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Live Chat: Gifted Students Click on E-Learning

Wednesday, September 28, 2 p.m. EDT
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 Gifted Students Click on E-Learning(09/28/2011) 
10:09
edweekbryan: 
Good morning, folks. We've just opened toda'ys chat for questions, so please, start submitting yours now. We'll be back at 2 p.m. EDT to get the chat underway -- be sure to join us then!
Wednesday September 28, 2011 10:09 edweekbryan
1:56
edweekbryan: 
Ladies and gentlemen, we'll be getting underway in just a few minutes with our chat, Gifted Students Click on E-Learning. Keep the questions coming!
Wednesday September 28, 2011 1:56 edweekbryan
1:58
edweekbryan: 
I'm turning the controls over to Katie Ash, your moderator for the day. Take it away, Katie!
Wednesday September 28, 2011 1:58 edweekbryan
1:59
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Thanks Bryan!
Wednesday September 28, 2011 1:59 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:59
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
And thank you all for joining us here today to participate in this chat about how best to serve gifted students through online learning.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 1:59 Moderator: Katie Ash
1:59
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
We have two very knowledgeable guests with us today. I'd like to start by having them both introduce themselves!
Wednesday September 28, 2011 1:59 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:00
Raymond Ravaglia: 
I am Raymond Ravaglia, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Education Program for Gifted Youth at Stanford University and the creator of the EPGY Online High School.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:00 Raymond Ravaglia
2:00
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
HI my name is Paula Olszewski-Kubilius and I am the director of the Center for TAlent Development at NOrthwestern University. I run a program, called Gifted Learning Links that provides online courses to gifted children.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:00 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:02
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
While Paula and Raymond are writing up introductions, I'd like to remind you all to feel free to keep submitting questions to the chat. We will get through as many as we can!
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:02 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:03
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
excellent. We've gotten quite a few questions about how online learning and socialization work together. Let's start there.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:03 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:03
[Comment From Regina FilangeRegina Filange: ] 
Even though gifted students receive individualized instruction online, how are they getting exposure to other gifted students? Isn't peer-to-peer interaction equally important?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:03 Regina Filange
2:03
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Peer to peer interaction is very important.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:03 Raymond Ravaglia
2:04
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Yes, REgina, Peer to peer contact is important. That can be accomplished with online learning through collaborative projects and through online chats and discussions.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:04 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:04
Raymond Ravaglia: 
In the work we have done most recently, in creating the online high school, we have taken the real-time video-conference based seminar as the main vehicle for instruction.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:04 Raymond Ravaglia
2:04
Raymond Ravaglia: 
this insures that kids get a lot of rich interaction with each other and with the instructor.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:04 Raymond Ravaglia
2:04
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
IN fact, peer contact can be greater because kids can interact with students all over the country
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:04 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:05
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Excellent. Raymond - I know you and I have talked about how online learning can be very beneficial for students precisely because they can have contact with other gifted students.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:05 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:05
Raymond Ravaglia: 
and around the world.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:05 Raymond Ravaglia
2:05
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Yes Katie. They can make real friends this way.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:05 Raymond Ravaglia
2:05
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Often better than they make at their traditional schools. ...
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:05 Raymond Ravaglia
2:05
Raymond Ravaglia: 
where they might feel odd or out of place.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:05 Raymond Ravaglia
2:06
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Precisely. Here's a question from Sarah that also has to do with social interactions.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:06 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:06
[Comment From SarahSarah: ] 
Gifted children can often be socially less mature than their academic grade level. How does online learning contribute to their social and emotional development as well as their intellectual development? Are there concerns that it may feed their strengths but neglect potential weaknesses?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:06 Sarah
2:06
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Those friendships may be easier online because factors that may get in the way in face to face interactions are not present.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:06 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:06
Raymond Ravaglia: 
@sarah - As with any sort of instruction, the instructor must make sure that the whole child is being developed....
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:06 Raymond Ravaglia
2:07
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
This is one area I think online learning can really make a difference for gifted students.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:07 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:07
Raymond Ravaglia: 
this takes real skill on the part of the instructor.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:07 Raymond Ravaglia
2:07
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
SArah,

Any time kids get to interact with intellectual peers, I think their social skills can be enhanced. They learn to communicate with other students--perhaps in different ways--but they can hone their communication skills
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:07 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:07
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
In some ways, I think online learning can really provide a viable alternative for those students who may not be as emotionally or socially mature as they are intellectually.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:07 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:08
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Katie - very true. You can give a course that fits both the intellectual and the social levels of the students.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:08 Raymond Ravaglia
2:08
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Definitely. Here's a question about the student experience in online learning.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:08 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:08
[Comment From SRHSRH: ] 
In your programs, what are gifted students sayign about the courses they're taking online? Do they like it? Do they feel challenged?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:08 SRH
2:08
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
I agree Katie. Some of the" immaturity" that might prevent them from forming friendships with classmates, may not be as apparent or as much of an obstacle in an online setting
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:08 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:09
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
We've gotten several questions about how to make sure that gifted children are truly challenged in their course work.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:09 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:09
Raymond Ravaglia: 
@SRH - the students in the ONline High School are certainly feeling challenged. Key is to ensure that the content is not pitched to the mean, even when the mean is high. All students should be expected to strecth.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:09 Raymond Ravaglia
2:09
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
SRH, They do like the courses as evidence by them coming back for additional ones. They say that they like the personalization and indivdiualization of online learning and they like the fact that they really get to know their teacher. They also like the anonymity in some cases of being able to be judged by their words and not their appearnce or other factors.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:09 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:10
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Paula is correct. The online environment is often a safe space for these kids....
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:10 Raymond Ravaglia
2:10
Raymond Ravaglia: 
they are so used to being right, it is hard for them to learn how to be wrong...
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:10 Raymond Ravaglia
2:10
Raymond Ravaglia: 
and being wrong is part of being challenged.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:10 Raymond Ravaglia
2:10
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
That's a good point, Raymond.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:10 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:10
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Some of the students in our program opt out of regular school because they are bullied there and they like the online environment.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:10 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:11
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
What are some other reasons that gifted students may opt for an online course vs. a face-to-face program?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:11 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:11
Raymond Ravaglia: 
We had a student who did not want to spend 60 minutes every morning getting her makeup right....
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:11 Raymond Ravaglia
2:11
Raymond Ravaglia: 
You might have students who need courses that are not popular or readily avaiable
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:11 Raymond Ravaglia
2:11
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Our research shows that students chose these classes because they want additional challenge--they want courses they cannot get in their regular school or cannot get at their age or grade
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:11 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:12
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Algebra in Elementary school, calculus in middle school, university level work in high school, for example
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:12 Raymond Ravaglia
2:12
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Excellent. I know we've had several people ask questions about why a student may choose online vs. face-to-face. I just wanted to bring some of those reasons to the forefront.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:12 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:12
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Our research shows that parents of younger students--4 though 7th, chose online courses in addition to regular school because they are looking for intellectual peers for their child.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:12 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:13
Raymond Ravaglia: 
I think too the parents feel more engaged in the online course - they have more direct experience of it.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:13 Raymond Ravaglia
2:13
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
That leads me to another question, submitted by Nirvi.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:13 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:13
[Comment From NirviNirvi: ] 
Can gifted students supervise themselves if they are taking online classes?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:13 Nirvi
2:13
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
I am curious about what role parents and instructors play in gifted students' online learning.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:13 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:14
Raymond Ravaglia: 
@Nirvi - any time you want people on task, you need supervision. Gifted kids are often also gifted at getting distracted and going off on tangents.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:14 Raymond Ravaglia
2:14
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Yes, NIrvi, many students do well working independently, on their own, and one on one with their online instructor.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:14 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:14
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
There is somewhat of a misconception, I think, that online learning means sitting a student down in front of a computer in an empty classroom somewhere and having them work through modules.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:14 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:14
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Being able to work independently is both a contributing factor to success in a online course but also something that gets developed by the experience
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:14 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:14
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
But as both Paula and Raymond have mentioned, those students (even if they are physically alone) are not necessarily doing it on their own.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:14 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:14
Raymond Ravaglia: 

Agree completely with Paula on this with regards to success indicators.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:14 Raymond Ravaglia
2:15
Raymond Ravaglia: 

Katie is right. You can have a class of 20 kids, each working on different things.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:15 Raymond Ravaglia
2:15
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Or you can have 20 kids at home. wide variations abound.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:15 Raymond Ravaglia
2:15
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
that individualization is the beauty of online learning and a main benefit
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:15 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:15
Raymond Ravaglia: 
here here
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:15 Raymond Ravaglia
2:16
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
And it seems that both the parent (depending on the age of the child) and the instructor play a critical role in the student's success.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:16 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:16
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Gifted kids love to follow their own interests and passions and that is often difficult in our current schooling. Online learning can facilitate this.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:16 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:16
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a more logistical question.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:16 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:16
[Comment From ss: ] 
I have previewed the CTD and EPGY programs, how can i get he school district to honor the classes as credit?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:16 s
2:16
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Parents and schools need to be looking for solutions, not putting obstacles in place
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:16 Raymond Ravaglia
2:17
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
How do your programs work with school districts to transfer credits, etc?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:17 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:17
Raymond Ravaglia: 

Credit is always a problem, since the receiving school decides
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:17 Raymond Ravaglia
2:17
Raymond Ravaglia: 
no way to make them accept....
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:17 Raymond Ravaglia
2:17
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
CTD is accredited by the same agency that accredits most public schools in the country. School similarly accredited are supposed to accept each others credit.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:17 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:17
Raymond Ravaglia: 
but we have gotten accreditation from WASC, so they should accept. But still can be hard.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:17 Raymond Ravaglia
2:17
Raymond Ravaglia: 
ironically, the better the school, the more instiutional ego, and the harder it is at times to budge them
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:17 Raymond Ravaglia
2:18
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
IN reality, schools may not accept credits even though they are supposed to.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:18 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:18
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
That's definitely something to look into before students start online courses, and I imagine it differs from school to school.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:18 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:18
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Ray is right, more selective schools are more often, unwilling to accept credits from another palce.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:18 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:18
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Interesting.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:18 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:18
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Katie -absolute. and there is little consistency within schools year over year.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:18 Raymond Ravaglia
2:18
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question from Scott.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:18 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:18
[Comment From Scott SnyderScott Snyder: ] 
In addition to the Gifted Learning Links, what other resources do you recommend to stretch elementary age children?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:18 Scott Snyder
2:18
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Definitely differs from school to school. YOu need to check it out if credit matters to you.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:18 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:19
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
What resources are out there for gifted elementary school students?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:19 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:19
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Or, what would you recommend the parents of those children do to make sure they get what they need to be academically challenged?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:19 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:19
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Scott,
There are many summer and weekend programs depending where you live. Many are listed on the website of the National ASsociation for Gifted Children. Talent search organizations also have lists on their website. We do on CTD's.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:19 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:20
Raymond Ravaglia: 
There are lots of resources out there. (Look at the hoagies gifted page) But many are of limited value. Paula has good suggestions.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:20 Raymond Ravaglia
2:20
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Getting kids around other kids is key to generating passion
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:20 Raymond Ravaglia
2:20
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Yes, that's a great suggestion, Paula.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:20 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:20
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
I also recommend a rich diet of educational activities such as trip to museums, libraries and cultural institutions for all children--as family outings.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:20 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:20
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Definitely. Here's another question regarding individualization of learning.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:20 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:20
[Comment From SRHSRH: ] 
How does online learning respond to students when they are excelling? Does the technology adapt if students seem to be capable of going at a faster pace or learning advanced material?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:20 SRH
2:21
Raymond Ravaglia: 
SRH - some courses are adaptive. Wide variation.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:21 Raymond Ravaglia
2:21
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Hi SRH,

Some programs are completely on the computer and they do adapt as students work through the material. Our courses are not like that. OUrs are very teacher driven and it is up to the teacher to modify the pacing if needed.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:21 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:22
Raymond Ravaglia: 
There is a trade off between individualization and the creation of peer cohorts. Need to be traded off and balanced.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:22 Raymond Ravaglia
2:22
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Definitely. It seems like there are as many different types of online courses out there as there are schools.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:22 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:22
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Good teachers can adjust the pacing and the content via chosen projects and indivdualized assignements
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:22 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:23
[Comment From Scott SnyderScott Snyder: ] 
I have children who have attended the Center for Talent Development, the National Young Scholars Program, the Summer Institute for the Gifted, and some others. Here's the challenge. How do I bring some of what they're learning back to my elementary school and district?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:23 Scott Snyder
2:23
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Another question from Scott..
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:23 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:24
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
This is something I think Raymond and I have spoken about - how to continue that energy and passion that students feel after spending a weekend or summer with their intellectual peers.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:24 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:24
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Scott - much of what they are learning is attitude and approach to learning, rather than particular material. They challenge is fostering the enthusiasm. ...
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:24 Raymond Ravaglia
2:24
Raymond Ravaglia: 
and to do this, you need to replicate the methods of instruction used in those programs ...
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:24 Raymond Ravaglia
2:24
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Scott, a good and difficult question. You need to find someone who is an ally in the school--someone who is interested in gifted education and wants to learn how to extend kids outside of school learning into school,
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:24 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:25
Raymond Ravaglia: 
and part of that is in making sure the students are motivated, excited, and want to be learning the stuff...
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:25 Raymond Ravaglia
2:25
Raymond Ravaglia: 
and then get them with isntructors who share their passions.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:25 Raymond Ravaglia
2:25
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
More teachers need training in gifted educaiton methods. That training not only benefits gifted kids but will extend to all kids.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:25 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:25
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Agree with Paula
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:25 Raymond Ravaglia
2:25
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's an interesting question from Caryn.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:25 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:25
[Comment From Caryn EllisonCaryn Ellison: ] 
I taught 5th & 6th gr GT students in a self-contained setting for 20+ years. I knew how to make assignments richer in thinking and in their products. Now I'm teaching in a virtual school. The tendency is for bright kids to just push ahead in their coursework and head into the next level. Any suggestion for how I can transfer my background in enrichment and individualization to my online students?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:25 Caryn Ellison
2:26
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Caryn - depends o nthe type of online instruction. does it allow for the teacher to individualize the curriculum? or are you just responding to questions from kids while the program does the driving?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:26 Raymond Ravaglia
2:27
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Caryn,

Can you offer enrichment courses--ones that perhaps do not carry credit or ones that kids cannot get in school. And infuse special projects and assignemtns into your courses so that kids get a taste of deeper learning on a topic?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:27 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:27
Raymond Ravaglia: 
too often the online approach handcuffs the instructor. hard to keep it teacher driven. we have struggled with this off and on.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:27 Raymond Ravaglia
2:27
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
I think this is something you touched on, Raymond, when talking about the need to have students move ahead at their own pace but also work together for greater enrichment at certain points.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:27 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:27
[Comment From Caryn EllisonCaryn Ellison: ] 
It does not allow for individualizing. Anything else would be considered "extra" by parents and students.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:27 Caryn Ellison
2:27
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
AT CTD we do not give teachers a prescribed curriculum. Our philosophy is to hire good teachers and let them design the course.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:27 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:28
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Exactly. And there is a problem with maximizing on two dimensions.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:28 Raymond Ravaglia
2:29
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
That kind of defeats one of the advantages of online learning--tailoring coruses to the interests of indivdiual students
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:29 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:29
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
One more interesting question from Caryn -
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:29 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:29
[Comment From Caryn EllisonCaryn Ellison: ] 
How about the identification process in virtual schools? What could this step look like with online students?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:29 Caryn Ellison
2:29
Raymond Ravaglia: 
We follow Paula's approach in the Online High School. Our older courses were more design centric, with less teacher flexibility.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:29 Raymond Ravaglia
2:29
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Identification depends upon have good, authentic assessments, and a real sense of the student as a learner and as a demonstrator of learning potential
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:29 Raymond Ravaglia
2:30
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Regarding identification Caryn--we use typical methods--test scores on off-level tests for accelerated courses, grades, test scores and teacher recommendations for enrichment courses

As always, identification is matched to the course in level, pacing and content area
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:30 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:30
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
You might also look for evidence that a student is motivation and can work independently
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:30 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:30
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
I know you've already answered this question, Paula, but I'm interested in how the curriculum is set up at EPGY as well.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:30 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:30
[Comment From RebeccaRebecca: ] 
Online education seems to be at a crossroads as the role of curriculum designer has not been fully taken out of the hands of online instructors. Do your online schools buy canned curriculum or do your instructors design their own classes? If your instructors design your courses, what techniques have you found to be unique to designing great ONLINE curriculum for gifted students.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:30 Rebecca
2:30
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Best practices for identification apply the same to virtual learning
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:30 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:31
Raymond Ravaglia: 
We design our own courses at EPGY. Sometimes it is the instructor doing the designing, sometimes it is subject matter expert designers.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:31 Raymond Ravaglia
2:31
Raymond Ravaglia: 
It depends on tehe course and the qualification.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:31 Raymond Ravaglia
2:31
Raymond Ravaglia: 
of the instructor.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:31 Raymond Ravaglia
2:31
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
IN designed online courses the key is what does the teacher want to do and accomplish instructionally. You start with that and then you find a way to do that virtually or online
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:31 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:32
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
And as we mentioned before, how a course is designed varies from school to school (sometimes even within a school).
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:32 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:32
Raymond Ravaglia: 
And there is always ways for teachers to differentiate. Sometimes one needs ot be creative.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:32 Raymond Ravaglia
2:32
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
The design of online courses has to be driven by the instructional goals not the venue or medium
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:32 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:33
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
I agree with Ray, differentiation is key even in course in which all the kids are gifted. They still vary in interests and ability
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:33 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:33
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Though medium can play a role.  If only a limiting factor.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:33 Raymond Ravaglia
2:33
Raymond Ravaglia: 
bold used to show that even in the pure text world, one can get creative, or mix it up.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:33 Raymond Ravaglia
2:33
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a tough one from Tamara. I know that both of you work through university-led programs, so I don't know if this is your area of expertise, but just in case...
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:33 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:33
[Comment From TamaraTamara: ] 
I'm in a high-poverty Title I district. What are some great low-cost or no-cost online learning options for my gifted students? Our school district and their parents have limited funds. What options would you recommend for these kids?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:33 Tamara
2:34
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Any tips for Tamara, or others who face similar challenges?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:34 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:34
Raymond Ravaglia: 
You can use Title I funds for gifted, though No child left behind makes it harder....
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:34 Raymond Ravaglia
2:34
Raymond Ravaglia: 
best bet is to fine programs that are fully differentiated....
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:34 Raymond Ravaglia
2:34
Raymond Ravaglia: 
so serve intervention and gifted at the same time...
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:34 Raymond Ravaglia
2:34
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Does you state have an online virtual school? Often these are cheaper. All online programs for gifted students do have scholarship funds available and financial aid.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:34 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:34
Raymond Ravaglia: 
that way you can lean on the mainline title i funds....
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:34 Raymond Ravaglia
2:34
Raymond Ravaglia: 
while still serving the gifted.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:34 Raymond Ravaglia
2:35
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
I am interested to know what kinds of courses students who use EPGY and GLL take.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:35 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:35
[Comment From SRHSRH: ] 
What kind of art/music/extracurriculuar classes can these kids take online?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:35 SRH
2:36
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Are they looking for academic subjects? Or more extracurricular classes? Or a variety?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:36 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:36
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Regarding courses, EPGY has a Music Theory coruse.  We have also toyed with doing a course on Radio Drama.  This would be a good use of the medium.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:36 Raymond Ravaglia
2:36
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Many use our program to accelerate--particularly middle and high school aged students--to fit in another ap class. Older kids like independent study type formats.

Younger kids want enrichment--shorter, enrichment courses with great contact with other kids.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:36 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:37
Raymond Ravaglia: 
As for extracurriculars, at the Online High School we have debate, a culinary society, with virtual iron chef, we have a google earth society, math team, poetry journal, etc
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:37 Raymond Ravaglia
2:37
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
I know the last time we spoke, Paula, you mentioned that what students want out of online gifted courses differs depending on age level. That the younger students do enjoy that social interaction and networking with other gifted students while the older students wanted more of an independent format.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:37 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:37
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
We are currently rolling out courses in creative studies and we also offer online clubs as extra curriculars for students
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:37 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:38
Raymond Ravaglia: 
@Katie - some times the students want particular content knowledge, other times they want the experience of being challenged, sometimes both - wide differences
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:38 Raymond Ravaglia
2:38
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
It does seem like students come to online learning with lots of different goals and motivations in mind.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:38 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:38
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Yes, Katie,

Our research showed that the younger kids want to get online and meet in virtual classrooms. They like that.

The older kids have busy schedules with lots of classes and even work. They want to do the class on their own time--they prefer to work one on one with the teacher in an independent study
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:38 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:39
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Let's talk more about the relationship between the instructor and the student in an online course.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:39 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:39
[Comment From SRHSRH: ] 
How do students in an online environment get to know their teacher? How do they bond?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:39 SRH
2:39
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
How do students and instructors maintain contact? Email? Phone? Web conferencing?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:39 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:39
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Synchronous interaction supports bonding, but one also gets a good sense from email and exchange of work.  ...
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:39 Raymond Ravaglia
2:40
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Interstingly, they bond well and kids say that they get to know their teachers better and teacher say the same about their students. They do this connecting by email and chats and online meetings
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:40 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:40
Raymond Ravaglia: 
... but synchronous has been best in our experience, which is why we are increasingly after real-time video conferencing as a medium.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:40 Raymond Ravaglia
2:40
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Yes, your program is fairly unique in the sense that synchronous (or real-time) learning is a real key to the overall program, Raymond.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:40 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:40
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Our teachers, most of whom taught in brick and mortar schools, say they are surprised at how much more they get to know their students in the online classes.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:40 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:41
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's another more logistical one that I think scares people about online learning.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:41 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:41
[Comment From Debbie V.Debbie V.: ] 
What steps do you take to ensure that tech support is available for students who take these online programs? I can imagine all sorts of headaches for learner at home.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:41 Debbie V.
2:41
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Our classes are different and most are asynchronous but that does not seem to affect the relationship between teacher and student. Of course we stress this as a key component of the program
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:41 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:42
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Best approach to tech support is to use standardized systems and make minimal assumptions about the technology.  But also provide good self service and self testing aparatus so that if the problem is with the hardware, they can get someone else to look into it.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:42 Raymond Ravaglia
2:42
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Debbie,

you have to have someone on staff who can individually consult with kids and parents regarding tech problems
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:42 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:42
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Best advice to parents is "put the kid on the phone."
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:42 Raymond Ravaglia
2:42
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Also, having good information about the tech requirements is helpful

WE do an online tech orientation for our students before they begin their classes
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:42 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:43
Raymond Ravaglia: 
We also do an online orientation.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:43 Raymond Ravaglia
2:43
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
The tech orientation addresses most of the common problems and previews some of the tools students will be using online in their course sites
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:43 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:44
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
I've heard from lots of online schools (gifted and not) that having an orientation is an important piece to setting up expectations for both teachers and students.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:44 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:44
[Comment From BarryBarry: ] 
Should e-learning programs completely replace gifted education in schools?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:44 Barry
2:44
Raymond Ravaglia: 
No.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:44 Raymond Ravaglia
2:45
Raymond Ravaglia: 
They are one tool and have a good place, but certainly not the only tool
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:45 Raymond Ravaglia
2:45
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
I think gifted kids, like all kids, need a variety of different types of educational experiences because they learn different things and acquire skills from each one
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:45 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:45
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
This is one of those "false dilemmas" I think often comes up between face-to-face and online education.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:45 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:46
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
That being said, online programs are a very cost efficient way for schools to meet the needs of gifted children--cheaper than hiring full time staff for a small group of children
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:46 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:46
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Yes, in fact new research suggests that most students prefer hybrid classes that combine online learning with face to face learning
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:46 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:46
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
And those efficiencies are even more poignant in the gifted community, I think, just because you can achieve efficiencies of scale more easily online than in a physical classroom.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:46 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:47
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a follow up question for Paula from Regina.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:47 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:47
[Comment From Regina FilangeRegina Filange: ] 
Paula mentioned earlier that there's a difference to how older and younger students approach online learning. Can you expand on that? Why do younger students feel so drawn to online classrooms, and why does that fade as they get older?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:47 Regina Filange
2:47
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
yes, the thing that is important to know about distance learning though, and having done it myself as an instructor, it takes a lot of time to respond to each of your students and individualize their learning
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:47 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:48
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
HI REgina,

I think older kids are just busy. They have many things going on and so they want to work on their own time--even if it is in the middle of the night!!
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:48 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:49
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Going back to what you just mentioned, too, Paula, I've heard and written quite a bit about the potential cost savings of online learning, and it's important to keep in mind that while there are some, cost savings is not the best driver of online learning.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:49 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:50
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Teaching online is often just as challenging and time-consuming (if not more) than teaching in a physical classroom.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:50 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:50
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Yes, you are right. One of my concerns is that if school just put their gifted kids in online, they will not themselves take responsibility for their learning needs and training teachers to meet them. so we have to be careful
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:50 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:51
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Definitely. It is quite a balance to strike.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:51 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:51
Raymond Ravaglia: 
One needs to decide if one is using the tool to drive efficiency or to drive quality.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:51 Raymond Ravaglia
2:51
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Exactly.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:51 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:51
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's an early question from Susan.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:51 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:51
[Comment From Susan HowellSusan Howell: ] 
How can we create easy online feedback from our gifted students for their feedback ?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:51 Susan Howell
2:52
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
How do students receive feedback and what role does that feedback play in their instruction?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:52 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:52
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Varies by course.  Often times it is submitting essays electronically and getting traditional comments n the work.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:52 Raymond Ravaglia
2:52
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
And in turn, how do online course instructors make it easy for their students to leave feedback for them?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:52 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:52
Raymond Ravaglia: 
other times it might be machine evaluation of formulas via symbolic computation.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:52 Raymond Ravaglia
2:53
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
STudents receive feedback via grading of assignments, through emails, and that feedback plays the same role as in face to face instruction.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:53 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:53
Raymond Ravaglia: 
As for getting feedback, survey monkey is one way.  Other tools like that.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:53 Raymond Ravaglia
2:53
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Many systems have feedback tools built in
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:53 Raymond Ravaglia
2:53
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
The types of assignments and grades are not that different. The submission of them might be
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:53 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:54
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
The Internet seems to really provide an opportunity to collect quite a bit of data on students.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:54 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:54
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Absolutely.  Latency information (how much time they spend doing thigns) is one of the most fruitful (potentially).
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:54 Raymond Ravaglia
2:54
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Those of us who run programs, solicit feedback from students, their parents and even their home teachers.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:54 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:54
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
And a technical question from John.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:54 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:54
[Comment From JohnJohn: ] 
How much technology infrastructure do schools need for successful e-learning programs?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:54 John
2:55
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Do you think most schools are adequately equipped to begin bringing online courses into their curriculum?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:55 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:55
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Depends on the program, but most important is good internet connectivity....
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:55 Raymond Ravaglia
2:55
Raymond Ravaglia: 
if you have 30 kids online at the same time, ...
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:55 Raymond Ravaglia
2:55
Raymond Ravaglia: 
all doing rich things, their collective throughput on a T1 line is worse than dialup
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:55 Raymond Ravaglia
2:56
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
We rely on Northwestern University to give us the infrastructure. I agree with Ray that internet access and connectivity is key
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:56 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:56
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Definitely - enough broadband is key for students in online courses.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:56 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:56
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
WE use virtual meeting software such as Adobe Connect--there are other software programs out there.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:56 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:57
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
There is a good newspaper I subscribe to that helps me learn about technology tools--it is e-School News
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:57 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
2:57
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Agreed.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:57 Raymond Ravaglia
2:58
Raymond Ravaglia: 
And of course Education Week.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:58 Raymond Ravaglia
2:58
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Excellent. I think we are just about out of time here. Any closing thoughts you would like to share with our audience, Raymond and Paula?
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:58 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:58
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Haha, thanks Raymond.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:58 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:58
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Dive in head first.  Expect to get it wrong a few times, but to learn a great deal.  These kids are much better learners than we are teachers.  They will do well.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:58 Raymond Ravaglia
2:59
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Sage advice, Raymond.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:59 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:59
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
This was the first time I did this and it was great. I agree with Ray--JUST DO IT!!!

Kids need to learn how to be independent learners--to be lifelong learner and online classes can facilitate that.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 2:59 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
3:00
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great! Raymond has said we can share his email if you would like to get in touch with him: ravaglia@stanford.edu
Wednesday September 28, 2011 3:00 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:00
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius: 
Mine also
p-olszewski-kubilius@northwestern.edu
Wednesday September 28, 2011 3:00 Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
3:00
Raymond Ravaglia: 
Thanks to Paula and Katie and to all of you out there.  Look forward to seeing you online before too long.  --Ray
Wednesday September 28, 2011 3:00 Raymond Ravaglia
3:01
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Thanks so much, Paula and Raymond, and to all of you who participated in today's chat!
Wednesday September 28, 2011 3:01 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:01
edweekbryan: 
A huge thanks to our two guests, our excellent moderator Katie, and to all of you for spending your last hour with us! We hope you enjoyed it.

The transcript of today's chat will be available later this afternoon. Thanks again, folks, and have a great rest of the day.
Wednesday September 28, 2011 3:01 edweekbryan
3:06
 

 
 
 

Live Chat: Gifted Students Click on E-Learning

Wednesday, September 28, 2 p.m. EDT

Online learning—which allows students to move through courses at their own pace, access a vast array of courses, and receive individualized instruction—is becoming an increasingly popular choice for gifted students, especially as gifted and talented programs are being fiscally squeezed. But what do we know about how best to serve this population of students? And what might the challenges of teaching gifted students online be? Our guests answered these questions and more in this chat.

Related Story:

Guests:
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, director, Center for Talent Development, Northwestern University

Raymond Ravaglia, executive director, Education Program for Gifted Youth, Stanford University

Katie Ash, staff writer, Education Week, moderated this chat.


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