First Graders Go to School Online by Lisa Nielsen

When you think of online learning, thoughts of high school kids, like those who shared 10 Reasons Students Say They Prefer Learning Online, probably come to mind. Did you know that there are also elementary students who learn online too? Yep. The profile of such families might be that they live in a remote area where there just aren't a lot of kids at a certain age, or perhaps the child is being home educated and the parents want the extra help to which they're entitled, or perhaps, the parents prefer home education, but don't have careers or life circumstances that allow for this to be a reality, so they supplement their child's learning with learning online. This allows for a consistent learning leader whether it's the mother home with the child, the father, a grandparent, family member, or nanny.

Even as an innovative educator, I was surprised to learn that online learning was occurring in elementary school. It seemed to me, at least in part, an answer to those who were considering home education for their children, but wanted support in getting started.

I had the good fortune to hear from Christina M. Narayan from Branson School Online, a first grade teacher who was doing this work along with her principal Leanna Walker-Christians
at a the Virtual School Symposium. The session was called, "CONNECTING...not just to the internet...but to your STUDENTS!

Here is what they addressed:

How do you "reach out and touch someone" when there's a computer in the way and yourstudents and staff live miles apart? Branson School Online staff will share the C3 Model for engagingand motivating online students. Creativity, Community and Communication are essential forconnecting to our learners. The 09 CO Elem Online Teacher of the Year and BSO Principalwill give concrete strategies for easy application. You can still have bulletin boards, Buddyprograms and even a class pet at your virtual school.

You can listen to the session here.
CONNECTING not just to the internet.mp3

You can view their presentation here.

Lisa Nielsen is best known as creator of The Innovative Educator blog and Transforming Education for the 21st Century learning network. Lisa is an outspoken and passionate advocate of innovative education. She is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on "Thinking Outside the Ban" and determining ways to harness the power of technology for instruction and providing a voice to educators and students. Based in New York City, Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities helping schools and districts to educate in innovative ways that will prepare students for 21st century success. Her first book “Teaching Generation Text” is set for a fall 2011 release. You can follow her on Twitter @InnovativeEdu.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.