virtual-learning Free for Military Families

It looks like the Department of Defense has contracted with to provide free online tutoring 24/7 to any student in a military family. What a cool idea. Here is the 411:

This program is provided by the Department of Defense. Authorized patrons include U.S. active duty military service members, U.S. military reservists, U.S. National Guard personnel on active duty in a deployed status and DoD civilians in a deployed status, and their dependents. is tutoring the way it was meant to be. You get an expert tutor whenever you need help, and you work one-to-one with your tutor in our online classroom on your specific problem until it’s done. You never need to make an appointment—or even leave the house!

Get help with:

  1. •Homework Problems
  2. •Test Preparation
  3. •Studying
  4. •Proofreading
  5. •Resume Writing
  6. •Career Transitions
  7. •and more…


Keep reading

Creative Writing Online Workshop

Join Bonnie Cehovet and Mary Nale for this Online Workshop!

~ What is creative writing?

~ Creative writing – fiction and non-fiction.

~ What part does creative writing play in your life?

~ Where does individual expression come from?

~ How does creative writing free us?

~ How do we get started with creative writing?

~ Where do creative writing ideas come from?

~ Creative writing exercises.

~ Creative writing using the Tarot.

~ Where to find creative writing prompts.

Please bring pen or pencil, paper, your creative self,

and your willingness to write creatively! 

The Webinar is Saturday, January 21st 
at Noon EST.
The cost is $10.00
Hope to see you all there!
Register here:

Gaming and Virtual reality

Acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook, attracts the world about virtual reality again. $2 billion assignment encourages the VR developers and users. Gaming is also an emerging field that started use of Virtual reality.  In virtual reality games a person interact with 3d environment and interaction with the virtual environment is via a keyboard, mouse, joystick or other device, and become the vital part of the game. Sensors detect the movement of the player.  Movements are fed back to a computer which then analyses the data and uses this to transform person’s actions into the appropriate responses on the screen.

VR Languages  are VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language), X3D, 3DML(Made it easy to visit website via a plug in) and COLLADA (Collaborative Design Activity) several other languages were used but they are less popular.

“EnglishCentral allows you to take a course and speak and learn English online with a speech recognition system, vocabulary and pronunciation tools.”

(The basic idea is to find a video suitable for your level, watch it, and then do interactive exercises created for it - typing in the missing words (similar to dictation), reading it out loud or taking a vocabulary quiz. There are over 9000 videos and it’s free.)

Students apply gaming toward high-tech learning tools

Sean Huberty will tell you that time spent playing video games can actually be a solid investment in your future.

That’s because Huberty is in the business of developing interactive “games” for teaching and learning through the Digital Innovation Center for the Arts, Science and Technology (DICAST) at Lansing Community College.

Keep reading

July 28th - Imagining the Perfect Virtual Learning Environment

Innovation in Education

Innovation Bound is hosting a Think Tank Event!  Join Educators, Students, and Innovators in imagining the perfect virtual learning environment. Professional facilitators will push our imaginations to their limits and beyond in an effort to create truly original ideas and valuable thought leadership.  Join to learn, network, and make an impact!

  • Thought Leadership (New ideas that drive change) - Cultivate your creative capacity and learn to generate truly original ideas!
  • Networking (Making new friends)  - Meet professionals passionate about the future of education, and meet individuals innovating in education today!
  • A Real-World Challenge (This is not a simulation) - The amount of online courses being taught today are growing fast.  Help influence the way they change!

The workshop is open, free and everyone is welcome.  Educators, Students, Administrators, and Mobile/Web Technologists stand to gain the most from the workshop, and add real value to the creative process.

*Disclaimer:  The workshop will be filmed and photographed.  By attending, you are consenting to any use of the footage and photos which may include you.

A Day in the Life of a Virtual Teacher: Here’s Why I Do What I Do - Part 2

By Christine Garland

In the second part of this two-part series about virtual teaching, Jena Sherry tells us why she decided to swap bricks and mortar for online teaching.

Sherry taught in a traditional setting for seven or eight years before leaving. Her reason for leaving, initially, was that she felt like she’d out grown where she was in large part because she felt like she was “smuggling” technology into her classroom. While some schools are fairly tech friendly, even Sherry’s current district was lukewarm about virtual teaching a few years ago.

Today, WIVA — Wisconsin’s virtual academy — is growing by leaps and bounds and all bricks and mortar students in Sherry’s district are required to take at least one on-line class before graduation. 

But these are Sherry’s reasons — in her own words — for teaching virtually.  

1. It Removes Technological Barriers

Virtual teaching takes away so many of the technological barriers. So many schools are trying to find ways to have their kids afford one-to-one. They’re also trying to decide which devices to use and set up wifi that can handle all the devices. My kids already are one-to-one. My kids already have a device and wifi.

2. It Cuts Back on Behavioral Problems

Autistic kids really seem to thrive. There’s no one in their bubble pushing their buttons. Some kids with major attention problems are more comfortable in their house and more used to its noises and quirks so they’re less distracted. 

If kids need a break, they can do what they do without disrupting the day per se. It definitely helps with behavior problems.

3. It Lets Sherry Do Things in Her Own Time

The parents are pretty forward thinking and it’s pretty autonomous. I make my schedule for the day. I plan what I’m doing and I make my office hours. 

If I want to call a parent or have team meeting during the day, I can do that. I’ve never been able to do that before.

4. It Makes Students More Accountable

Kids can’t tell you they lost their paper or they don’t have a printer. We’re virtually paperless and I can see exactly when they logged on. I can also see the work they’re doing. It’s fabulous. The accountability is amazing.

All the tools we have available help with accountability. Remind101 is a Godsend because it allows me to stay connected to my students and it allows me to let my students quickly know about any schedule changes.

5. Kids Interact with Each Other in a Different Way

It makes it more exciting. If a kid goes to Florida they can show the class where they are. If they get a new cat they can show us. If grandma’s visiting they can say, ‘hey, here’s grandma.’ It gives you a little peek into kids’ personal lives.

5. It Lets Students Study at Their Pace & Level

I like that kids are challenged and I think it’s more engaging for them. For some people, it takes longer to do a curriculum and when school is technically done, they’re still working in July. Some kids are really gifted and don’t want the extra fluff. They can do their work and get promoted to the next level.

I had a sixth grader who was still nine when she started school. If you talk to her she sounds like a scientist. Her home district would never allow her to be in sixth grade. Here, kids are where they’re at.

6. It’s Convenient

Being mobile is so much more convenient. I don’t have to drag myself off to school on a Sunday and then be in a big building by myself. I hated that. I can lay in bed and work because I do things right from iPad or I can get my oil changed and work. My church has wifi, my hair place has wifi. Everything is much more convenient.

(Sherry can also vacation and teach. She gave the example of a friend who took two vacation days — one to fly to Mexico and one to fly back — and spent the rest of the vacation working, poolside.)

So what about the workload? Sherry has 80 students, which she says is manageable in a virtual setting. That being said, because she can work anywhere at any time, she works a lot. 

“We had this informal system for asking for time off but now they want us to log our hours,” Sherry said. “I didn’t realize how much I would hang out at the weekend checking my iPad and replying to this or that. I would sit there and work for a few hours and not even realize it.”

Sherry also doesn’t have substitutes, which she says isn’t a problem because she can record classes ahead of time and let her students know “hey, I won’t be around tomorrow, but I’ll see you the following day.”

While not ideal for every teacher, for Sherry it works. 

“I feel much more appreciated in this environment than in my previous one,” she said.


Imagining The Perfect Virtual Learning Environment

On July 28th educators, technologists and other professionals came to together to imagine the future of education.  Participants started by outlining parameters.  They asked themselves questions like, “What might be all the different student demographics?” “Through what mediums can education happen?” and “What might be the various durations a session may last?”

Next participants split up into small teams and choose a set of parameters for which to design their virtual learning environment.  The ideas that came out were phenomenal!  Some decided to teach “know-it-alls” martial arts through an online multi-player gaming platform.  Another group focused on how to assess learning style/preference in an engaging way.  MoshMind (patent pending…) was another design which combined meditation and mobile technologies.  The ideas were highly elaborate and original.

The education system is facing some challenges and plenty of flack, but judging from the ideas that came out of these collaborations the horizon is bright.

A Day in the Life of a Virtual Teacher - Part 1

By Christine Garland

Head set on, the backdrop of her classroom a cozy living space in her own home, computer up, apps ready, this is how virtual school teacher Jena Sherry starts her day. The only chair in her classroom is hers. The only whiteboard is smart and her kids — all 80 of them — are not from one district or school building, but all over Wisconsin.

“People say, ‘oh my gosh, you’ve got 80 students,’ but the time is so much more efficient,” Sherry said. “With the different methods of teaching, you can easily handle 80 students.”

For two years, Sherry has taught for WIVA, Wisconsin’s virtual academy. Wisconsin is a school of choice state meaning every single one of Sherry’s students is there by choice. 

So what’s a school day like for a non-traditional virtual teacher? Well every day Sherry gets up and, like many teachers and professionals, turns on her iPad or other device to answer a few emails from bed. The difference — as you can imagine — is that she can continue working from bed or something like it (hello pajamas) while others dress and go to work.

Sherry’s classes are live, but they’re also recorded so anyone who misses a class can catch up on their own time. 

“Students can be here there or everywhere and still be schooling,” Sherry said.  

This means that a student who is struggling or prefers to work in the summer, can finish coursework in July instead of June. It also means a sixth grader working at a fifth grade math level, doesn’t have to suffer the in-class embarrassment of working at a lower level than his or her peers.

The flexibility also helps with behavioral issues simple solutions often resolve. For example, when students are hungry, they can grab a snack. When they need to run off excess energy, they disappear outside for 30 minutes. Late risers can start school at 10 a.m. and finish at 7 p.m.

The flexible schedule is particularly attractive to students’ parents, many of whom are “learning coaches.” Learning coaches agree to aid the virtual learning experience. These coaches are often a parent or grandparent. The intensity of their responsibilities directly correlates with a child’s age. 

A first-grade learning coach, for example, might have to help about 80 percent of the time but a high school student will need very little oversight from a learning coach. 

“The older the students get, the less responsibility the learning coach has,” Sherry said.

Instead of grades, Sherry’s students, who are in sixth, seventh and eighth grade, have to master their assignments. Once they do, they move on to the next one.

“Unlike before where kids could take a zero, if you don’t do a lesson, when you open the online school tomorrow, it’s there waiting for you,” Sherry said. “And if you don’t do it, it will wait for you the next day. You can’t just skip through. You have to have it 100 percent mastered before you move to the next class.”

During the school day, students login and participate using Blackboard Collaborate, video, polling tools and other resources. Students often use emoticons — the slow down and speed up emoticon are two favorites — to non-verbally communicate with Sherry during class.

Sherry uses a mic that works like a walkie-talkie system to prevent people from talking over each other during lessons. And, if students get a bit rowdy, Sherry can shut off sharing tools until class gets back to normal.

Between live lessons and grading, Sherry takes calls from parents, operates “office hours” for her students, or meets with colleagues — things she could never do during the day while teaching in a physical classroom.

Last year, WIVA expected student enrollment for K-12 to increase from 700 to 800. By the time school started, enrollment it hit 2,000. This year, enrollment reached 2,300. And who, exactly, is enrolling? Sherry said her class population mirrors bricks and mortar classrooms.

“I have kids that are super overachieving. I have kids that are super underachieving that try not to work and get away with it. I have some kids whose parents work from home so it’s convenient for everyone. I have some autistic kids who really thrive in this environment because no one is pushing their buttons,” Sherry said. “It’s like a bricks and mortar classroom.”

So why does Sherry do it? More on that later this week!

Hundreds of kids in the Bay Area are staying home for school this year. Online, “virtual” charter schools are making headway in California, recruiting a fast-growing number of students and leaving state lawmakers scratching their heads over how to fund and oversee this new breed of education.

What do you think of this form of education for children?

In 2013, 25,000 teachers – a 30% increase over the previous year – joined Skype in the Classroom. The platform allows educators to bring virtual guest speakers into their classrooms and to take students on virtual field trips. Some educators say the technology offers opportunities for districts to find low-cost ways to engage students in lessons.


School is the leading classroom management software solution that will enhance your instructional technology efforts; a unique solution offering true ‘any platform’ allows instructors to manage, observe, and interact with students’ computers and devices while continually assessing their progress. A distinctive feature set includes powerful quiz, survey and multi-media Testing tools, internet metering and control, real time audio monitoring and language lab capabilities, plus a technician console that provides practical problem resolution.

Responding to the growing emergence of BYOD initiatives, NetSupport School includes support for multiple environments including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Chrome.

AB Graham Academy will close

AB Graham Academy will close

A local charter school that served 280 students last year from multiple counties will not be around this August.

The AB Graham Academy in St. Paris has failed to secure a new sponsor for next year and will not operate in the fall.

It’s former sponsor, Graham Local School District, did not renew its agreement in December and after pursuing other options, the school has run out of time. Its current…

View On WordPress

Learning in a Virtual World

We live in virtual times. We can see events happen a world away and experience the event as if we were actually there. Today, we offer LIVE instructor-led learning events that are presented over the web. We can take these sessions one step further by providing clients with access to computers in our training lab, located across the country or across the globe, that allows clients to have hand-on learning experience – all while the client sits in the comfort of his/her office or home. Sounds too good to be true? No, that is today’s virtual reality!

FM:Systems has launched Distance Learning Labs (DLL).The DLL sessions focus on modules associated with FM:Interact and the tasks you complete in those modules.  Sessions run between 3 and 4 hours. During the session, students are assigned to a remote training computer where the student completes hands-on lab exercises.

So, you may be asking yourself:

Why should I attend a Distance Learning Lab session?

  • You can attend training sessions without traveling to Raleigh, NC.
  • You can apply support credits to your session.
  • Sessions run 3 to 4 hours, so you can attend training AND continue your work routines.

How is the Distance Learning Lab different from Webinars?

The Distance Learning Lab is different from webinars in a variety of ways including:

  • The Distance Learning Lab is interactive where students participate in the session through chat, polling, annotation, and lab work.
  • The Distance Learning Lab offers hands-on the keyboard tasks that the students complete on remote training computers. The training computers contains the FM:Systems training database and the necessary software to support FM:Interact.
  • During the hands-on lab, the instructor can move (virtually) into each student’s lab and watch “over the shoulder” what the student is doing, answer any questions, take control of the student’s machine to show the student how to complete a task, and then the instructor can move to the next student’s machine.
  • During the hands-on lab, the instructor can broadcast messages to all students, and if necessary force students back into the main classroom.
  • While the instructor moves between student’s lab, other students can raise their hands, send questions, and the instructor will receive those messages, and respond accordingly.

I prefer the individual attention I get with a live instructor-led event in a traditional classroom, how does the Distance Learning Lab compare?

The Distance Learning Lab actually may provide you with more individual attention than a traditional classroom because the sessions are smaller – we keep enrollment to a maximum of 10 students (and we are considering making that number smaller). During the session:

  • You have access to emoticons where you can send a message to the instructor to speed up, slow down, and you can even send the coffee icon to indicate you need a break.
  • The instructor can monitor your activities as well and can even tell if you are multitasking! Don’t be surprised if at that very moment, the instructor calls on you to answer a question or participate in a discussion.
  • Through the virtual classroom, the instructor can also monitor how you have answered polling questions to see if you are grasping the concepts, and we can even institute tests.
  • During the hands-on lab, the instructor can move (virtually) into each student’s lab and watch “over the shoulder” what the student is doing, answer any questions, take control of the student’s machine to show the student how to complete a task, and then the instructor can move to the next student’s machine.
  • During the hands-on lab, the instructor can broadcast messages to all students, and if necessary force students back into the main classroom.
  • In general, the instructor can go back into the student’s lab computer and evaluate if the student successfully completed the assigned tasks.
  • While the instructor moves between student’s lab, other students can raise their hands, send questions, and the instructor will receive those messages, and respond accordingly.

How will I interact with my classmates?

The participant list will be available to all students in the session. You can chat with one another, and when the phone lines are open, discussions are encouraged. Finally, students can “pair-up” in a lab, where a student with more experience can share how to do something with another student.

Does my computer need to have the FM:Systems software and supporting software (e.g., AutoCAD)?”

No. All FM:Interact software etc., is accessible to you on the training lab machine you access from the virtual classroom. You can always take the DLL session from your home computer.

What are the requirements to participate in a DLL session?

You need to be able to download software to your computer. Some organizations block your ability to download software. If you are blocked from doing a download, you will not be able to participate in a Distance Learning Lab session.

How do I know if my company will block the DLL software download?

We ask all clients to attend the FREE “Preparing for the Distance Learning Lab” session. During this 30 minutes session the parts and function of the virtual classroom interface are highlighted, as well as how to enter and exit the lab attached to the virtual classroom.

This session also tests if you can download the Virtual classroom software to your computer. If your organization blocks the download, you will not be able to participate in any Distance Learning Lab sessions.

Can I Use Support Credits to pay for Distance Learning Lab sessions?

Yes. FM:Systems has updated support credits to allow clients to use the credits for either Classroom Instructor Led session at our Raleigh, NC location, or use credits for Distance Learning Lab sessions.

  • In general a single DLL session is 3 to 4 hours. This is worth 1 support credit (or $250).
  • A one day instructor-led class at our Raleigh location is 6 to 8 hours. This is worth 2 support credits (or $500).

FM:Systems has updated client’s support credits to allow for the use of these credits for Distance Learning Lab sessions.

What is the process for signing up for a Distance Learning Lab session?

  • Identify the Distance Learning Lab session you wish to take and click the REGISTER button.
  • From the Registration page, enter your name and email address.
  • You will receive an email message stating that your registration status is PENDING.
  • To change your registration status from PENDING to APPROVED, contact Lisa Watson at FM:Systems to make payment arrangements (you can use support credits or credit card payment).
  • If we have not received payment three days prior to the session, you will be moved to a waitlist.
  • Once payment is received, your registration status changes from PENDING to APPROVED.
  • You will receive an email message with the actual link to the Distance Learning Lab session.
  • The email includes:
    • Course description
    • Date/Time of the session
    • Link to the Virtual Classroom
    • Link to copy to your calendar to remind you of the event
    • Link to your student guide

How do I get course materials?

When you registration is approved, you will receive a link to the class event. The class event includes:

  • Course description
  • Date/Time of the session
  • Link to the Virtual Classroom
  • Link to copy to your calendar to remind you of the event
  • Link to your student guide

Please download and print out your student guide prior to the Distance Learning Lab session.

Will you be expanding your offerings for Distance Learning Lab sessions?

Yes. We will continue to develop content for delivery via distance learning, and we will continue to take your input and suggestions on other ways we can deploy the lab to meet your needs.

If I have additional questions, who can I contact?

Contact Teresa Lubeck at 919-582-9746.

Fore more information, read today’s press release on DLL and the new customer portal.

With technological innovations taking us all by storm, every year, several parents across the United States are pulling their children out of traditional schools and enrolling them with online homeschooling programs. Online learning programs in the country have witnessed an unprecedented rise in enrollments with more and more children preferring to go the online way. This has left many looking for reasons behind this exponential rise and its increased acceptability. 

Merijig Principal Forum last week

Last week I did the long haul across to lovely Merijig where I presented a keynote for 55 Principals from the local network.  Thanks to Steve Pink for his hospitality and leadership in this. My presentation covered our Project in general, language delivery examples and the benefits of using MSLYNC in the classroom.

Looking forward to continuing working with some of the wonderful Principals I meet during my time there.


Below:  Early morning prior to the presentation - notice the lovely view!


Great presentation today thanks heaps!

Steve (Principal Broadford Primary School)

Hi Jo,

No formal feedback but lots of Prins saying how informative your presentation was. They want you back soon……. Our meetings are usually at secondary schools with good wifi!

Meeting dates are 29th May, 2nd September & 19th November. When are you able to fit us in?





13 March 2014.

Dear Jo,

On behalf of both the Southern Hume Principals and SSS Networks, we express our thanks for your presentation at our meeting at Merrijig last week.

Your presentation was an integral part of an effort to construct a valuable conference for our members.  We also acknowledge the effort required by our presenters to travel to the venue.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Pink                                                           Jim Alsop

Chair                                                                          Chair

Southern Hume Principals Network.                   Southern Hume SSS Network.