
  3. Ensuring flexibility of virtual curriculum (i.e., ability to be modified/adapted for students with disabilities)
  4. Ensuring that software developers are creating software, digital content and e-learning accessible to students with various physical and learning disabilities
Theme #3: Accountability
  1. Ensuring quality of virtual special education instruction and related services, and effectiveness/appropriateness of a virtual environment for serving students with disabilities
  2. Regulation and monitoring of virtual schools and providers
  3. Difficulty in monitoring students progress
Theme #4: IEP Issues
  1. Roles and responsibilities in implementing the IEP
  2. Need for defining appropriately the intensity of services
  3. How is placement of a child with a disability into a virtual school, as opposed to another educational setting, handled
  4. Challenge of providing inclusive services within a virtual classroom environment
  5. How can virtual therapies best be provided to students with disabilities
Theme #5: Roles and Responsibilities
  1. Who is responsible for what within various virtual school contexts
  2. Identifying who is responsible for AT set up, training and support of everyone involved or working with the student, including the family
  3. Identifying the parents’ role in the virtual delivery of special education
  4. Creating mechanisms for communication between those who set up the IEP and the virtual school
  5. Roles and responsibilities in implementing the IEP
  6. Working with 3rd party providers to develop accessible courses and coursework
Theme #6: Financial Issues
  1. Determining how virtual schools are reimbursed for the costs of serving students with disabilities
  2. Inadequate funding to provide what students with disabilities require
  3. Logistics and costs involved with transporting children to obtain related services
Theme #7: Attitudes and Expectations Regarding Virtual Special Education
  1. Misconceptions about delivery of special education and related services
  2. Reasons why parents/families choose virtual schools for their children with disabilities
  3. Skepticism about quality of virtual instruction in general, and concerns that a virtual model is not responsive to special education students' needs
  4. Lack of a basic understanding of the organizational structures within which virtual schools exist.
Within the article were several links which I will list below:
  1. United States Office of Special Education Programs -
  2. North Carolina Virtual Public Schools -
  3. North Carolina Learn and Earn -
  4. NCVPS Go Live for Professional Development
  5. Special Ed and related services -
  6. Online Learning standards -
  7. The Virtual School Bus -
  8. How to improve enrollment in NCVPS -
  9. Virtual Therapies -  and  

If you would like to speak to someone about North Carolina Virtual Public Schools and how to better meet the needs of your online students please contact:
  1. Dr. Bryan Setser -
  2. Don Lourcey -
  3. David Edwards -
To read the entire article please go to: